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Nuttall & Riddiough: A friendship through the decades

By Joe Pantorno, Sports Editor

 

With a new soccer season underway, Pride fans have little getting used to when it comes to the men leading their favorite squad.

Head women's soccer coach Simon Riddiough (sixth season in charge), and men's coach Richard Nuttall (twenty-third season) have not had just these six years to build the relationship they have today, this friendship spans two decades where both men have learned, discussed and taught together. 

Both natives of South Yorkshire, England, Nuttall recruited Riddiough who was described by Hofstra Athletics as "a hard nosed defender," in his second season at the helm.

Riddiough earned a spot in Nuttall's side and never failed to impress his coach.

"He wasn't highly skillful, but his application to the game was in the top two or three," said Nuttall. "He was almost ferocious on the field. He had a never say die attitude."

In his junior and senior year, Riddiough captained Hofstra to a 13-7-1 record in 1993 and 12-4-3 record in 1994, which remains two of Hofstra's top five seasons since Nuttall's arrival.

"He looked after me while I played for him," said Riddiough. "Back then it was more coach player (relationship) now it's more friend and family."

Gaining a coaching position 16 years ago, Riddiough stayed on campus after graduating while playing professionally through the late 1990's.

When Riddiough was given the opportunity to coach the women's squad, Nuttall was overjoyed.

"I was extremely proud," said Nuttall. "Because where he came from, our town in England is a tough town."

Riddiough realizes the opportunities Nuttall gave him and is grateful in every way.

"I can't say enough about Richie Nuttall," said Riddiough. "He saved me from England and I started a new life in America and I love it and he's a big reason for that so I can't say enough about him."

As the time has passed, the English duo are constantly talking soccer with each other, going over strategies and suggesting improvements.

"I discuss his team he discusses mine," said Riddiough with a smile. "He's always the positive, optimistic type which is good when you're down in the doldrums. I'm a bit more negative so I'm not sure if I help him as much as he helps me."

"I think because we've known each other for a lot of years, there's a lot of honesty," said Nuttall. "He'll let me know when he thinks something is not going the right way."

There are many things that each coach can go to one another for, but Nuttall stated there is one thing he will never ask of Riddiough.

"I don't go to him for dress sense."

Fashion aside, the 2011 season will be as unpredictable as any before, but one thing for now remains certain and that is Richard Nuttall and Simon Riddiough leading the Pride into battle.

Richard Nuttall recruited women's head soccer coach Simon Riddiough to Hofstra in 1990 where he has been ever since. (The Chronicle File Photo)

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