Richardson returns home to lead Wheeling men’s basketball

(Citynet Statewide Sportsline interview with Chris Richardson)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — After a decade in various coaching stops at the Division II level, Charleston native Chris Richardson has returned to West Virginia to lead the Wheeling University men’s basketball program.

“If I were writing fiction, I couldn’t have made anything up better than this,” Richardson said.

“It is crazy where the bouncing ball will take you. It has taken me some great places but most importantly now, it has brought me back home.”

After graduating from WVU in 2008, Richardson served in a variety of roles at Arkansas Tech, Charleston, Fairmont State, Delta State and most recently a six-year stint at Central Missouri. Richardson broke into the administrative side of the game working as an intern for Buckhannon native Chris Wallace, who was the General Manager for the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies.

“I am living in his upstairs and picking up his dry cleaning and he is teaching me a lot of stuff about the game. It has been a crazy ride ever since.”

Richardson replaces Will Ryan, who was recently named head coach at Green Bay. The Cardinals posted a 14-13 record this past winter, and went 11-11 in MEC play.

“I am walking into a really good situation in a number of ways. Will Ryan did a tremendous job with Wheeling men’s basketball last year. He was only there one season but he laid the foundation for a team coming back that has the potential to be very good. Schematically, there will be some similarities, especially on the defensive end.

“The Mountain East is such a lethal league offensively. You have to score to win in the Mountain East. But I think if you can be the team that becomes the toughest one to play against every night from a defensive standpoint, then you are going to have an advantage.”

Richardson inherits a team that loses only two seniors and finished tied for fifth place in the MEC last season.

“What I have told each of our players is that we don’t know when we are going to play and we don’t know what that is going to look like. We can’t control any of that. What we can control is, number one what type of shape you come back in. And number two, more importantly is our communication. We have to connect as a basketball team. We have to be one. That’s not always easy to do when you aren’t around each other.”

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