Hannah Richards was ready to hang up her basketball sneakers and focus on obtaining a nursing degree at Husson University in Bangor.
But Southern Maine Community College head women’s basketball coach Katie Stannard had other plans for the Old Town High School 1,000-point scorer.
The former Katie Bergeron, who also starred at Old Town, has wanted to land a player from her alma mater since taking over the coaching job at SMCC in 2016.
Richards will be that player.
“I’m really excited,” the 5-foot-6 Richards said. “Katie had kept texting me and we had been talking for about a year. She had been telling me about the program.”
Richards, who like Stannard grew up in Bradley, decided she wanted to keep playing.
“Katie was very persistent. She told me not many get the opportunity to play college sports and how great it was for her,” Richards said. “She said it would impact my future and help me in a lot of different ways.”
Richards averaged 15 points last season to lead Old Town to a berth in the Big East Classes AA/A/B championship game where the Class B Coyotes lost 45-34 to Class AA Bangor.
Stannard was a 1,000-point scorer at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. She said attending Bowdoin was a life-changing experience and has created a desire in her to provide a similar experience for her players.
She spent a year as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Emmanuel College in Boston, then played three years of professional basketball in Europe including two years in Leeds, England.
Stannard attended Leeds Metropolitan University and earned two master’s degrees in Sport Business and Sport Law and Society.
She has followed Richards’ high school career closely and said she knows the family really well.
Richards is expected to play both the point guard and shooting guard roles for the South Portland-based Seawolves, who have played in two United States Collegiate Athletic Association Final Fours with an overall record of 90-27 during Stannard’s four seasons.
The 2020-21 season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stannard called Richards a go-to player and said she has not only the physical skills but a competitive fire and a high basketball IQ.
“I was watching her play one game and her shot wasn’t falling. But instead of getting frustrated, she started dishing the ball to her open teammates,” Stannard said. “She got all of them involved in the game. Then her shots started falling.”
Richards intends to play some basketball with high school friends this summer and then hopes to get involved in pickup games with her future SMCC teammates.
She has attended SMCC games and was impressed with Stannard and the team. Richards intends to take prerequisite courses for two years at SMCC before transferring to another school to complete her nursing degree.