Four years ago, when Ron Richards was in his first season of his second stint as Plum's boys basketball coach, he said something to me that I always remember. Maybe all coaches should keep in mind Richards' comments.
"The big thing I thought about before I even came back was I didn't want to be the same coach as before," Richards said in 2010. "I didn't want to fight every battle, on and off the court. I'm aware of some of the problems I got myself involved in during the past with officials and even parental issues. I brought some of them on myself.
"I said to myself this time that if I'm going to do this, I want to enjoy it more. Anyone who coaches, I don't know if we take enough time to enjoy the good things about it. I'm not talking about just the winning and some of the other fun things. I'm talking about just enjoying being around kids. I really want to focus on the enjoyable things this time."
Is Richards enjoying things more now? Who knows. But he has to be enjoying what is going on with Plum this season.
This has the makings of one of the best seasons in Plum history. The Mustangs are 12-1, with the only loss coming to Gateway. Plum moved into the Post-Gazette WPIAL Class AAAA rankings this week at No. 5. Plum and Gateway are tied for first place in Class AAAA Section 2 at 6-1.
The top of Section 2 is filled with good teams this year, but there is a possibility that Plum might win only its third section title in school history. The others came in 2000 and 2010. Both of those years the Mustangs tied for the section title.
Richards was the coach of both of those section championship teams. He coached Plum for nine seasons before resigning in 2007. He had a record of 139-94 and won 20 or more games twice. He started his second stint in 2009. Look at his past record and successes and you have to put him with the better coaches in the entire WPIAL.
And no matter what happens this season, Richards also is looking forward to the future. He believes some of Plum's best teams might be in the next couple years. He plays a number of sophomores and even a freshman.
The return of Luther
I'm hearing there is a good chance that Hampton's Ryan Luther will play tonight against North Hills. Luther, a Pitt recruit, has missed the past three games with an ankle injury.