By Dan Guttenplan
Many coaches look to go back to school after starting their professional careers to give themselves options beyond football, such as athletic director or administrative roles. Advanced degrees can also prove useful if coaching runs its course.
Norcross (Ga.) defensive tackles coach Corey Richardson wanted to keep his options open early in his coaching career just in case his dream job didn’t work out.
He pursued a Master’s degree in administration and leadership from Jones International University so that he would have options beyond football.
“I did it in case I got out of coaching,” Richardson said. “I wanted to have another option.”
Richardson hasn’t exercised that option yet, and he has no plans to do so after 16 years of coaching. He’s found the right school in Norcross, and his wife, Kimberly, and two children, Kaitlyn and Conner, are happy with the lifestyle.
“I’ve found that my education helps in this role too,” Richardson said. “I can help (Norcross head coach Keith) Maloof out by taking on some of the head coaching duties. I help as much as I can.”
Richardson originally received an Associate’s degree in General Education from Emmanuel College before earning a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education from the University of Georgia. He went back for a Master’s as well as a Specialist degree in Educational Leadership.
“It demanded a lot of time, and it helped me in a lot of ways,” Richardson said. “I’m not the best writer in the world, so it challenged me and made me a better writer. From a leadership standpoint, it helped me understand the entire organization of a school system.”
Richardson said his biggest takeaway was the necessity for teamwork in establishing a strong high school community.
“It’s important to understand taxes and how they benefit education,” Richardson said. “It’s important to develop leaders around you. It takes a community to make a school run, and this put that in perspective. It takes teachers, coaches, administrators, parents and students working together.”
Richardson said Norcross has a particularly strong high school community, with many parents who don’t even have children at the school serving in volunteer roles for the football program.
“People see the benefits of what football does, and they come back even if they don’t have kids in the program,” Richardson said. “We have a lot of people volunteer with the program, and that makes it that much stronger.”
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