05/14/2012 11:42 EDT | Updated 07/14/2012 05:12 EDT

Blue Jackets keeping Todd Richards as head coach

The Columbus Blue Jackets removed the interim tag from head coach Todd Richards on Monday.

Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson made the announcement on Monday.

Richards, 45, took over from Scott Arniel after Columbus endured a horrendous first half of the season. The Jackets went 18-21-2 under Richards.

"Todd had a three-month interview," Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson said at a press conference Monday. "He passed it with flying colours."

Richards spent two seasons as head coach of the Minnesota between 2009-11, with the Wild posting a 77-71-16 record.

Prior to that, Richards was an assistant with San Jose and coached for several years in the American Hockey League, leading Milwaukee to the Calder Cup in 2004.

Columbus made a big splash with signings of Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski. The latter started the season serving a lengthy suspension while the former was never happy in Ohio's only NHL city, and was subsequently shipped to Los Angeles.

The Blue Jackets started 11-25-5 record under Arniel, and Richards admitted the task was daunting.

"We started to build up that trust," said Richards. "We started to play more as a group, started to play more as a team. That's why I'm excited. Despite losing guys to trade or injuries — we had kind of a makeshift group — we had some young guys and a lot of guys up from the American League and we were finding ways to compete and win games."