Playing ends, coaching begins

Kooper Richardson had the option in 2021 of remaining at UC Davis as a graduate student or entering the transfer portal. The offensive tackle would have probably remained with the Aggies if he could have a position to call his own, but he felt as if he was no longer wanted.

The first indication of that came after COVID-19 wiped out the 2020 season. Five games in the spring of 2021 were compensation without costing the players a year of eligibility. Those games cost Richardson , however, as he went from starting 24 games in 2018-19 to having to share playing time.

Kooper Richarson (77) started his college career at UC Davis, finished it in 2021 at Sacramento State and was recently hired as a graduate assistant at Boise State.

Tim Keane might have stood a chance of talking Richardson into staying, but the offensive line coach left UC Davis after the 2019 season to take the same position at Boise State. Richardson will now work alongside Keane in the fall after joining the Broncos as a graduate assistant.

Richardson jumped to Sacramento State after leaving UC Davis to join his father Kris and brother Kaden. Kris might have the longest title of any college coach – assistant head coach, run game coordinator and offensive line coach. He also coached his sons at Folsom High.

Joining the rival Hornets might have also been Richardson’s way of sticking it to UC Davis after being discarded like an old couch. He started all 11 games at right tackle in 2021 for Sacramento State, which finished 8-0 in the Big Sky Conference and advanced to the FCS playoffs.

Mike Cody became the offensive line coach at UC Davis after Keane departed and was promoted to offensive coordinator last season. New head coach Tim Plough will call plays as he did in 2016-19 as the Aggies offensive coordinator, so Cody will return to coaching the offensive line.

Like Keane, Plough left UC Davis in 2019 to became offensive coordinator at Boise State. Plough did not last two seasons in Boise. He was fired in 2022 after a 27-10 loss to UTEP left the Broncos with a 2-2 record. The loss was Boise State’s first in seven meetings with UTEP since 2000.

Plough found a new job in 2023 as the tight ends coach at Cal and was offered a promotion to offensive coordinator after the season. The opportunity to return to UC Davis, his alma mater, following Dan Hawkins’ retirement was an offer he simply could not refuse.