WHEELING — University of Central Missouri Assistant Coach Chris Richardson was named the 11th Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Wheeling University in a press conference Monday morning, July 20.
Richardson spent the past six seasons as an assistant coach with the Mules.
During his tenure in Warrensburg, Central Missouri went 104-73 and made an appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament.
This past season, UCM snapped defending-National Champion Northwest Missouri State’s 46-game winning-streak and were the only team to defeat the Bearcats during the 2019-20 season.
“Chris’ experience at a strong program like Central Missouri and the direction he wants to take our program is what made him stand out from the near 200 applications we received,” Wheeling University President Ginny R. Favede said. “We believe Chris will not only ensure our continued success on the court, but will also help develop our players into strong students in the classroom and leaders in the Wheeling and surrounding communities.”
“It is an honor to be named the 11th head coach in the storied history of Wheeling men’s basketball,” Richardson said at his introductory press conference. “What an awesome responsibility to be entrusted with leading this program on and off the floor, and I am grateful to President Favede for her confidence in me. I’d like to thank Carrie Hanna for her leadership and transparency during the search process, and for a first-class welcome to Wheeling over the last several days as I’ve been catching up to speed on our new surroundings.”
Richardson helped guide the Mules to a 21-9 record and a 13-6 mark in the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletes Association (MIAA) in his first season as a full-time assistant in 2015-16.
The Mules finished second in the regular season conference standings and had a runner-up finish in the MIAA Tournament.
In six seasons at Central Missouri, the Mules had three seasons with 20 wins or more, made the NCAA postseason once, played in the MIAA Championship game and made the MIAA Tournament four times.
He arrived at Central Missouri at the start of the 2014-15 season after spending two seasons as the head assistant at Division II Delta State in Cleveland, Mississippi.
Richardson helped engineer one of the nation’s most impressive two-year turnarounds, taking a program that won just six games during the 2011-12 season to winning 38 games over the next two seasons, culminating with a berth in the NCAA Division II Tournament South Region Finals in 2014.
As recruiting coordinator, he signed 2014 and 2015 Gulf South Conference (GSC) Freshmen of the Year, 2014 GSC Player of the Year Willie Readus and the 2015 State Farm College Slam Dunk Champion Laquavious Cotton.
Richardson is familiar with the landscape of the Mountain East Conference (MEC). He served as an assistant coach for one season at both Fairmont State in 2011-12 and the University of Charleston in 2010-11.
“Wheeling men’s basketball has been built on a foundation of hard work, toughness, player development and team play since 1957,” Richardson said. “We will be a hard working basketball program. We will be a team that plays with relentless effort and togetherness. And we will be a team that embodies the values of this community and region.”
Richardson got his first coaching job at Arkansas Tech University in 2009, where he worked alongside current Central Missouri Head Coach Doug Karleskint.
He helped the Wonder Boys to a 30-2 record and number one national ranking during the 2009-10 season.
In 13 seasons of college coaching, Richardson has been a part of teams that have an overall record of 181-114, which includes five 20-win seasons, two conference championships, three NCAA tournament appearances and one conference tournament championship.
During that span he has coached 22 all-conference players and three All-Americans.
Richardson began his career as an intern with the Memphis Grizzlies, where he worked for General Manager Chris Wallace.
With the Grizzlies, Richardson was responsible for assisting Wallace and the basketball operations staff in preparations for the NBA Draft and summer free agency period.
He also assisted the Grizzlies media relations staff with production of the team’s media guide and content for Grizzlies.com.
“I’m excited to be home,” Richardson said. “It’s an absolute honor to be the coach of this proud program and I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead.”
Richardson is a 2008 graduate of West Virginia University.
He earned his master’s degree in Kinesiology from Central Missouri with a concentration in Sport Management.
Richardson and his wife, Katie, are parents to a son, Cory.