Ernie A Richards Jr., 78, of Hopedale, MA died peacefully on Thursday, May 31, 2018 after a short battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Julie Rizoli-Richards.
Ernie was born in Milford, MA to the late Josephine (Douglas) and the late Ernest A Richards Sr. He attended the Milford public schools until he enrolled at Suffield Academy (Conn.) for his junior and senior year of high school. Ernie graduated from Springfield College with a degree in biology and physical education. He taught science and physical education in Millis, Marlborough and Uxbridge, MA for 35 years.
Ernie’s biggest passion was coaching. In his 47 years as a coach, he headed the football teams at Skowhegan and Oakland, Maine, Millis, Marlborough, and Uxbridge, MA and assisted at Worcester State and Blackstone Valley Tech in MA. He led three of his teams to Superbowl Championships, 1980, 1991 and 1992 and assisted in one other Superbowl Championship in 2007. Ernie also coached Millis varsity baseball for 14 years, winning a District Championship in 1973. He is most proud of the fact that his players were good people and went on to lead successful lives. He boasted about his former athletes that are now coaches. Ernie was inducted into the Massachusetts Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1998. He was also a member of the Mass. High School Football Coaches Association 200 Club for 200 plus victories as a head coach. He was recently named to the inaugural Millis High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Ernie loved people and made lasting connections with many. He was an avid racquetball player and was a constant fixture at Midtown Racquetball Club in Milford, MA for many years. Ernie enjoyed working out at the new Midtown Club and was motivating to other members to exercise to stay healthy. If Ernie wasn’t at the club, he was at the golf course with his buddies. He enjoyed time on the Cape walking the beaches. You could always spot Ernie in the end zone of a Millis, Uxbridge or Northbridge football game. And of course when talking with Ernie, you were always expecting some kind of razzing or joking and sometimes off color comments.
Ernie was always “raring to go” and was actively involved in his family. He left a legacy of athletes and coaches to carry on his love for sports. Ernie spent time coaching, watching, and “yelling encouragement” to his children and grandchildren on the court and field, always the Coach!
Besides his wife, he is survived by his son Allan Richards, his wife, Sheree and grandson, Ben of Whitinsville, MA; his daughter, Torri Richards, her partner Barbara and grandsons, Tanner and Zachary of Northwood, NH; his son, Justin Richards, his wife, Brigid and granddaughters, Teagan, Zoey and Kyra of Hopedale, MA and his daughter, Gina Haddad, her husband David, and their children, Mia and Bryce of Medway, MA. He is also survived by his sister, Virginia Chuma, and her husband John of Chelmsford, MA and several nieces and nephews.
Visiting hours will be Sunday, June 3, 2018 at the Edwards Memorial Funeral Home, 44 Congress Street Milford MA (www.edwardsmemorialfuneralhome.com) from 2-5pm. A private funeral will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to
The Coach Ernie Richards Memorial Scholarship Fund at the following locations:
Millis High School
Attn: Guidance Office
245 Plain Street
Millis MA 02054 Checks made payable to: Millis High School
Uxbridge High School
ATTN: Guidance Department
300 Quaker HWY
Uxbridge, MA 01569 Checks made payable to: Uxbridge High School
American Heart Association
7272 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75231