‘Our players are going to win on and off the field.’ Meet Sac State’s new football coach
They worked wonders together while wearing the blue and red, now Troy Taylor and Kris Richardson aim to do much more of the same in green and gold.
Richardson on Friday said he’s resigning as head coach at Folsom High School to join his best friend and one-time Bulldogs co-coach at Sacramento State, which hired Taylor to head the program earlier this week.
Richardson will be the Hornets’ assistant head coach and offensive line coach. He’ll start his new role next month and will bring three of his assistants, each hand picked by Taylor.
“It’s huge,” Taylor said of the Richardson hire. “I didn’t want to do this without him. That was the plan. Kris is the most emotionally stable guy, an incredible coach, and there’s no one I trust more. I had to have him. We’ve always been on the same page.”
Richardson leaves Folsom after 24 years coaching different levels, the last 14 as varsity head man. He posted a 162-27-1 varsity record and bows out after a sparkling decade of dominance unlike any in regional history.
Folsom since 2010 has gone 127-10 with nine league championships, seven Sac-Joaquin Section banners and four CIF State crowns, including the last two seasons in Division 1-AA. Two 14-0 seasons ended in Northern California Open Division championship losses to national powerhouse De La Salle, in 2012 and 2013.
Also this decade, Folsom has sent more than 30 players to NCAA Division I schools via scholarship. Richardson said he and Taylor will recruit Sacramento hard, believing this region can be Sac State’s primary recruiting base.
“I’m ecstatic,” Richardson said. “This is something that Troy and I have talked about for years, and to coach with my best friend, at Sac State, in the Big Sky Conference is just an incredible opportunity.”
Richardson’s top assistant at Folsom - Bobby Fresques - is coming full circle to Sac State. A Hornets quarterback in the early 1990s, Fresques will coach that position with Taylor. He and Taylor have been friends for years, and they have a state-wide reputation for grooming quarterbacks.
Fresques coached at Sac State under John Volek in 1996 and ‘97, and coached alongside Taylor at Cal in 1998.
Folsom defensive coordinator Sam Cole is joining the Hornets’ staff as a secondary coach, and Folsom running backs coach Chris Parry is headed to Sac State as a recruiting coordinator.
“I love it,” Fresques said. “It’s family. Troy brought me to Cal, I brought him to Christian Brothers here when I was there, and he later brought me to Folsom. It’s how football and relationships work.
“The No. 1 thing for success is continuity, and we have that right away now at Sac State. It’s like Troy said, ‘The band’s back together.’”
The outpouring of sheer emotion - coaches hugging and crying - after Folsom rallied to beat Cathedral Catholic of San Diego 21-14 last Friday in Norwalk was the most I had witnessed for a regional team in my 30 years on The Bee beat. It makes a lot more sense now as the coaches headed to Sac State had a sense this day was coming.
Folsom went 58-3 from 2012-15 when Richardson and Taylor were co-coaches, setting state offensive records, winning championships and trendsetting with spread football excellence.
Taylor took that same Folsom offense to Eastern Washington in 2016 as co-offensive coordinator, and the Eagles set NCAA FCS passing records. As offensive coordinator at Utah the last two seasons, Taylor’s teams pushed defenses around, and the Utes won the program’s first Pac-12 South title this season.
Taylor is doing double-duty now, coaching the Utes offense through the Dec. 31 Holiday Bowl against Northwestern and assembling a coaching staff while also determining which Hornets coaches will remain.
Taylor told The Bee he has hired a new defensive coordinator - Andy Thompson, a longtime coach at Northern Arizona, so he understands the Big Sky Conference.
Richardson said he would not have made the jump to Sac State without the blessing of wife Kelly, sons Kaden and Kooper and daughter Katie, a freshman at Folsom. Kaden is a senior at Folsom, a two-year standout at center, and Kooper just finished his sophomore season at UC Davis, where he started at right tackle for a team that tied for the Big Sky Conference championship.
Now the allure of Sac State and UCD being big-time football relevant at the same time exists. UCD made a quantum leap this season under second-year coach Dan Hawkins, reaching its first FCS playoff.
Sac State last won a conference championship in 1995 and last reached the postseason in 1988. Those droughts are now on notice.
“We think we can win right away,” Richardson said.
As for family, Richardson said he doesn’t have to move. Folsom is some 17 miles from Sac State, where Folsom won each of its section titles this decade.
“First thing Kooper told me was, ‘Take the job!’” Richardson said. “Katie wants to know if she can ride on the team plane. Uh, we’ll see.
“It’s a perfect storm, the perfect time for me to make the move.”
Folsom’s football opening will surely draw considerable interest. It’s an attractive gig due to large enrollment, open enrollment and administrative and community support.
One who seems like a logical choice would be Folsom’s strength and conditioning coach, Paul Doherty, who was the head coach at Sacramento High for 10 seasons and for three at Whitney.
Follow The Bee’s Joe Davidson: email@example.com, @SacBee_JoeD, sacbee.com/high-school.