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Richard will step down for higher calling

Seven Rivers Christian School Athletic Director Jamie Richard always loves a good baseball analogy and a funny joke.

He's been an economics and fifth-grade teacher and business broker and has his real estate license. Last year, Richard took over as the athletic director and head volleyball and track and field coach.

But Richard always has known he's had a higher calling.

After working at Seven Rivers for four years in many capacities, Richard has decided it's time to step down as the AD and coach after this school year to find work in pastoral ministry and church planning.

Richard said he didn't want to leave before this year because he would have been the third Warriors volleyball coach (Scott Lyons and Greg Hamilton) to leave in four years.

"It's always been a matter of when," said Richard, who also coached baseball. "I thought about doing it last year, but the volleyball team needs consistency in coaching. It just didn't seem fair to them."

Senior setter Alice Zeiss was shocked when she found out but always will remember Richard's sense of humor.

"I'll miss his baseball analogies," Zeiss said. "No one on our team plays baseball, and he always tries to make comparisons."

Comparisons such as the middle front is like the centerfielder since both have to take control and call who has the ball.

"No one will have any idea what he is talking about because none of us know baseball," Zeiss said. "His sense of humor is hilarious because he tries to get down on our level on a girl situation, and it's not close. It's funny when he tries."

Richard, 36, came to Seven Rivers in 2001 after working for his brother-in-law's Fast Signs business and as a business broker in Tampa.

Before moving to Tampa, Richard worked as a pastor at an Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Ariz, after graduating from Orlando's Reformed Theological Seminary in 1999.

Richard said he was unhappy in Tucson, so his family moved to Florida to be closer with his wife Angel's family.

It was 1{ years that Richard refers to as the "dark years."

"There were difficult years, not knowing what we should be doing with our lives," Richard said. "We felt like we were in a holding pattern until coming up to Citrus County."

After working odd jobs, Richard was so frustrated that he was looking for anything.

"I was so desperate that when I

saw a women's ministry director position open at Seven Rivers, Angel applied," he said. "Seven Rivers said they only had a fifth-grade teaching position open, so I took it."

It's one of the best decisions he's made.

Richard said Seven Rivers Pastor Ray Cortese told him that "I think God brought you here to put you back out."

Richard thinks now is the right time because there are more pastoral openings. He's looking locally to intern with the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Inverness, Seven Rivers or helping a friend open a new church in Gainesville.

Richard said Seven Rivers has not started the search for a new athletic director and volleyball and track and field coach.

Originally from Rapids City, S.D., Richard said he has no plans to return but will try and find a church in Florida or in the southeastern United States.

"My father (Marland) wrote an autobiography called The Wander," Richard said. "I guess I'm like him."

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