Marietta High School head football coach head football coach James "Friday" Richards  is shown in a November 2005 photo as he leads a practice at the school as the Blue Devils prepare for their Friday night playoff game against Brookwood High School in Gwinnett County. PHOTO BY ANDY SHARP/STAFF.
Photo: Andy Sharp/AJC
Photo: Andy Sharp/AJC

‘Friday' Richards retires as Marietta football coach

Longtime Marietta High School football coach James "Friday" Richards says he doesn't know the record he has compiled over the years.

"I can tell you how many lives I've changed, but not how many wins I've gotten," Richards said from his home Friday evening.

After 15 seasons as head coach of the Blue Devils, and 33 years of coaching at the school, Richards said Friday he's calling it quits. Richards says he's not leaving the school, and he plans to continue teaching physical education on a part-time basis in the fall.

Richards, who graduated from Marietta High School in 1972, played fullback for the University of Florida before returning to his hometown to take his first teaching job. That first job turned into the only one he would have.

But he's dealing with some health problems, and Richards says he needs to focus on himself.

"It's time for me to retire," said Richards, whose wife, Dorothy, is a nurse at WellStar Kennestone hospital.

But after a lifetime of football, Richards says he's not ready to walk away completely.

"If they'll let me be an assistant coach, I'll keep coaching a little bit," he says.

Longtime Marietta High School football coach James "Friday" Richards is retiring.

More important than the wins and losses are the number of boys Richards has helped, making him not just coach but also a mentor. During his career, he has helped dozens of boys earn athletic scholarships to colleges and universities.

Richards, whose only child attends the University of Kentucky, doesn't have any boys of his own. But over the years, he says his wife has allowed him to mentor children in their home. Richards says he'll be there for current Marietta students, too.

"I'm not going anywhere," Richards said. "I'm gonna try to raise some more kids over there and be an influence in their lives."

According to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association, Richards compiled a 107-58 record.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.