Richey says goodbye
Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 13, 2003
Nancy Richey has been coaching basketball for 27 years. But her time on the basketball court began long before that.
&uot;I played at Huguenot High School in Richmond, Ferrum Junior College, and Longwood College,&uot; recalls the Nansemond River girls basketball coach. After her playing days ended, Richey helped as a graduate assistance coach at Longwood, then was hired at Suffolk High School in 1975.
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For the next 15 years, Richey taught young Lady Red Raiders the basics of basketball, tennis, volleyball and softball. Her lady cagers brought home two peanut district championships, one regional championship, and played third in the state tournament. In 15 years of coaching, her basketball teams compiled a record of 138-108.
When Suffolk High closed after the 1989-90 season, Richey’s skills and experience were in demand. Nansemond River hired her to help lead their girls on the basketball and volleyball courts.
Over the next six years, Richey worked as a junior varsity and assistant coach for the Lady Warriors. Her teams won the Bay Rivers district in 1994, and the district tournament in 1994 and 1995.
From 1997 to 2003, the coach was back on top, leading the varsity squad. Her best year came in 1998-99, when her team finished with a 13-9 record. But her proudest moment came after the next season, when the Nansemond River girls were awarded the Southeastern District Sportsmanship award.
&uot;That showed me that I’d helped mold my girls’ lives,&uot; she says. &uot;They weren’t just a good basketball team, but they knew how to be good sports as well.&uot;
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. For Richey’s time of leading the Lady Warriors, that time is now.
&uot;Eventually, time taps you on the shoulder and lets you know that it’s time to quit,&uot; she says wistfully. &uot;It’s been 27 years, and I’m looking for a new challenge. There’s been a lot of ups and a few downs, but it’s time to go in a different direction.&uot; She’ll continue to lead the volleyball squad.
&uot;I’ve been thinking, ‘Am I ready to retire?’&uot; she says. &uot;I talked to my family, and they said that they’d support me if I thought it was the right decision.
&uot;Am I going to miss it?&uot; she asks. &uot;Of course, because it was a part of my life for so long. But overall, I had a really great time.&uot;