DURANT — Southeastern Oklahoma State head football coach Ray Richards stepped down after nine seasons at the school and days following the Storm’s fourth straight losing season.

DURANT — Southeastern Oklahoma State head football coach Ray Richards stepped down after nine seasons at the school and days following the Storm’s fourth straight losing season.


"First of all, I want to express my appreciation to Coach Richards for his hard work over the past nine years," Southeastern Director of Athletics Keith Baxter said. "He has impacted the lives of many young men during that tenure and we wish him the very best in his future endeavors.


"Our task now is to identify the right individual to move the Southeastern football program forward as we continue our focus to ensure our student-athletes reach their full potential."


Richards compiled a 42-52 record at Southeastern, including three Lone Star Conference North Division championships during his first three seasons at the helm.


The Savage Storm just completed their fourth consecutive losing season with a 2-9 mark in 2013.


"I am thankful for the opportunity to have worked here at Southeastern," Richards said. "We had some really good years, especially early on. I’m disappointed that we were not able to carry on that momentum from the first five years."


Baxter said the process to find a replacement will begin immediately with the appointment of a search committee.


"We will conduct a thorough but timely search," he said. "Having said that, we are very aware of the importance of moving swiftly so as not to disrupt the recruiting process. Our ultimate goal is to have one of the premier athletic programs in the Great American Conference and football is obviously a big part of that."


Richards, who also was 14-30 at Southwest Baptist but earned the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Coach of the Year honors in 2001 after leading the Bearcats to their first winning season in a decade, took over the Storm prior to the 2005 season.


He was part of the program’s transition to the Great American Conference starting in 2011, when SOSU was 2-8 and finished ninth in the GAC standings. Last season the Storm went 4-6 and 2-6 in conference.


This was Richards’ second stint at Southeastern after spending 10 years as the defensive coordinator from 1989-98. In his first season as defensive coordinator Southeastern won the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference and played in the Aztec Bowl.