High School Football

Former Sumter quarterback named new football coach at Richland Northeast

Watch: Richland Northeast football players reflect on 1993 title

Former Richland Northeast football players Ryan Kendall and Tri Heard share stories of team's 1993 state championship season.
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Former Richland Northeast football players Ryan Kendall and Tri Heard share stories of team's 1993 state championship season.

William Richardson gets to come back to the Palmetto State for his first head coaching job.

Richland Northeast hired Richardson, a Sumter native who has been the offensive coordinator at Westlake High School in Georgia, as the school’s new football coach. His hire was approved Tuesday at a Richland Two School Board meeting.

Richardson’s hire ends the long search for its next football coach. He replaces Bennett Weigle, who stepped down after two seasons back in November. Justin Crocker was hired as RNE’s coach in February but resigned the position in March less than a month after taking the job.

“I have been in running for head coaching jobs before so I thought I would try my luck back home,” Richardson said. “Initially when it came open I applied but I wasn’t able to get down for the interview. When it reopened, I reapplied. Something like that doesn’t come back around a lot of times. Opportunity to come back home and have friends in the community. It will be a challenge but I’m looking forward to it.”

Richardson will meet with RNE players and parents on Wednesday. He will finish his teaching contract at Westlake but will be back up at RNE for spring practice. He is in the process of completing his staff but said former South Carolina offensive lineman James Thompson, a teammate of Richardson at Sumter, as his offensive line coach.

The Cavaliers haven’t made the postseason since 2015, the year they moved into Region 3-4A with the likes of South Pointe, Ridge View, Westwood and York.

RNE’s last winning season came in 2011 when it went 9-3. It’s best season since then was 6-6 in 2015.

“I have been watching film on these guys and I know when we played RNE in high school they always had athletes,” Richardson said. “We are going to instill hard work and let them know it is going to be a process. They are very young and got a lot guys coming back. I think the future is bright at RNE.”

Richardson has been associate head coach at Westlake since 2016. Before that, he was an assistant in Georgia at Pebblebrook High School and two stints at Druid Hills High School. Westalake won three consecutive Region 2-7A titles and made it to the fourth round of the 2016 playoffs, its deepest run in school history.

In high school at Sumter, Richardson was a Shrine Bowl quarterback his senior season and led the Gamecocks to the state championship game. He went on to play at Coastal Carolina and started 13 games over his final two seasons for the Chanticleers.

Richardson was high school and college teammates with Ridge View coach Perry Parks and now the two are both in the same Region 3-4A.

Richardson comes from a football family. His dad, Wallace Richardson, played at S.C. State and then in the NFL with Denver Broncos and Baltimore Colts. Wally Richardson, his older brother, was a starting quarterback at Penn State and played in the NFL for Atlanta and Baltimore. His other brother Bryan Richardson also played at Grambling State.