When nearly 100 friends, family and co-workers all shout âsurpriseâ in unison it tends to rattle the emotions and create a smile.
This week Kid Central and Human Services honored David âCoachâ Richardson for more than two decades of service to the before and after-school program with love, a dinner, plaque, cards, cake and fond recollections.
The cafeteria of the Galbreath/Marshall building was adorned in University of Virginia colors in honor of one of the universityâs most loyal fans.
A short slide show highlighted Richardsonâs long career in teaching, coaching and heading up the sports program for Kid Central. Other slides included family scenes with his two children, wife and brother.
âI started teaching school as a physical education teacher in 1983,â said Richardson. âIâve enjoyed working with such great people in the school system and for childcare. It has been great to see them excel within their lives and careers over the years.â
Co-workers and former students all shared their favorite Richardson stories.
The liveliest stories came from coaching and refereeing within the Kid Central sports leagues.
There were many stories involving flying shoes in kickball games, thousands of dodge ball contests, creative scheduling and his incredible adaptability in programming for children.
âWe will certainly miss all the great things that coach brought to our program over the years,â said Katreice Williams, director of Kid Central. âI still have his number and he lives close byâso maybe heâll stop by to help out occasionally. We all enjoyed working with him.â
In recent years, Richardson has served as âthe voice of the Cyclonesâ at a wide variety of sporting events.
Richardson was a highly successful coach at the middle school and high school level.
He notably served as an offensive and defensive line coach for the Culpeper Blue Devils varsity football team when they had a 14-0 season in 1999 and earned a state championship.
âCoach Richardson became a friend during the late 1990s when I was covering high school sports. He was always teaching and explaining the nuances of the sports he was involved with,â said Marshall Conner, a longtime sportswriter and Kid Central marketing and sports coordinator. âDave was always a pleasure to work with and I always enjoy talking sports with him. His friendship and advice over the years have really meant the world to me.â
According to Richardson and his wife Lynn, retirement will hopefully include frequent trips to the beach and more quality time with family and friends.
âDave has been an essential team member, friend and mentor,â said Dorenda Pullen, director of Head Start. âWe appreciate all that he has done for the children and staff of our programs over the years.â