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May 14, 2012 | 10:48am ET
Richards takes over as full time coach
TheFourthPeriod.com

The Columbus Blue Jackets have removed the "interim" tag from Todd Richards' title and named him the club's full time head coach.

Richards, who served as the club's interim head coach over the final 41 games of the 2011-12 season, has agreed to a two-year contract through the 2013-14 season.

Richards, 45, joined the Blue Jackets as an assistant coach on June 20, 2011 and took over as interim head coach on January 9. He led the Blue Jackets to an 18-21-2 record, including a 16-14-1 mark over the final 31 games with wins in seven of its last 11 outings.

"At the end of last season, Craig and I reviewed all aspects of the year and took a close look at the job Todd did leading our club over the final 41 games. As we analyzed available coaching candidates and individuals who might become available, it became very clear to us that he is the right person to lead our team," said Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson. "Our team continuously improved under Todd and he has earned the opportunity to build upon the work he started."

Prior to joining the Blue Jackets, Richards compiled a 77-71-16 record as the head coach of the Minnesota Wild from 2009-11. He was named the second head coach in Wild history on June 16, 2009 and led the club to a 38-36-8 record in 2009-10 and a 39-35-8 mark in 2010-11.

"I am very grateful to the McConnell family, our ownership group, Scott, Craig (Patrick) and the organization for the opportunity to continue as the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets," said Richards. "We have a lot of work to do to give our fans the type of team they want but I am really excited about what lies ahead. We made strides last season and I'm confident that our players are ready for the challenges before us."

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