Richardson coached for seven years at Army and for two weeks at Indiana University before answering a call from Auburn head coach Ralph Spry in 2005.
“I thought he was calling to congratulate me, but he told me he had a job for me,” Richardson said.
Richardson initially turned down Spry’s offer, but said it only took one visit to Auburn before he changed his mind.
“Auburn has a great history of success in track and field,” Richardson said, “and I’ve seen that since Coach Spry has been here.
“It’s been one of the dominant four or five teams in the country.”
Since coming to Auburn, Richardson has coached four NCAA All-Americans, four USATF Junior Champions and led four athletes to SEC titles, including high jumper Maya Pressley.
Pressley, sophomore in communication, was Auburn’s first woman to win an SEC championship as a freshman.
She said she attributes part of her success to Richardson’s down-to-earth coaching style.
“He’s very easy to talk to,” Pressley said. “If he sees you’re wanting to be successful, he’s right there by your side.”
Richardson said there is no “typical” day when working with young people, but that is what makes it fun.
“I enjoy working with young people and young kids,” Richardson said. “You try to be there for them when they’re down and for their triumphs when they’re winning.”
Richardson said recruiting is another important part of the job.
“They (recruits) come from all across the globe,” Richardson said. “I think that’s one of the things that makes this program really special: the way our kids can unite from wherever they come from for the good of the team.”
Like many on the track and field team, Richardson is also far from home.
He grew up in Indiana, and Pressley, a Florida native, said there are still some habits of the North that Richardson can’t leave behind.
“If I think it’s a nice day,” Pressley said, “he’ll wear three shirts, two jackets, gloves, a skull cap, and we’ll be like ‘Coach, why you got so many clothes on?’
“Me and my teammates, before he comes down the stairs to practice, we’ll bet on how many clothes he’ll have on.”
Richardson said he credits coaches Spry and Jerry Clayton with allowing him the opportunity to come to Auburn.
These days, Richardson runs more around the house than the track.
He and his wife, Carmen, once a track and field star herself, welcomed their first child, Olivia, in 2008.
Although his work week often begins with 6:30 a.m. training and ends with weekend-long competitions, Richardson said his main focus is still at home.
“It’s a lot of fun; it’s time away from family, but you learn that balance,” Richardson said.