Coach James “Friday” Richards Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship was designed to honor the life and legacy of Coach James “Friday” Richards. Coach Friday had a passion for helping his student athletes achieve their academic and athletic goals. Richards had a special gift for motivating students to “BE SOMEBODY” in all that they do. Coach Friday embodied this motto in all that he did. Growing up in the project housing on Lemon Street in Marietta, Richards developed a talent for several sports, including football, basketball, and track. In 1968 he started at the newly integrated Marietta High School, where he would go on to letter in three varsity sports and be elected as the first black Mr. MHS.
After graduating from Marietta High, Richards went to the University of Florida on a football scholarship. He excelled at Florida and his talent led him to be drafted in the 7th round to the New York Jets and later traded to the Washington Redskins. In 1978 he began teaching physical education, at his alma mater and went on to complete a specialist’s degree in the field.
Overcoming poverty and adversity, Richards sought to provide the same opportunities at success that his athletic talents and focus on education had afforded. Truly embodying the “BE SOMEBODY” spirit, Richards took in over 14 of his players into his home, supporting their completion of high school and helping them obtain scholarships for their college aspirations. In addition to an impressive 107-58 coaching record from 1995-2010, Richards also helped over 100 students to receive sport-related scholarships to further their education. Richards always preached the mantra of family and pushed his students to “BE SOMEBODY” in how they played their sport, lived their lives, approached their education, and supported their friends and family. He truly was SOMEBODY, and we are delighted to continue his legacy through this memorial scholarship fund.
Just as Coach Friday lived a life guided by the “BE SOMEBODY” mantra, we would like you to submit a 1-page essay about a time you have embodied the principles of “BE SOMEBODY”. This can apply to your family life, school life, sports career or other aspects in your life where you feel like you have truly been SOMEBODY!