The native of Roselle, New Jersey, near New York City, is settling into a new life in Missouri.
Rich Biddulph Jr. has been on the job as the assistant women’s basketball coach at State Fair Community College since last week and is getting used to life in the Midwest. He grew up in New Jersey, went to high school in New York and college in Philadelphia before starting his coaching career at a high school in New Jersey. He then moved from the high school ranks to Union College, a Division II NJCAA program from New Jersey that played in the NJCAA national tournament last season in Overland Park, Kansas.
“I had a little feel for the Kansas City area but not Sedalia,” he said. “As different as it is, a lot of the things that I’m leaving behind in New Jersey with the congestion and the crowding and everyone always being on the go, I welcome some of those changes. The people have been fabulous both on campus and off campus.”
He said there was a lot about State Fair that attracted him to the job. He said he would pick a junior college program over even a small NCAA Division I school. He stresses the importance of education to student athletes and said he was looking to come to a school that was both serious about basketball and academics. He said that to him, the graduation rate of a program he is involved with is more important than anything else.
“First and foremost, as much as I love the game of basketball and as competitive as I am, with my educators background, I really see you have an opportunity to use basketball to reach young student athletes and help them use the game to help them better themselves and better their lives,” he said.
He interviewed with head coach Kevin Bucher and athletic director Darren Pannier and felt he would fit in with them. He also interviewed with SFCC President Dr. Joanna Anderson and and Vice President for Education and Student Support Services Dr. Brent Bates.
“I felt very comfortable speaking with them and I felt that State Fair was run, both from an athletic point of view and an administrative point of view, by individuals that I could work well with and I would enjoy working under,” Biddulph said.
After college he taught high school math and coached at St. Patrick in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the school that produced Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving. Biddulph coached first with the boys team and later with the girls.
“It was a very high-profile program, got an opportunity to play and national schedule and compete for national championships,” he said.
Though Biddulph has coached both men and women, he feels there is more purity in the women’s game.
“I think the X’s and O’s aspect of the game is more present,” he said. “It’s not as athletically dominant by an individual player. I like the way a team plays together.”
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles