Following a four-year run as a baseball assistant at Parklane, Sam Richard is moving up, claiming the head coaching role for the Pioneers.
The school made the announcement Friday. Richard replaces Robert Young, who will slide into his new role as defensive coordinator with Parklane football.
“I was stoked. It was kind of in the works for a little bit but I couldn’t have been more happy, more proud and honored to get the opportunity,” Richard said. “My goal was to be a head coach and I didn’t know how long it would take or how fast it would happen. I didn’t want to force myself into it. I was hoping that the right one would come and after a year or two at Parklane, I wanted to be the head coach at Parklane but I didn’t know how long that would take. It threw itself in my lap and I couldn’t be more happy about it.”
The former Ridgeland baseball star played two years at Southwest Mississippi Community College before moving on to finish college at William Carey, made a trip to the World Series during his senoir season.
“Parklane took a shot on a kid straight out of college baseball and, man, I was excited about it,” he said. “I didn’t know much about them, but I instantly fell in love. It is not just the school and the kids, it is family. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I couldn’t imagine getting my dream job four years into the business.”
Richard looks at his particular situation as a smooth transition because of familiarity.
“I think that it is a good thing because it is not a new face,” he said. “I think that when you bring a new face in, especially in a small town where everybody knows everybody, and you bring an outsider in, they kind of have to get to know them. With my big mouth and my personality, I kind of got to know everybody here. I’m excited to get to grow closer and continue my relationship.”
During his time as an assistant, Richard has specialized in coaching the offense while Young worked with the pitchers. However, with his move to head coach, Richard will work with the pitchers while his new assistant in former Copiah Academy coach Tyler Cunningham, a Parklane graduate, will coach the offense.
“After watching Copiah’s offense swing last year, it wasn’t hard to give it to him,” Richard said. “I know that he is good at what he does and I am excited to have him.”
As far as philosophy, Richard said that fans can expect a hard working team next spring.
“It is going to be loose, it is going to be high-energy,” he said. “They are going to be extremely disciplined and they will play hard. That is one thing that we is going to do, we are going to play hard and try to do all of the little things right.”