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While Rik Richards is relatively new to the Region, he is not a novice when it comes to football and his resume is why he was hired as Calumet's new head football coach.

He replaces long-time coach Ivan Zimmer, who retired after last fall's 3-7 campaign.

"I have a little bit of work to do, but I look at it as a big adventure," Richards said.

He was born in Seattle, but when his parents divorced he moved to Montana, where Richards was the quarterback at Missoula Big Sky High School. He attended the University of Mary in North Dakota, where he stayed on as a coach.

He spent over a decade coaching in the Arena Football League and other indoor leagues, but that got old, even though he had stops in St. Louis and Chicago and many other area codes.

"One minute the team's around, one minute it's not," he said.

He also spent some time in a couple of scouting services, grading young athletes and sending information on to the professional leagues and colleges.

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For about seven years he owned restaurants in Maryland and other places. That was challenging, but one thing remained constant.

"I missed the sidelines," Richards said.

He got his resume out and landed a job at Highland as the Trojans' defensive coordinator last year. He was ready to walk away from prep football until he heard about the Calumet opening.

Soon, the grid juices started flowing again.

"I was at the school (Tuesday) and there are some big, athletic kids walking around that school," Richards said. "We've just got to build relationships with these kids and get them excited about playing football. It would be great to get 15 or 20 more kids out than before."

A new $7 million dollar athletic facility will not hurt. Calumet will have an artificial turf football field next year, with a video scoreboard big enough to see from Ridge Road. New locker rooms will also give the Warriors pride in what Richards hopes to bring to the school.

"Our new facility will be as good as Lake Central's," Richards said. "It'll be in for next season. For me that was the kicker. It will help us get kids out to play. My job is to get these kids to believe in big things, all things are possible."

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Sports Reporter

Steve has won awards during two different stints at The Times. In addition to being the Prep Beat columnist, he covers football, boys basketball and boys track. He is a long-suffering Cubs fan.