ROCKINGHAM — When Mike Castellano took over the program at Middle Creek, he wasn’t 100 percent sure about one of the assistants.
Everyone told Castellano if he was going to keep any of the assistants from the previous staff, the quiet, reserved coach was his guy.
Castellano heeded that advice and kept Steve Burdeau on board. After getting to know the former Southwest Onslow offensive and defensive lineman, Castellano did more than just keep Burdeau around, he promoted him to offensive coordinator.
In their three years at Middle Creek, the duo posted a 32-8 record. The Mustangs advanced to the state 4AA playoffs in all three seasons, reaching the East Region final in 2013.
“He does a great job and cares about the program,” Castellano said. “He’s married to football. When I first got to Middle Creek I thought I was going to have to be the offensive coordinator, but after talking to him, I was able to be the defensive coordinator and focus on that.”
Burdeau had been mentioned as a possible candidate to replace Castellano at Middle Creek. Burdeau said he is happy to continue working with Castellano.
“I would much rather be an assistant on a great staff, than just be a head coach to say I was one,” Burdeau said. “I have a lot of respect for Coach C and the tradition Richmond has.”
Castellano is also pleased to be able to add Burdeau to his staff at Richmond. He believes Burdeau is one of the best offensive coordinators because of his ability to get his unit ready for the opposition as well as being able to make in-game changes.
“His offense is very well-prepared and very organized,” Castellano said. “He takes advantage of what the defense will give and also understands what they are trying to take away. He’s good at making adjustments.”
The newest member of the Richmond staff said making those in-game tweaks is one of his strengths. Burdeau said things are constantly changing and coaches need to be ready to alter strategies “on the fly.”
Burdeau said there are three parts to his offense — the run game, the pass game and the screen game.
“You may go in with a game plan, but you have to adjust and change,” Burdeau said. “If something isn’t working, you have to find something that is.”
Burdeau, who played on Southwest Onslow’s 2A championship teams in 2003 and 2004 under coach Phil Padgett, said he jumped at the opportunity to join one of the top programs in the state. He added Southwest Onslow is similar to Richmond but on a smaller scale.
“I had a chance to watch one of the spring practices and I was impressed with the kids, the coaches and the support of the community,” Burdeau said. “It’s a traditional powerhouse.”
Adding Burdeau to the Richmond staff will not be Castellano’s only hire before the team opens its season on Aug. 21 against Rocky River.
Longtime assistant coaches Mike Kesler and Jason Norton will not return next season. Mike James, who also served as Richmond’s boys tennis coach, accepted a position at Crest under former Scotland player and coach Will Clark.
Kesler said he was offered a position to remain on the staff, but that “things just didn’t work out.”
Norton said he elected to step away to spend more time with his family. Norton plans to watch his sons Alex and Kevin play football this fall. Alex is at the Air Force Academy and Kevin will be a freshman at Catawba.
Richmond is still without a defensive coordinator at this time after Mark Arthur resigned to accept a position with former Scotland and Crest coach Mark Barnes at Sumter (S.C.).
Reach managing editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 and follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.