By David Parker
ONU softball coach Ritchie Richardson cemented another career milestone when he won his 700th career game on March 10 after defeating Jamestown University (N.D.) 10-1.
“I’m just happy to have had so many great players and assistant coaches over the years,” Richardson said. “It just seems strange that it’s credited to one person.”
Richardson’s all-time record now stands at 710-264, with an outstanding .729 winning percentage.
He first became Olivet’s head coach in 1995. Since then, he has been very successful, winning eight Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) regular-season championships, nine CCAC Tournament championships, and five National Athletic Intercollegiate Association Regional titles.
He was rewarded for these achievements in 2005, when he was inducted into the CCAC Hall of Fame.
But in his mind, any of his individual awards are nothing compared to his teams’ accomplishments. When asked about his favorite memories from his fifteen years at Olivet, he spoke about his teams’ success.
“Anytime you’re able to compete in a national tournament [is a big accomplishment],” he said. “We’ve been able to go to the NAIA World Series six times, and we’ve won the NCCAA national championship five times, so those have been great moments for our team.”
The Lady Tigers are working to have some of those great moments this season. In the first regular NAIA season poll that came out March 22, the team was ranked 20. As of March 26, the team was 27-7 with less than half of the regular season left.
This weekend they will host their second tournament of the season. On both Friday and Saturday, the Lady Tigers will play at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. against St. Xavier University (Ill.), McKendree University (Ill.), Robert Morris University (Ill.), and Bethel University (Ind.).