Greg Richmond walked into his head coach’s office and shut the door.

When Richmond, typically full of energy, was speechless, Jason Woodman knew something was up.

“When you talk about getting a dream job and actually seeing it come true for one of the guys that you’re closest to, just to see him kind of trying to absorb it as best as he can and the emotion that came out,” said Woodman, the head coach at Fairmont State in West Virginia. “For he and I to sit in a room together and realize that all the hard work that he’s done leading up to this with the hopes that this would happen and actually come true, that’s a pretty special moment that I’ll never forget.”

Moments before Richmond, who spent the past three seasons as Fairmont’s defensive line coach, entered his boss’ office, he got the call from Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy. Gundy made Richmond an offer he could not refuse: a chance to return to his home state of Oklahoma and his alma mater to coach the Cowboys’ defensive ends.

Oklahoma State’s 10th assistant coach will bring a familiarity to Stillwater you can’t fake. As an OSU defensive end from 1999-2003, he racked up 21.5 career sacks, a mark that ranks fifth in school history.

After a brief NFL career, Richmond worked for Oklahoma State from 2007-10 as an assistant director of strength and conditioning. He then bounced from Oklahoma City Douglass High School, to Northeastern State in Tahlequah, to Tahlequah High School and back to Northeastern State before landing at Fairmont State in 2015.

Woodman didn’t know Richmond before hiring him. Fairmont State’s defensive coordinator at the time was former OSU safety Zach Crissup, and that connection led to Richmond moving to West Virginia.

But in three years on staff together, Woodman and Richmond had grown close. The head coach praised the young coach OSU is getting.

“They’re going to get a lot of energy,” he said. “They’re going to get someone who wants to win, who’s willing to pay the price right alongside of any coach or player that’s near him. They’re going to get a guy who is a technician and continues to study the game to get better at his craft and relates extremely well to the players.

“They’re going to see the players, no matter who he’s coaching, you’re going to see those guys play their butts off for him and caring about him and knowing that he cares about them off the field just as much as he does on the field.”

Richmond helped guide a Fairmont State defense that was among the best in NCAA Division II. It ranked 13th in the country this season in total defense. It also tied for 27th in sacks, a year after it ranked 22nd.

Woodman said one of the things about Richmond that stuck out to him was how he took initiative to improve the program over his three years, not just his position group.

He said there are plenty of memories he’ll cherish from Richmond’s time at Fairmont State.

None more so than the day he got the Oklahoma State job.

“To come back there and now as a father, to be able to have an ability to spend some time with his family and raise his son in Stillwater, I know that means a whole, whole lot to him,” Woodman said.

Mark Cooper 


Twitter: @mark_cooperjr