When conversations began about Scott Richards joining the Beaufort Academy football staff, he didn't realize where they were headed.
The former East Carolina tight end and North Augusta High School quarterback figured he might help with the offense again, as he had before under former Eagles coach Wheatley Alford. But the talks turned into an offer to become head coach, and Richards welcomed it.
"I can do it my way now," he said. "I'm glad it's come to that."
Richards replaces Brock Vaigneur, who left the school this past spring to pursue other teaching opportunities, former Eagles athletics director Michael Millwood said.
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Millwood retired after this past school year and was replaced by Neal McCarty, an assistant girls basketball coach last year who will also take the girls basketball job Vaigneur held last year.
Millwood said a search began this past January for someone who could become both football coach and athletics director but that no candidates were a fit.
As SCISAA schools start football practice, Richards will try to continue implementing his plan for the Eagles and adjusting to eight-man football. Richards said about 17 players participated in summer workouts and that he thinks the number could creep to 20 to 22 once practice begins.
He is easing Beaufort Academy into more of a spread offense over a power running game.
It might be his background leading the way.
Richards helped lead North Augusta to the 1989 state championship as a quarterback and then converted to tight end for the Pirates. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs and then had a stint with the Baltimore Ravens before injuries helped close his playing career in NFL Europe.
Richards has been in Beaufort the past 10 years and works as a manager for a construction company. His wife teaches at Beaufort Academy.
Richards' job is why he initially left his role helping Alford, but he said his time is more manageable now. He praised his staff of volunteer coaches.
"They're very capable and very knowledgeable," Richards said. "It's going to work out fine."
Follow assistant sports editor Stephen Fastenau at twitter.com/IPBG_Stephen.
SCISAA TEAMS OPEN FOOTBALL PRACTICE Three area schools will hit the field Thursday, the first day SCISAA schools are allowed to hold football practice. Hilton Head Christian Academy will work out from 8:15 to10:15 a.m., while Hilton Head Prep and Thomas Heyward Academy will practice from 8 to 11 a.m. Beaufort Academy opens practice on Friday.