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Herriman Journal

Former BYU basketball star takes the reigns at Providence Hall

Jun 04, 2024 09:55AM ● By Tom Haraldsen

Former BYU basketball player Richard Harward will take over as head boys basketball coach at Providence Hall High School. (Courtesy Richard Harward)

When the 2021 college basketball season began, no one was more optimistic about possibilities than Richard Harward. The 6-foot-11, 250 pound graduate of Orem High had excelled at both Utah Valley University and at BYU, and the Cougar Nation was excited to see him perform as a senior on the Marriott Center floor.

Fate had a different plan. 

During the team’s first exhibition game, Harward fell ill, helped off the court by teammates. He was later diagnosed with a heart issue that, based on advice from doctors, ended his career–but not his love for the game.

He’s been named the new head coach for the boys’ basketball team at Providence Hall High School. The Patriots will take the court this fall under his guidance, and he’s clearly very anxious to get started.

“I’ve had a chance to meet with some of the players who are coming back, and I’ll meet with parents in the upcoming weeks,” he said. “I’m very excited. Most of last year’s team members were seniors, so we’ll have a very young crew coming in–I think maybe just one senior. So it really is building from the ground up.”

Harward, who works full time for Mountain America Credit Union in talent acquisition, grew up in Orem, playing in all the youth programs until high school. His team at Orem High won the state championship his freshman year. He found the love and support of his neighbors in that city endearing, something he wants to instill at Providence Hall.

“I want to make our games a big community event, one that people want to come to and support,” he said. “That’s really my passion–to build that community engagement.” He’ll work with Providence Hall’s somewhat unique situation–a regular high school but without a defined boundary. That doesn’t mean he wants to pull in a lot of players from other areas in the valley.

“I want to get as many players from as close as I can to the school,” he said. “I had very special experiences at Orem High. I loved the fact that I was a local boy. People had known me from childhood. I want people who are close by to feel like this is our community–this team and this school.”

This is Harward’s first high school coaching job, though he’s mentored teams in bantam leagues and Junior Jazz programs since his playing days ended. “This sport has always been in my blood, and even when I couldn’t play anymore, I knew I wanted to coach,” he said. He’s looking for possible assistants, but no decisions have been made in that regard.

As a player, he was coached by some of the best–Dick Hunsaker at UVU and Mark Pope at both UVU and BYU. That’s where he learned what all coaches need to know when they start with a new program–analyze your players’ abilities and skill sets and go from there.

“One of the things we’ll sort out early is our offensive strategy,” he said. “I’ve played for pretty much every form of offense. I know we’re a little bit undersized compared to the rest of the teams in our region, so we’ll make some adjustments. I’m just anxious to watch more about our players and see what they can pick up. Basketball season can’t come soon enough for me.” λ

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