Richardson under fire by USA Volleyball

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Texas Fierce Elite club volleyball coach and director Ryan Richardson has been suspended from coaching duties until further notice.

“He was suspended to things contrary to the rules under the Safe Sport act,” said Will Vick, commissioner of the Lonestar Region under USA Volleyball. “He is being looked at by USA Volleyball. This could be permanent or done away with right away, once I get something back from USA Volleyball.

“Right now, we’re just keeping him away from the girls he’s coaching. I’m getting complaints from parents.”

When asked for a comment, Richardson originally said “I have some things to work out but other than that I don’t know what so no comment.”

Then he texted that he would “love to sit down and talk.”

Vick added the suspension to Richardson included training those players, but added “I’m not going to be looking over my shoulder.”

USA Volleyball communications manager BJ Hoeptner Evans said Wednesday she was not familiar with the situation but asked for an email query so she could find out more on the situation. As of Friday afternoon, she had not returned emails

The Safe Sport Act requires sports organizations to establish reasonable procedures to limit one-on-one interactions between an adult and an amateur athlete who is a minor.

Richardson said he called the Safe Sport Center on two occasions but they responded they had nothing regarding him.

However, Hilary Nemchik, senior director of communications and media relations gave a statement that “The Center does not comment on matters to protect the integrity of our investigative process.” She did add that the center can use discretion in some reports to send it for review to the governing body, in this case, USA Volleyball.

“It’s a far-fetched, pretty horrible thing and claim,” Richardson said. “I’ve gotten emails and stuff I’ll show. Sometimes kids leave and that’s part of the business – we’ll lose two to three kids a season because it’s just not a good fit. That’s just how it works. That will never change, but to retaliate and defame someone’s character is pretty awful.

“I called Safe Sport and I clarified with them that it wasn’t a Safe Sport situation. They told me to call back to clarify but I’ve gotten nothing.”

While there are confirmed communications sent to USA Volleyball and the Lonestar Region regarding Richardson since at least last summer claiming various misconduct situations, the most recent issue seems to have stemmed from a photo Richardson posted on social media. In the photo, Richardson is taking a bathroom selfie while only wearing boxers, which are slightly pulled down on one side and not leaving much to the imagination.

Multiple communications sent to either the Lonestar Region or USA Volleyball have questioned the appropriateness of the photo, whether a coach who trains teen females, should be subjecting them to that type of photo.

Richardson at first said he had never posted anything inappropriate but then added “that was on my private page, after I worked out.”

Roy Stroman, athletic director and head football coach at Weslaco High School has a daughter who trains with Richardson and adamantly said he has never seen anything inappropriate from Richardson.

“Being a high school athletic coordinator and football coach there are things we’ve seen and come across, there are different coaching styles – I know what type of coach Ryan is,” Stroman said. “He is very disciplined and fundamentally sound and he’s tough. But my wife and I are very supportive of his club and drills and teams he has put together.

“We don’t have any problems with anything he does. Not everybody is perfect. There are things I need to work on and I’m sure things he needs to work on. These girls respond to him and plays hard for him and I know at the end of the day they need their coach.”