Dean Richards really is a man with three faces.  A professional rugby referee, a Deputy Head teacher at Hampton Preparatory School and also a family man, - and he seems to manage all three adeptly!

Dean began teaching in 1993 and 25 years on is currently Deputy Head, shortly to take up a Headship in Maidenhead.  Dean commented that he ‘possibly drifted into it (teaching) a little as both my parents were teachers, and because I enjoyed History.’  However, having experienced ‘Mr Richards’ teaching first hand, I can happily confirm he has a natural ability to inspire and captivate young minds and transport them back in time.   So, whether he ‘drifted into it’ or not, the profession is better off with him as part of it.   

Dean played rugby from an early age and made it close to the England U21’s but he modestly explained, that other players ‘were far more aggressive, physical and faster than I was.’  Therefore, having friends who were already refereeing, it seemed a logical step to take on a second job as a referee.  For someone who loved his sport so much, refereeing was an outlet to continue his active lifestyle whilst still being able to meet the commitments required by teaching. 

Dean’s refereeing career has already spanned over 90 Premiership appearances, covering some hugely high profile games.   He has refereed the Varsity Game, the Army and Navy game in front of a crowd of 80,000, and possibly holds the Twickenham record for the fastest sending off in a Premiership match, during the double-header between Harlequins and Wasps in 2010, after a staggering 40 seconds!  However, when asked what is most important in his refereeing career, Dean simply states ‘having self-respect and having respect from my peer group, both players and referees’.

Despite the long journeys to and from matches, the intensive preparation and individual reviews of each game he referees, he still manages to meet his teaching deadlines of grade cards, parents evenings and even simply marking homework.  This success in time management is in no small part thanks to the support of his family.  He acknowledges that his commitments place a lot of pressure on his wife, especially when he’s travelling, and is clearly very appreciative.  Dean summarised that ‘It (rugby) was a part of me when I met my wife, and it still is now.  I am very grateful for her tolerance to let me continue!’  When asked whether his children are destined to follow him into either teaching or sport, he tells me he would be happy with whatever they do as long as they are ‘decent people’.  Though he clearly enjoys the ‘critiques’ his son sends at halftime when he is refereeing!

So, Hampton’s loss is soon to be Maidenhead’s gain in the teaching arena, but we can hopefully still look forward to seeing Dean command the rugby pitches, - and let’s hope he doesn’t have cause to beat his 40 seconds record!