MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Northern Michigan University Director of Athletics Rick Comley announced Monday that Shane Richardson has been named the 23rd head football coach in program history.

Richardson, a former linebacker for the Wildcats, served as head coach of the football program at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Pembroke for the past eight seasons.

Richardson will officially assume his new position on Wednesday, December 28.

“It’s an absolute honor and privilege to be named the next head football coach at Northern Michigan University,” Richardson said. “The opportunity to come back to a place where my love of college football was forged is incredible. This program has a lot of potential for success and I’m looking forward to leading it. The pride that I have as a Wildcat, combined with the familiarity of Marquette and the Upper Peninsula, is a uniquely special fit. My family and I are excited to immerse ourselves into the community, connect with alumni, and to be a part of this great university and football program.”

Richardson played for NMU from 1996-2000, earning recognition during that time as the team’s co-most improved player in 1998 and the most valuable linebacker in 2000.

Richardson previously spent time as a linebacker coach at NMU in 2002. He held the same role for Jamestown in 2003 and became the the defensive backs coach at North Dakota State in 2004 before becoming a defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at UNC Pembroke from 2006-13.

Since taking over at UNC Pembroke in 2014, Richardson amassed a 37-48 overall record, which includes a 10-2 season and a trip to the playoffs in 2016. During his tenure, During his tenure, the school played as an NCAA independent until 2020 when it became a member of the Mountain East Conference.

NMU included the following statements regarding Richardson’s hiring in a release on Monday:

Statement from Director of Athletics Rick Comley:
I am pleased that Shane Richardson will be our next football coach. He is a loyal and proud alumnus who has grown while at UNC Pembroke and will use that experience to move Wildcat Football back toward contention in the GLIAC. NMU is proud of its football program and this is our first step on the road back to our expected level of support and success.

Statement from Search Committee Advisor Steve Mariucci:
“I am certain that Shane is the right guy for our program. He brings significant experience as a head coach, is battle-tested and has a passion to bring his alma mater back to national prominence. I’m excited about what is ahead and wish Shane, his family, and his coaching staff all the best as they usher in a new era of Wildcat football. Go Cats!”

Statement from New York Jets Head Coach and former Wildcat teammate Robert Saleh:
“Building upon an already solid foundation that began while playing for NMU, Shane has continued to exemplify what it means to be a Wildcat. Continually improving his approach to coaching and striving to be better and do better, Shane is exactly who our Wildcats have been looking for.”

You can read more from NMU here.