By Aniela Russo
A long-time Riverside City College assistant football coach has died at the age of 60.
Mike Richey coached at RCC for 15 years and specialized in coaching linebackers and defensive backs. His leadership helped the Tigers achieve an undefeated National championship in 2019, which was RCC’s first in 30 years.
“If anyone embodied RCC more and bled orange and black, it was Richey,” associate head coach James Kuk said.
Richey remains a strong presence of leadership in RCC Athletics. According to an RCC Athletics press release, he played the role of “son, father, husband, and mentor to countless student-athletes over the course of his career.”
Richey was not only involved in school athletics. He was active in community social justice and advocated for juvenile offenders and foster children.
“Humility, Integrity, and social servant — that is what Mike Richey embodied,” Kuk said in the press release.
Richey began his career as an assistant football coach at North High School in Riverside in 1997. He quickly rose in the ranks and was promoted to junior varsity head coach during his second season. Richey then began coaching the varsity program’s linebackers.
In the 15 years that Richey was with the RCC Tigers, he coached Zaire Anderson, who is now a linebacker for the Denver Broncos.
“He always stayed on his players,” Anderson said. “He was brutally honest. So honest that sometimes it made us laugh. Mike was more like a homeboy — well respected. He would contact me, check in on me like dad, a brother.”
Zair, who now lives in Nebraska, recalled how Richey embraced him and made him feel welcome despite his homesickness. He also remembers Richey as someone who made an enormous impact on him as an athlete and a person.
Richey’s love for football began early on. He was a first team All-Conference cornerback at Redlands High school. He went on to play at Chapman University for one season, where he earned first team All-American honors.
The All-American held an associate of arts degree in accounting and a bachelor of arts in business administration from Chapman.
“Mike was an outstanding assistant and very dedicated to the players,” head coach Tom Craft said in the press release. “It’s a huge loss for our program. He had coached with me for ten years since I started at Riverside. He will be dearly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”.
The RCC Athletics community remembers Richey for his unwavering dedication to the youth and all those he inspired.