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Chiefland High school principal Bill Tovine ended the search that began in December for a football coach with the official announcement on Feb. 2 that Aaron Richardson is the school’s new varsity football head coach.
“Looking at all the strengths and weaknesses of the program, we found the best person who gives us a chance at winning,” Tovine said.
Tovine said the school sifted through 65 candidates and interviewed nine. The biggest factors involved in the selection were longevity, previous success on the field and in the ability to help players succeed after high school. With those factors considered, Richardson became the obvious choice, Tovine said.
Richardson spent 10 seasons at Dunnellon High School, his alma mater. A former player at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Richardson spent the past four years as Dunnellon’s offensive coordinator and assistant head coach. He served as defensive coordinator in the years before that. During that time, the Tigers posted two undefeated seasons and won three district championships.
“We’re going to do things like I’ve always done — we’re going to get dirty, get into it and get started as soon as we can, start lifting weights and practicing and getting better,” Richardson said. “I’m super excited, super fired up and I can’t wait to get started.”
Richardson replaces Jim O'Neal who resigned in December in his second stint as head coach at the school. O'Neal had previously led Chiefland to the state championship in 1997, the school's most recent title.
A large contingent of football players, fans, parents, supporters and faculty came to the CHS auditorium to hear about the new coach and to welcome him to Chiefland. The long-awaited announcement had players and supporters alike excited to return the program to its previous success.
“I’m ready to get to work and to see what we got to work with,” said CHS junior Austin Williams.
Richardson was joined at the press conference by his wife, Nikki, and their three children, Kayden, 8, Gracie, 6, and Ryland, 5.
“We’re very excited. Chiefland is our kind of town,” Nikki Richardson said.