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BOISE — Former Boise State football player Hilton Richardson has been hired as an assistant coach for the newly-formed Bronco Baseball team.

Richardson, who played for the Broncos during the 2011 and 2012 seasons, has most recently been working as a scouting supervisor for the Philadelphia Phillies.

“There’s no real words for it,” Richardson said Monday. “It’s going to be incredibly special. … I could have never dreamed of being back here, but life has a funny way of bringing you back full circle. It’s an incredible opportunity to be back. I’m looking forward to it.”

A seventh-round selection by the Kansas City Royals in the 2007 Major League Baseball June Amateur Draft, Richardson played in 323 minor league games in five seasons with the Royals and Atlanta Braves before retiring in 2011 to join the Bronco football team as a walk-on.

Richardson left the team after the 2012 season to focus on his degree. He graduated with a criminal justice degree in 2014 from Boise State, and also accepted a scouting position with the Phillies the same year.

He most recently was the Northwest Area Scouting Supervisor for the Phillies before being hired by new Boise State baseball coach Gary Van Tol.

“I was really shocked when Gary called me because I wasn’t expecting it, but I’d love to be here and I jumped at the opportunity,” Richardson left. “I’ve been a professional scout the last four years…When Gary had me cross-reference some names, they were guys I’ve already evaluated from a professional standpoint.”

Van Tol spent the past 10 years coaching in the Chicago Cubs’ organization, giving the Broncos two coaches with extensive ties to the Northwest and professional baseball.

Richarson, who attended Lake Washington High in Kirkland, Washington, had never played football before joining the Broncos in 2011 as a wide receiver and then a defensive back.

“I fell in love with Boise when I first showed up in 2011 to be on The Blue, so to be back means the world to me,” Richardson said. “Boise is a very special place and I’m excited to build a future here.

“It still hasn’t quite hit me yet, but I’m ready to start something special and impact the lives in a positive way. I’m going to exhaust every last effort I can to make sure our guys are always in the best possible position to be successful.”

Boise State announced the return of the baseball program last April, and Van Tol was hired as head coach in November. The Broncos are set to begin play in February 2020, and more than a dozen recruits have already committed to join the program.

The Broncos are planning to build a new stadium off Beacon Street near the Boise State campus, and recently were approved to spend $500,000 to design and make plans for the new field.

“Hilton represents everything Boise State is all about and what it means to be a Bronco,” Van Tol said. “He brings to the table an unselfish work ethic with humility, integrity and professionalism. The road he has traveled will make an immediate impact on our program and the student-athletes he comes in contact with.

“I want to thank the Philadelphia Phillies for supporting Hilton’s opportunity to come back to Boise and for helping him prepare for this special journey. The Broncos just got better today.”

Richardson said Van Tol told him to “get ready” for the grind ahead. He’ll get most of July to get moved to Boise and get situated before roughly a dozen players enroll at Boise State for a “zero year” in which they will train and practice but won’t compete in games.

Boise State is still looking to hire another full-time coach, and could add a volunteer coach as well.

B.J Rains has covered Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press since 2013. He is an Associated Press Top 25 men's basketball poll voter, and also contributes to KBOI-TV as a Boise State insider.

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