In its 33 years of existence, the Blue & Gold News has had many outstanding employees, almost all who went on to do bigger and better things after moving on from our publication.
Our former staff members have gone on to become teachers, lawyers, bankers, medical professionals, athletic department administrators, Emmy-award winning producers, businessmen, full-time journalists and successes in many other fields.
Now we’ve got a Blue & Gold alum who is moving into a profession that we’ve not previously featured – head college basketball coach.
Chris Richardson recently was hired as the men’s basketball coach at Wheeling (W.Va.) University.
A native of Charleston, West Virginia, and a graduate of WVU, Richardson worked for the Blue & Gold News during his days as a college student (2003-09), covering Mountaineer basketball during the John Beilein and early Bob Huggins years and also West Virginia football while Rich Rodriguez and Bill Stewart were the head coaches.
Richardson eventually decided that instead of writing about sports, he wanted to coach it.
An interview for a B&GN story with then Memphis Grizzlies’ general manager Chris Wallace, who is a native of Buckhannon, West Virginia, led to a summer internship for Richardson with the NBA club.
From there Richardson knew his path, becoming an assistant coach on the men’s basketball staffs at Fairmont State (W.Va.) University, the University of Charleston (W.Va.), Arkansas Tech and Delta State (Miss.). The past five years he’s served as a full-time assistant coach at Central Missouri, helping the Mules to a 79-67 record during that stretch.
Richardson takes over a Wheeling program that was 14-13 last season under first-year head coach Will Ryan. The son of former University of Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan, Will left the Cardinals last month to become the head coach at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, a Division I program that is a member of the Horizon League.
Wheeling’s men’s basketball squad has had great success in the not-too-distant past, posting a 216-115 record in its 12 years under head coach Danny Sancomb, who put together four straight 20-win seasons to complete his tenure with the Cardinals. Sancomb left Wheeling in 2018 to become the head coach at the University of California (Pa.).
Now it’s Richardson’s turn to steer the Mountain East program in a league that also features other traditional powers like West Liberty, Fairmont State and Charleston.
Chris and his wife Katie, who is a native of Elkins, West Virginia, have a young son, Cory.
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Richardson isn’t the only one with West Virginia ties who recently earned a job promotion.
Last week Blaine Stewart received a new job title as he prepares for his third season on the staff with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is now the club’s assistant wide receiver coach. Stewart had spent the previous two years with the Steelers as a coaching assistant. Now he’ll work with a specific position group.
The son of late WVU head football coach Bill Stewart, as well as Karen Stewart, Blaine played football for James Madison University from 2013-15. After graduating from JMU in 2016, the Morgantown native transferred to the University of Charleston (W.Va.), playing wide receiver for the Golden Eagles in 2016 and ’17.
After earning his master’s degree from UC in the spring of 2018, Stewart took an entry-level position with the Steelers, and has now moved up the coaching ladder on Mike Tomblin’s staff.
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One more individual with West Virginia connections who is climbing the coaching ladder is former Mountaineer women’s basketball player Sarah Miles, who recently was hired as an assistant coach at Central Michigan.
Any excellent point guard for WVU from 2008-11, Miles scored 992 points and handed out 422 assists in her West Virginia career. After college, the San Antonio, Texas, native played professionally in Finland. She returned to WVU to serve as a graduate assistant coach for Mike Carey’s program in 2016-17 and then garnered full-time assistant jobs at Colorado State Pueblo (2017-19) and Northwestern State (La.) (2019-20) before being hired last week by Central Michigan.