The University of North Carolina Pembroke announced on Friday, February 21, that Shane Richardson, who has spent the last seven seasons as the Brave’s defensive coordinator, will be its next head coach.
The university conducted a national search to replace head coach Pete Shinnick, who started UNCP’s highly successful football program in 2007 with Richardson at his side. As defensive coordinator, he consistently coached outstanding defensive sides and was a top recruiter.
Richardson, who served as interim head coach for a month, was introduced at a press conference inside the Caton Fieldhouse. It is Richardson's first collegiate head coaching job.
"Shane is the total package and we are so excited to keep him and Jenna in the UNC Pembroke family," said director of athletics Dick Christy. "His dedication to developing our students on and off the field is unwavering, and he has the organizational skills and tenacity to be a tremendous leader of men. His desire to win and build a program grounded in integrity is evident with the way he prepares and carries himself on a daily basis.
"Over the past two weeks, Shane has exceeded all expectations in his interim capacity and, via a national search, clearly separated himself as the right person for the job," Christy said.
Under Richardson, the Black and Gold ranked among the nation's top 30 teams in total defense four times and once among the nation's top 10. In addition to the nation's top scoring defense (11.2 points/game), the Braves also ranked second in total defense (226.6 yards/game), fourth in rushing defense (71.6 yards/game) and fourth in sacks per game (4.0). Richardson coached three all-Americans in seven seasons.
"I am humbled and honored to be standing here today as the next head football coach at UNC Pembroke," Richardson said. "I believe in this University, football program and all of the people involved with both of those things and I'm thrilled to be a part of this.
"Two groups that deserve extra special recognition throughout this process are our players and our assistant coaches. They have not waivered through these last three weeks, and their commitment, focus and patience has allowed us to not miss a beat,” he continued. “It speaks to the level of character and buy-in that they represent. I have spoken to our staff this morning and we are on the same page. They certainly have a home at UNCP."
Richardson's coaching career began in 2001 at Northern Michigan, his alma mater, as a graduate assistant charged with coaching the linebackers and assisting with special teams, strength and conditioning and recruiting. He next stop was as linebackers coach and strength and conditioning coordinator at Jamestown College in 2002. Then, he spent a year at North Dakota State, where he coached one of the nation's best defenses.
As a player, Richardson was a three-year starter at linebacker at Northern Michigan (1997-00), where he earned all-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference He was also an academic all-conference performer.
Richardson earned his bachelor's degree in secondary education in social studies from Northern Michigan in 2001 and his master's degree in physical education and athletic administration from North Dakota State in 2005.
Richardson and his wife, Jenna, reside in Lumberton. The couple is the parents of two sons, Ford and Jude, and a daughter, Bo. They are expecting their fourth child.