BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Jim Richardson has spent more than a decade coaching basketball and will be recognized particularly for his time as a junior varsity coach at Maumee High School and his dedication to Maumee students when he receives a Bridge Award at the Hometown Hero Awards on Thursday, March 2.
The Bridge Award is presented to an individual who has dedicated their time to fostering relationships with young people in the community while cultivating compassion and outstanding citizenry among Maumee youths.
According to Jackson Kain, who has played for Richardson, his coach is a prime example of a quality mentor.
“He truly cares about each of us. He’s very passionate about what he does and he’s always checking in on us and he wants the best for us, but in addition to that, he’s always pushing us to be the best that we can possibly be,” Jackson said.
Pushing his players to be the best that they can be is Richardson’s whole goal – not just on the court, but off it, too.
He knows that sometimes his players underestimate their abilities, and it’s his job as a coach to push them just a little bit more in order to show them what they’re capable of accomplishing.
“I’m going to push them past their level of normal comfort because I know they have more in them,” Richardson said. “I’m firm, but fair. I want them to know when they’re on a roster, they’re part of a family.”
By showing each player what they’re capable of and helping them become the best they can be, Richardson knows that will make them a better athlete in any sport.
“Most importantly, though, I want them to become a better person, to be people that are going to contribute to their community in the future, and I want to be a role model for that, too,” Richardson said.
His coaching method, which involves showcasing passion for the sport as well as respect for everyone in the game, has allowed Jackson to become better, too, he said.
“He’s not only making me a better person on the court, but in my community as well,” Jackson said.
Jackson’s mom, Jenna, has witnessed this firsthand, she added.
“Jackson has just learned the lessons of respect and confidence from (Coach Richardson),” Jenna said. “He has really taught Jackson that the most important thing you can be is a good teammate.”
When Richardson heard he had been nominated by the two, he was surprised and humbled that they took the time to even think about him for the nominations and said that he was appreciative of the kind words they had to say.
“I’m not in this for any accolades or recognition. It’s just one of those things that I do because it’s a part of me,” Richardson said. “I was born and raised here in Maumee, so it’s just about giving back for me.”
A longtime Maumee resident, Richardson has spent much of his time coaching and volunteering for every sport and event he has the time for and developing confidence, skills and responsibility in Maumee students.
“He is the epitome of a Maumee community-centered person. He is definitely bleeding the purple and gold,” Jenna said.
What also makes him a valuable member of the Maumee community is his insistence on emphasizing the team as a whole, Jenna remarked. She said he embodies a quote by Phil Jackson: “The strength of a team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”
“He is very team-oriented. You need everybody to get the job done. No one member is more important than another. They all have something to contribute,” Jenna said.
Richardson agreed with the sentiment. To him, it’s important his players learn to work as a whole and understand that a team is a group of people you can rely on and work alongside.
“One of the ways we end our huddles is we say, ‘One, two, three!’ and then we say, ‘We!’” Richardson said. “It’s never about the I. If you put the I before the we, then things break down. If the I can help out the we, then good things can happen.”