Redlands East Valley senior and football co-captain Brady Sheehan interviews REV football coach Richard Lunsford on the Oct. 5, 2018 episode of REVWeek. (Deven Rees, Rachel Garcia, Brandon Kotlareczyk/ REV Advanced Video Production)
By MIA ARANDA
“Be elite; in the classroom, community, and on the field.”
As the new Redlands East Valley High School football coach, Richard Lunsford helps his players develop their character on and off the field with this mission statement.
Lunsford first gained interest in football because he and his family were avid Chicago Bears fans. This love of football inspired him to play on the football team at Lowell High School in Lowell, Indiana and in college at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana. At Saint Joseph’s, he majored in Physical Education, which allowed him to teach P.E. at high school.
Prior to working at REV, Lunsford taught and coached at the following high schools: Clark in Indiana, Finley in Illinois, Kankakee Valley in Indiana, Edison in Indiana, and Arlington in Riverside, California.
While coaching at Arlington High School as the head football coach, Lunsford led his team to a 14-18 overall record, 5-10 record in the Inland Valley League and two appearances in the CIF playoffs within his three season run.
For his sixteenth year of coaching, Lunsford chose to work at REV because of the opportunity “to coach top level high school athletes against top level opponents.”
Lunsford said that he felt extremely welcome when he came to REV and was thrilled to be a part of this family and community. In addition to being a football coach, Lunsford is also a Physical Education teacher at REV.
Lunsford expects his players to abide by his aforementioned mission statement on and off the field. He wants his players to greet their teachers everyday when they walk into the classroom with a hello, a smile and, preferably, a handshake. He even checks back with their teachers to make sure that this is happening.
Lunsford stresses the importance of education and wants to ensure that all of his players are doing their best in the classroom and on the field. He hopes to model the behavior that he expects from his players every day.
“I am a teacher before a coach,” said Lunsford, “so I want to make sure all of my athletes are learning and working up to expectations.”
In addition to his team motto, Lunsford has also started a new tradition at REV where teachers can sign up to hang a varsity player’s jersey in their classroom on Fridays to show their support before the football game that night. Because there are over 60 players on the varsity roster, Lunsford reminds teachers that signups are first come, first serve.
Players will come to their assigned teacher in the morning to drop off their jersey and have been told to introduce themselves if they have not already met their supporting teacher as well as to thank them. The teacher will have that player’s jersey hung up in their classroom until the end of the day when the player will pick it up before their game later that evening.
Outside of school, Lunsford enjoys playing with his two puppies and working out at CrossFit. He stated that his wife supports him, is very understanding during football season and is always there to help give him advice.
When asked for a fun fact about himself, Lunsford mentioned that he didn’t eat green beans from age six to thirty-four.
In the Oct. 5 edition of REVWeek, Lunsford says, “If I had anything to say to every kid out there, I would say love yourself, love yourself and be yourself and stay true to yourself throughout your life. It will take you a long way.”
The Redlands East Valley 2018-19 varsity football team at the homecoming game versus Colony High School at Dodge Stadium in Redlands on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. Coach Lunsford led the team to 48-14 defeat over Colony. (Samantha Barajas/ Ethic Video)