Aaron Swaney Herald writer
When John Richer walks onto the court for the first time as Everett’s newest boys basketball head coach he’ll be stepping back into history.
Not only is Richer a former Seagull player himself, but he’s the son of legendary Everett head coach Joe Richer.
In fact, that court he’ll be stepping onto, it’s called Richer Court, named after his father.
“It’s something I take a lot of pride in,” Richer said of the history of his family at Everett High School. “I see it as a reason to work that much harder and dedicate myself that much more.
“I’m excited to be a part of it again.”
Everett hired Richer as its next boys basketball coach on Tuesday. He beat out 17 other applicants to replace Aaron Nations, who had been the Seagulls head coach since 2005.
“We really liked his big picture view of the student athlete,” said Everett athletic director Robert Polk. “He recognizes and understands kids have school, sports and other interests.”
It will be up to Richer to return the Seagulls to the glory they once had under his father, who died at the age of 55 in 1998. Joe Richer, who coached at Everett from 1973-84, guided Everett to four state tournament appearances and a second-place finish in 1975. That team was ranked No. 1 for much of the season and is regarded by many as the best team in the program’s history.
The Seagulls, however, have fallen on hard times and are 20-68 over the past four seasons.
“I don’t see it as turning around a program,” Richer said. “All programs go through ups and downs, and there are a lot of variables that cause that. I just want to bring fresh ideas and provide players with a positive experience.”
Richer, who is currently a math teacher at Edmonds-Woodway High School, has been an assistant coach and junior varsity coach at E-W the past five years. He credited former Warriors head coach Todd Rubin with teaching him a lot about what it takes to be a head coach.
Polk said there were a number of applicants that had head coaching experience, but that he trusts that Richer is a good fit.
“One person compared him to Ken Bone; that he’s ready to make the leap,” Polk said of the reference to the former UW assistant who took the head coaching job at Washington State. “There’s no magic answer to when someone is ready to be a head coach. If anyone’s ready, he’s ready.”
Because of his history, the Seagulls’ head coaching job was one Richer, who as a senior led Everett to a seventh-place finish at the 2000 state tournament, always had his eye on.
“I had so much pride in that school (while I was playing),” Richer said. “My dream was always to go back, but life changes and the job, in my mind, it didn’t consume me. But that said, I remained strongly tied to the school.”
For coaches who return to their alma mater to coach, though, the negatives and pressure can quickly surpass all of the good feelings once the fanfare has died down. But Richer said he doesn’t see it affecting him.
“It isn’t something that is going to make me more critical of myself or put more pressure on me because of it,” Richer said of his family’s history with the school.
Richer’s connection to Everett’s history goes beyond bloodlines. He has longtime friendships with former Everett head coaches Darrell Olson and Roger Haug and feels those relationships will only help him as the next Seagulls coach.
“Having a support system in the community will definitely help,” Richer said.
Polk said it was more than just Richer’s history with the school that made him attractive as Everett’s next coach.
“He is a very important to the Everett community so that was a factor, but we weren’t going to hire somebody just because he graduated from Everett High,” Polk said. “He stood out for a number of reasons beyond that.”