Butch Richards, an integral part of the Belfast High football coaching staff for nearly three decades, won’t return for a second season as the Lions’ head coach this fall.
Richards recently tendered his resignation, citing personal issues.
“I’ve just got to other things I want to make a priority,” said Richards, who wants to spend more time following the pursuits of a son, who will be a high school freshman this fall, as well as his 10-year-old daughter.
“But it’s all been fun. Football’s a great sport, and I love teaching it.”
Richards coached football at Belfast for 27 years, beginning with a nine-year stint from 1976 through the mid-1980s.
He became the Lions’ boys varsity basketball coach in 1987, a post he maintained for 15 seasons, and rejoined the Belfast football staff when Butch Arthers was hired as the team’s head coach in 1992.
Richards served as offensive coordinator under Arthers, then was named co-coach in 2001 when Arthers became the school’s principal.
Richards took over all of the head coaching duties last summer after Arthers retired from the sport.
The Lions finished 1-7 in 2008 while competing in the Pine Tree Conference Class B ranks.
Richards’ football coaching tenure was highlighted by a nine-year run between 1995 and 2003 when Belfast won three Class B state titles and six Eastern Maine championships while reaching at least the regional final each season. The Lions won state championships in 1996, 1999 and 2003 and earned additional regional titles in 1995, 1997, and 2002.
Belfast compiled an 81-23 record during that span.
“Obviously it’s a lot more fun when you’re having success,” said Richards, a social studies teacher at the school, “Every season was just a highlight. We had some special kids during that stretch.”
The school is advertising for Richards’ successor.