- John Richardson has a strong connection to the 757 area
- He'll be one of two first-year assistant basketball coaches at Virginia Tech
- He won two state championships as Woodside's coach
But soon enough, Richardson revealed the favorite basketball team of his youth.
Not that his confession surprises. When a hoops junkie grows up in North Carolina, the eastern portion in Richardson's case, chances are he cheers for the state's most popular team: the Tar Heels.
Sheepish as Richardson is about the admission, he needn't worry. No one at his new place of employment, Virginia Tech, minds.
Not with the Hampton Roads connections he brings as an assistant coach to Hokies big whistle Seth Greenberg. Not with the two state championships his teams won at Woodside High, the first by a Newport News school in 40 years. And not with the college experience he gained in five seasons on Blaine Taylor's staff at Old Dominion.
"Virginia Tech fits my makeup," Richardson said Wednesday, his first day on the job. "It's a grind-it-out, put-your-hard-hat-on-every-day, get-it-done place. That's why this is a match made in heaven for me."
Indeed, like ODU's Taylor, Greenberg delights in portraying his program as a David fighting Goliaths. And there's a degree of truth to it as Virginia Tech annually confronts ACC rivals and recent national champions Duke, North Carolina and Maryland.
But while Greenberg and his staff have thrived on developing comparatively unheralded recruits such as Malcolm Delaney and Dorenzo Hudson, he would like nothing better than to sign the Parade All-Americans who traditionally flock to more established programs.
That's where Richardson, a 1995 Elizabeth City State graduate, comes in. Like fellow assistants James Johnson and Adrian Autry, he'll scout opponents and teach in practice, but his chief responsibility will be recruiting, particularly in the region he's called home for more than a decade.
"The 757," as the kids call us, is usually replete with ACC-caliber prospects, most of whom spend the offseason in Boo Williams' summer program, in which Richardson coached. The most recent litany includes Duke's Andre Dawkins, North Carolina commit James McAdoo and Norcom High senior-to-be Dorian Finney-Smith.
Greenberg will expect Richardson to corral Tech's fair share of such prospects, a demand not lost on Richardson. He first met the hyper-competitive, sleep-can-wait Greenberg when the Hokies recruited Stefan Welsh, a linchpin of Richardson's 2004 and '05 Woodside state champs who signed with Arkansas.
But Taylor is similarly wired, leading Richardson to assure "the transition will be smooth."
Richardson and Autry will be first-year assistants next season, replacing Ryan Odom and Bill Courtney. Odom left for an assistant's position at Charlotte, Courtney for the head-coaching job at Cornell, and given his ACC roots, Richardson hoped to get a look from Greenberg.
"With the grace of God," Richardson said, "the stars aligned."
David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime
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