Sports’ Photographer Richard Spraggens to Retire at End of School Year

Richard+Spraggins+taking+photos+at+a+football+game

Caedmon Boyd

Richard Spraggins taking photos at a football game

Most know him for taking photos at football, volleyball and basketball games, but on Sept. 24, Azle alum Richard Spraggens, Azle’s unofficial sports photographer, announced his retirement for the end of this year. There is so much more to our beloved sports photographer than most know.

“Going way back, both my grandad and my dad shot film for Boswell High School, so I’ve kind of been around sports coverage my whole life,” Spraggens said. “When I was little my dad would show me all his old cameras and tell me stories from his days behind the lens.”

Spraggwns will cover the remainder of the 2022-2023 school year before retiring. He said he plans on buying a house early next year as well as taking a new position in his day job that comes with a lot of stress. These new developments led him to make the decision to retire this year.

He got his start at taking sports photography in high school through photojournalism and journalism classes.

“Honestly, at the time, I couldn’t stand sports, didn’t like athletes, so I wasn’t excited at all for it,” Spraggens said. “Begrudgingly, I went to the game and got my first ‘sports photo,’ one of the girls making a layup. It wasn’t a good photo at all but I loved the action of it. From then on, I was all in. So, I became the guy with a camera at school and started covering every game I could.”

Spraggens has attended roughly 125 varsity football games and has taken photos as a side-job for the high school for 10 years.

“After I graduated [in 2013], I didn’t go to college and needed something to do on Fridays,” he said. “One of my friends who was a senior that year had asked if I could help them with a football game so I called my old yearbook teacher, Chelse Westbrook, and she got me a sideline pass for the year. After the game, I posted something like 4 photos on Facebook and the next day got a message from a parent of one of the kids in the photos and they asked me to cover the game? next week for $20. The rest is history.”

“It’s sad to see him go, but I know that he has other things he needs to work on, that are more important,” senior Phoebe Mosley said. “So, it’s understandable but a little bit sad because he has been here so long and does so much for the school.”

Photos taken by Spraggens can be purchased at www.azlesportsphotography.com. Digital downloads start from $5 to $20 depending on size.

“Richard captures all the memories in the student section and it really helps keep the memories,” senior Harleigh Phillips said. “Whenever he posts, you can go and share those memories with people throughout the school.”

While Richard Spraggens will retire at the end of the year, the photos will have a lasting impact and capture the spirit of the high school.

“I am definitely sad. Not for me, but for the younger classes,” Mosley said. “This is our last year anyways and his last year, so it doesn’t really affect me, but I feel bad for juniors and the rest of the school because I don’t know if they are going to have a photographer anymore and he has done so much for the school.”