BILLINGS — After months of uncertainty, Richard Hageman has a new college football coaching job — one he called “a perfect fit.”
The Jordan native will join the University of Wyoming football program as a special teams quality control coach, he announced last week. Hageman spent the previous two years as a defensive quality control coach and assistant defensive backs coach at Northern Illinois University.
“At Wyoming, there won’t have to be that transition or that adjustment period,” Hageman told 406mtsports.com on Friday. “I can’t wait to get down there and learn from (the coaches) and be a sponge and help them win football games.”
In January, NIU head football coach Rod Carey accepted the same position at Temple. The regime change, like many at the college level, overhauled the entire coaching staff, and Hageman was forced to search for a new job.
Hageman said he received interest for other quality control roles at FBS schools, for FCS general assignment jobs and for assistant coaching positions at the Division II level. Most of those options were multiple states away from Montana. After jobs with D-II Minnesota Crookston, the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League and NIU, Hageman was hoping to work closer to home.
Remaining a coach was never in question, Hageman said. He doesn’t have a family to uproot, and he’s happy to work far away from home if he likes the opportunity.
“It was my gut feeling that if I stayed patient, I would get what I want, even though it was really tough to stay patient,” he said.
Hageman reached out to Wyoming offensive coordinator Brent Vigen as a “shot in the dark,” he said, and the decision paid off. Hageman impressed Vigen and other Wyoming staffers enough to land a job, which was finalized Thursday, Hageman said.
“There were a lot of sleepless nights,” he said. “I’m glad I was patient.”
Hageman graduated from Jordan in 2010 and played three seasons at wide receiver for Montana Tech. He transferred to Montana State, where he worked as a student assistant before moving on to Minnesota.
Hageman has no complaints about the path he’s taken to this point, and he “wouldn’t trade the last two years at NIU,” he said. But his last two stops — Phoenix, Arizona, and DeKald, Illinois (about 60 miles west of Chicago) — were much different culturally than Jordan, and it took him time to adjust.
Hageman is a self-described cowboy. Now, he’s a Cowboy. Next month, he will end his summer stay in Jordan and travel about 500 miles south to Laramie, Wyoming. For the first time in five years, Hageman won’t feel out of place in his new home.
“I won’t get weird looks if I wear my cowboy boots,” he said with a laugh.