After 12 years at UConn where he coached some of the best running backs in the Big East Conference, Terry Richardson is coming back home to help the Hurricanes and he couldn't be happier about it.
"I'm just as excited as my family is if not more," Richardson said Monday about two hours before boarding a plane bound for South Florida. "I know the Canes have been down a little bit. I'm excited about the opportunity to try and get them back to the top. Coach Golden wants to restore the program to it's winning ways. I'm excited about the opportunity."
In 2010, UConn’s rushing offense was ranked 31st in the nation at 179.92 yards per game. Richardson's star pupil, Jordan Todman, amassed 1,695 yards on the ground and was named the Big East's Offensive Player of the Year. He isn't the only talented back Richardson has coached.
In 2009, Richardson worked with two 1,000-yard rushers in Todman and All-BIG EAST Conference second-team pick Andre Dixon. UConn was just one of three NCAA FBS schools to boast a pair of 1,000-yard rushers. In 2008, running back Donald Brown became the nation’s leading rusher and his school's first, first-round draft pick in 2009 when he was selected by the Indianapolis Colts.
As for the next group of backs he'll coach, Richardson said he has no idea what he'll be getting but he's heard great things. "I just knew of [Graig] Cooper. I saw him run, recruited him some," Richardson said. "But I know they've got some really good young kids. Mike James, Lamar Miller, Storm [Johnson]. The biggest thing I'm going to do is that I'm going to coach them all the same and work them all the same. And I'm going to make sure they protect the football."
A 1994 graduate of Syracuse, Richardson was one of the few players to wear the fabled uniform number 44 for the Orangemet. The coveted jersey is awarded only to exceptional Orange rushers, including Jim Brown and 1961 Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis. Richardson was Syracuse’s leading rusher as a senior in 1993.
Richardson signed a free agent contract with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals in 1994 and also spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles (1995), Kansas City Chiefs (1996) and Pittsburgh Steelers (1996-97). He spent the 1998 season at Northeast High as offensive coordinator and running backs coach, his first stint in coaching.
Richardson, whose mother passed away in 2009 from cancer, said he has two older brothers and his 74-year old father he's looking forward to seeing when he gets home. Then, he'll be off recruiting.
When he was at UConn, Richardson recruited Key West through Daytona as well as the Houston area. Over the last few years, he concentrated solely on Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County.
"I've never been a recruiting coordinator so if coach decides to give me some of that responsibility It would be something new," Richardson said. "But being from down there and recruiting down there, I've never burned any bridges. So, I feel I could be a great asset for the Canes."
A FEW MORE TIDBITS
> According to UM, strength and conditioning coach Andrew Swasey and special assistant Tim "Ice" Harris were told Monday they by Al Golden that they do not have to look for new jobs. Special teams and tight ends coach Joe Pannunzio and running backs coach Mike Cassano will not be back.
UM said it doesn't expect to announce the hiring of two its remaining assistant vacancies until Golden meets with reporters on Friday. The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson reported Sunday that John McNulty was among a trio of candidates for the vacant offensive coordinator spot. We'll see who emerges.