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Richardson to lead Lady Warriors

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Veteran coach hired for girls hoops team

By Robert Howey

Paul Richardson is a coach who has been around the block, and is looking to put the Indian Land Lady Warriors back on main street.
Richardson, who came to ILHS as the new girls basketball coach, has extensive coaching experience in high school sports.
Prior to his selection as the Lady Warriors hoops coach, Richardson coached at Nation Ford High School in Fort Mill, where he was the Falcons’ offensive coordinator in football and a wrestling coach.
A 35-year teaching and coaching veteran, Richardson, 59, taught marine and environmental science at NFHS, where he worked 2007-17.
Richardson will also teach drivers education at ILHS, replacing longtime teacher and coach Rick Furr, who retired at the end of the 2017-18 school term.
“Rick has helped me a lot and been a true mentor,” Richardson said. “I really appreciate what he’s done to help me in the transition.”
During his ILHS career, Furr also served as the Warriors boys basketball and baseball coach, as well as a football assistant.
Richardson, who has taught and coached in Tennessee, Virginia and South Carolina, also worked at Central of Pageland, Rock Hill and North Myrtle Beach high schools.
“I’m a dinosaur coming back,” he said. “I’m a fossil, but over the years I feel I’ve been around some good programs and good coaches and that has rubbed off on me and help me develop my style.”
The ILHS girls basketball program was winless – 0-21 – last season.
Richardson is confident he can get the Lady Warriors back on track.
“All the places where I’ve been were struggling when I went there and I was able to get them back on track,” Richardson said. “The key in high school is to keep the team together and build chemistry.
“Indian Land has a rich history in girls sports, volleyball, basketball, softball and now soccer,” he said. “Last season for the girls basketball team was a down year, but prior to that they’ve been competitive, been in the region title race and made the playoffs.
“We’ve got to get the girls back out,” he said. “We need to develop fundamental skills and get them to believe in themselves.”
Richardson has been working with his new team twice a week during the open practice period.
“We are working to get to know the girls and working with them,” he said. “We have to keep encouraging them.”
Richardson said Lacey Clinton, the ILHS girls interim coach last season following coach Natasha Roger’s mid-season resignation related to family issues with the health of her father, will return to work with the team as an assistant.
“Lacey has been very helpful,” Richardson said. “She knows the girls and the community and that familiarity is a big key. She’s dedicated to our program.”
Richardson said assistant coach Gary Belcher, who also worked with the ILHS girls team last season, will also return.
Rob Wilson, who guided the IL Middle School girls basketball to a regular-season conference title, will work with Belcher and guide the Junior Lady Warriors basketball team.
The ILMS girls, 11-1 on the 2017-18 season, were 10-0 for the regular season and won the Fort Mill Athletic Conference regular-season championship.
“Last season, we didn’t have a girls junior varsity basketball team,” Richardson said. “This season, those girls are going to step up as the junior varsity team as we keep them together and build chemistry for that team and our program.
“We know we have work ahead, but I feel these girls are willing to work and put forth the effort to get our program back to where it belongs.”