Head b-ball coach named in wake of resignation

Courtesy of CWU Athletics

Natalie Hyland, Senior Sports Reporter

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Interim head coach Randi Richardson has been officially named head coach of the CWU women’s basketball team. Richardson is now the fifth female head coach in CWU history and the first female head coach since the Wildcats moved to the GNAC in 2001.

“I’m very excited as a woman,” Richardson said. “I like to see women get opportunities in coaching and I’m very happy for the opportunity.”

The announcement of Richardson as head coach came only two weeks after the announcement of former coach Jeff Harada’s resignation. In the wake of Harada’s departure, the team overwhelmingly supported the idea of Richardson as head coach.  

“I’m really excited about [Richardson] being the coach,” said freshman Alexis Pana. “We already know her. We know her mindset, her style of play.”

Richardson received word of her promotion early last week and recalled her initial reaction to the job offer.

I felt “overwhelmed with emotion and just very grateful to the Athletic Department … for having faith in me to be able to do the job,” Richardson said. “It means a lot that they have trust in me and faith in me to lead them into next year.”

When it came time to inform the team of decision, Pana recalled the immediate change it had in her day, although she wasn’t really surprised at the announcement.

“I thought [Richardson] was going to get the job,” Pana said. “Everyone screamed really loud. We were so happy for her, we talked about it all day.”

Junior Beverly Verduin also recalled similar emotions.

“I’m excited—we were all excited,” Verduin said “I love Randi and I think she’s going to be great for our team.”

Of course, when appointment a new coach, changes will happen including the implantation of Richardson’s own three-pillar philosophy.

“They will be expected to compete every day in all that they do. It’s not just about competing with the person standing across from them, it’s about inter-competition,” Richardson said. “The second thing is they will learn … and the third thing is they will love; in order to love something, you have to be fully invested, so they will be fully invested and they will love their teammates and they will love this program.”

Richardson plans to spend the offseason getting the team more acquainted with philosophy and style of play.

“I think we’ll be more of a transition and running team,” Verduin said. “It’s going to be more [about] pushing the ball as much as possible.”

Pana, who was recruited by Richardson last year, explains why she feels strongly about having Richardson named at coach.

“She was a college player, so she understands every perspective that everyone on the team has,” Pana said. “I’m expecting changes, but I feel like it’s not going to be so drastic that… we feel like we’re starting from the bottom.”

Now that the search for a head coach is over, the team can turn their focus to bringing tough competition to the GNAC next season.

“We want to be a GNAC championship contending team,” Verduin said. “I definitely want this year to be my best year yet and to have our team go further than we’ve gone.”

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Head b-ball coach named in wake of resignation