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JIm Richards inducted into WKU Athletic Hall of Fame

The Good Lord simply looks after some of us in life. - JIM RICHARDS
Several photos follow this article. Also, More photos at Jim & Annette's site

By Ed Waggener
Garlin, Adair County, KY's Jim Richards was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in the Hall of Champions at Western Kentucky University at a brunch on Saturday morning, October 15, 2005.

When he received the honor as a coach, he was the second Western Kentucky University Head Coach from Adair County to join the elite circle. Gradyville, Adair County, Kentucky's E.A. Diddle was the first member of the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame.

Mr. Richards became one of 100 WKU players and coaches ever to be so honored. As a member of the 2005 inductees, he joins only 9 others honored as coaches. An eleventh coach with Adair County relatives, Campbellsville's Clem Haskins, is also a WKU Athletic Hall of Famer, who was honored as a player, before becoming WKU head basketball coach.

In receiving the honor, he was recognized as a coach in both basketball and golf.

In accepting the honor, Mr. Richards used as a theme, "The Good Lord simply looks after some of us in life."

Coach John Burr expanded the team roster

He told about growing up in Adair County, at Garlin, on Burton Ridge, "between Russell Creek and Green River," and about getting cut from the basketball squad in his junior year at Adair County High School because the squad only had 10 uniforms."But I got to go to all the games as scorekeeper for Coach John Burr," he said. "I didn't give up," he said, and tried out again the next year. "Coach gave out 12 uniforms for the first time ever, so I got one."

"The Good Lord simply looks after some of us in life," he said.Not giving up and adhering to a work ethic came as principles instilled by his mother and father, the late Mary and Demaree Richards, he said. "Mom and Dad taught us the importance of daily work ethic and Dad was particularly influential in teaching Brother Jody and myself the value of being competitive in anything you do in life."

He had not particularly planned a career in athletics when he came to Western, he said. At first he planned to become a dentist. "Western had the best pre-dental curriculum and more people were into dental school from Western than any other college in the state. Mom had researched that, and knew the statistics," he said.

But he and the Smith twins, Cane Valley, Adair County, KY's Willard and Wayne, were recruited by fellow Adair Countian, Coach Ed Diddle, to play baseball, a game Richards dearly loved. But there were no baseball scholarships for baseball in those days, he said.

"You three Smith twins, come over here!"

Richards told about walking with the Smiths up State Street from Normal Drive "Mr. Diddle was sitting on the front porch and spotted us," Mr. Richards said, "He yelled, 'Hey! You three Smith twins! Come over here!" They didn't know what to expect, he said, but Mr. Diddle offered them rooms in the players' dorm.

"By living in the basketball house across the hall from Ronnie Clark, a wonderful friendship was developed. Mr. Diddle helped me get started in officiating high school basketball, which gave me an in-depth understanding of the sport. Ronnie Clark became Principal at Auburn High School and gave me my first coaching job, head coach," he remembers.

He had a winning tenure at Auburn, he said, "But with prodding from President Dero Downing, I went to Glasgow High School where there were more and better athletics, and we won the State Basketball Championship in 1968."

"The Good Lord simply looks after some of us in life," he said again.

Richards told of other big breaks in his career

Richards gave two other WKU coaches thanks for advancing his career. "I shall be eternally grateful that Gene Rhodes left Western as assistant coach to go to Louisville to become head coach of the Colonels in the ABA. Also, I thank WKU Head Coach John Oldham for giving me the opportunity to become his assistant coach. It was the start of a 17 year working relationship without one cross word between us. he gave me an opportunity to recruit and coach on the collegiate level, giving me more freedom than I ever deserved. We had a fabulous team, finishing 3rd in the NCAA Tourney in 1971."

"The Good Lord simply looks after some of us in life," he repeated.

"My last season as head coach we beat Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament to go to the Final 16. The Syracuse Head Coach was Jim Beheim . . . and his first assistant was a fellow named Rick Pitino

. We lost in Round One of the Final 16 to . . . Magic Johnson."

Gave special thanks to others who helped in career

He gave special thanks to many others who helped in his basketball career. "I want to thank President Downing for having faith in me to hire me as the head coach after John Oldham retired. I'd like to thank all those wonderful assistant coaches, Bobby Rasco, Clem Haskins, and Ralph Baker, and Benny Dees, Art Tollis and Lanny van Eman for all the hard work and effort they put into the program and the loyalty they showed. Also, the team doctors, Drs. Jerry Martin and Carroll Brooks, and Head Trainer Russ Miller, the graduate assistants, managers, secretary Ann Handy and all the many players that made basketball such a great part of my life."

Number One recruit was Kenny Perry

After his basketball coaching tenure was over, Richards became Coach of the Men's Gold Team. "My first recruit was Kenny Perry. What a great team we had," he said, "winning 13 of 16 college tourneys when Kenny Perry, Sr, Mike Newton, Scot beard, Phil Hatchett, Rick Huddelson, Scott Ray, and others made for a wonderful eight years with that program."Special recognition for wife, Annette

Richards thanked and recognized his wife, the former Annette Waggener of Columbia. "Thanks to my wife Annette and family for putting up with me during the Good Times and the Not So Good . . . Annette kept shot charts and drove the wheels off that old station wagon getting Mary Frances Davenport, Carol Miler, Yvette Haskins , Janice van Eman, and all the coaches' kids to every game possible.

He recognized other members of his family, which included son Steveand his wife Cindy and their children, Curtis, Casey, and Audrey LeeAnn; his daughter Missy Renfro and her husband Keith and their son Tyler; his brother, Jody Richards and his wife Neva; and members of his Jim Richards' wife's family, Jean Cravens, Fay McKinley, L.G. McKinley, Ed and Linda Waggener, and Ralph and Glinda Waggener. Several tables had been reserved for Richards family and friends.

In addition to Jim Richards, football greats Jeff Cesarone and Porter Williams, and basketball greats Wayne Chapman and Charlie Osborne, were inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame.
Postscript: When Butch Gilbert made an announcement after Jim Richards spoke, he reminded Jim that he forgot to name his assistant coaches in Glasgow - Butch Gilbert and Sam Clark.

Jim coached the grade football for the football staff and the football coaches reciprocated with 7th & 8th basketball. Butch and Sam also sat on the basketball bench at the state tourney -- the best seat in the house!! - Annette Richards

This story was posted on 2005-10-16 17:58:18
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Jim Richards inducted into WKU Hilltopper Hall of Fame, Saturday, October 15, 2005

2005-10-15 - Bowling Green, KY - Photo Richards family album. Adair Countian Jim Richards, shown above with wife Annette Richards, was inducted along with four other Hilltopper athletes as the 15th class into the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame events were held Homecoming Weekend, Saturday, October 15, in W-Club ceremonies in Bowling Green. The new Hall of Fame Members were recognized at the Homecoming football game with Misouri State, which the Toppers won, 37-28. Richards grew up in Garlin, Adair County, attended Adair County Schools, and was a star baseball player. He was a member of Adair County's 1954 State Tournament basketball team. He is the son of the late Demaree and Mary Stevenson Richards of Adair County. Click here for another story on the event and the honors
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Plaques, Markers: Jim Richards plaque on 'Wall of Fame'

2005-10-16 - Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY - Photo Staff. This plaque honoring Adair County native Jim Richards as a member of the Western Kentucky University Athletic Hall of Fame has been placed on the Wall of Fame in Diddle Arena. Mr. Richards was honored in ceremonies at the Bowling Green school on Saturday, October 15, 2005.
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Jim Richards acceptance speech, WKU Athletic Hall of Fame Induction

2005-10-17 - Bowling Green, KY - Photo Linda Waggener. Jim Richards delivers acceptance remarks at his induction into the Western Kentucky University Athletic Hall of Fame, October 15, 2005. Dr. Jerry Wilder, emcee, looks on from left.
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Jim Richards on Coaches Corner Mural

2005-10-17 - Bowling Green, KY - Photo Staff. Adair County's Jim Richards is depicted in the Coaches Corner mural in the Hall of Champions in E.A. Diddle Arena, Western Kentucky University in a characteristic coaching stance. Richards was inducted into the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame Saturday, October 15, 2005.
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Big Mac and Jim Richards

2005-10-18 - Bowling Green, KY - Photo Staff. Three-time All-American Jim "Big Mac" McDaniels and Jim Richards share memories. Jim McDaniels was in the first class of 10 inductees into WKU's Athletic Hall of Fame. Jim Richards coached at Glasgow against Jim McDaniels when the latter played for Allen County In Scottsville; Jim Richards was an assistant to Coach John Oldham when WKU made the 1971 NCAA final four, and McDaniels was the star of the team. McDaniels still holds the highest Hilltopper scoring average and is the only Hilltopper ever to post scoring averages above 20 per game in three seasons.
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Little Evan, alone

2005-10-19 - Diddle Arena, WKU, Bowling Green, KY - Photo Mema Linda. "Yes"! 2 years-4-months-old Evan Waggener said, as his shot swished the net in Diddle Arena.The launch was a modified Clyde Bryant, two-hander-over-the-head set shot. His First Amendment rights had been violated when he tried to comment on something on the ceiling, competing with a speaker at the mike when Uncle Jimmy Richards was being inducted into the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame. And Eb was banished to the basketball court. Exile turned out to be Evan Nirvana; like throwing Brer Rabbit into the briar patch. So many basketballs to shoot. So much time. Mema Linda said she had never seen Evan so happy. Mema said that either Clarence Glover or a relative of Mr. Glover joined them and gave the boys, Evan and brother Graham, some valuable playing advice. (Cutline by Evan and Graham's paternal grandfather, who is not at all silly about the boys like other five grands: Mema Waggener, Papaw and Nana Smith, or great grandmothers Ganny Conlan and Great Mema Marcum.)
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The Richards & Renfro men

2005-10-19 - Bowling Green, KY - Photo Annette W. Richards. JIM RICHARDS, SPEAKER JODY, and the Richardses and Renfros. A family photo of the Richards side men include, from left, Jim's son-in-law, Keith Renfro, holding Curtis Richards; Jim Richards holding Tyler Renfro; Steve Richards, father of Curtis and Casey; and Uncle Jody Richards, holding Casey.
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