By Bob Tompkins
Janice Joseph Richard fashioned the crowning achievement of her basketball career after being dealt a potential career-ending blow.
Arguably the lowest point in her life was when she had to step down as the head women’s basketball coach at NCAA Division I San Jose State in 2006 because of breast cancer. From that abyss, she found new life back inLouisiana and her hometown of Alexandria.
Her alma mater across the Red River, Louisiana College was looking for a coach. Richard (pronounced REE-shard) was sick, and so was LC women’s basketball, but the two were a perfect match.
In three seasons, her Lady Wildcats compiled a 55-23 record, including a 24-3 mark a No. 14 national ranking and the American Southwest Conference championship in 2009-10, her final season.
The cancer came back while she was LC’s coach, but she fought through it until she could not any longer, and her assistant, Jason Tinsley, took over at the start of the 2010-11 season. Richard died Dec. 1, 2010, at age 46.
Her remarkable career will be celebrated Saturday, June 25 in Natchitoches as she is among the 11-member Class of 2016 being inducted in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Editor’s note – This is one in a series profiling the 11 members of the Class of 2016 being enshrined Saturday, June 25 in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Competitive ballot inductees are P.J. Brown, Jim Hightower, Rick Jones, “Gentleman” Dave Malarcher, Janice Joseph-Richard, Ben Sheets, Arthur “Red” Swanson, and Anthony Thomas. Contributor inductees are Dr. Julian Bailes, Jim Hawthorne and Bob Tompkins. A schedule of events from June 23-25, along with online sales for tickets and golf entries, is available at LaSportsHall.com, with information also available by calling 318-238-4255.