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Aztec Basketball Completes Spring Workouts

Shanna Demus and the rest of the Aztec basketball team completed six weeks of spring workouts last Friday.
Shanna Demus and the rest of the Aztec basketball team completed six weeks of spring workouts last Friday.

May 11, 2006

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego State women's basketball team completed a successful six weeks of spring workouts last Friday. The Aztecs' training included a combination of weight lifting and conditioning, as well as individual on-court practices with the coaching staff.

The squad's work in the weight room is closely monitored by head strength and conditioning coach Jon Francis and assistant coach Wendell Richards. Richards came to Montezuma Mesa in mid-April and brings an up-tempo attitude, stressing consistency in all facets of the student-athletes' workout regime.

"Coach Richards is a tremendous addition to our Aztec basketball team and the San Diego State athletic department as a whole," SDSU head coach Beth Burns said. "His similarities in philosophy with our coaching staff - a speed and power-oriented Olympic lifting program with extensive core development and functional movement training - give us that physical and mental edge that will separate us from our competitors.

"Coach Richards has two major goals: first and foremost, remain injury free, second, maximize each individual athlete's potential by exaggerating their strengths and improving their weaknesses. Coach Richards' expertise in running training including technique, movement in space, explosiveness and change of direction, greatly enhances our athletes' successful transition to a full-court style of play. Coach's high energy, enthusiastic approach to training is an added bonus. His addition to our staff will pay huge dividends on the court."

Rather than trying to just merely recover from its four month competitive season, the team's spring program was designed to promote physical improvement on a daily basis, resulting in a better overall work-rate and tempo, according to Richards.

"The basketball off-season is so important, because for one thing, it's one of the longest off-seasons of any sport," Richards said. "This gives the student-athletes a realistic time period to train and make real improvements."

Richards came to San Diego State after nearly five years at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, where he was a graduate assistant from 2001-02, and an assistant strength and conditioning coach from 2002-06. He worked with the Vandals' women's basketball, women's soccer, golf, tennis, track and field and volleyball programs. In addition, Richards assisted with football and men's basketball teams.

Prior to his stay in Idaho, the Broadalbin, N.Y. native first worked with coach Francis while he was an undergraduate at Appalachian State in Boone, N.C. As a senior, he focused primarily on men's tennis and assisted with the Mountaineers' 20 other varsity sports.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to be part of an athletic program at San Diego State that's going to have success in so many areas," Richards said.

Richards, who is certified by the CSCCa, earned a bachelor's degree in exercise science from Appalachian State (2001) and a master's degree in physical education (2003) from the University of Idaho.

"I'm really looking forward to continuing to work with the women's basketball team," Richards said. "There is a lot of mutual respect and understanding between myself and coach Burns and her staff. We're all trying to help this program improve and yet we all know there is still work to be done."