Six months ago, Bob Rivard stepped aside after a 23-year stint coaching baseball at Hoosac Valley. He was certainly a roaring success in Cheshire, and by the time February rolls around, Rivard will be a Hall of Famer.
The former Hoosac baseball coach is one of four high school coaches who will join the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame in ceremonies the weekend of Jan. 29.
Rivard admitted he was surprised to earn admission so quickly, and he quickly deflected credit to the people who helped him the most.
"You don't go anywhere if you don't have the kids," said Rivard. "I was blessed with a lot of good talent and very few problems."
Rivard and the rest of the Class of 2016 will gather at the DoubleTree Hotel in Westborough Jan. 29 and 30 for the induction festivities. The induction dinner will take place on Saturday, Jan. 30, at 6 p.m.
Tickets are available by going to the MBCA web site.
Rivard is the ninth Berkshire County high school baseball coach inducted. The most recent was now-retired Pittsfield coach Bob Moynihan in 2007. The first coach inducted was Pittsfield's Art Fox in 1973.
The former Hoosac coach is the second North Berkshire inductee as Drury's Tom McGrath was inducted in 1993.
Joining Rivard in the Class of 2016 is Dwayne Follette of Plymouth North, Steve Frecker of Malden Catholic and Richard Gifford of Avon.
"It's quite a group," said Rivard. "Just to get nominated and put in a group with those people" is an honor.
Rivard won 279 games in his 23-year career at Hoosac. The Hurricanes have three Western Massachusetts baseball championship banners hanging in their gym that were won by Rivard's teams — 2001, 2006 and 2008. He also had a team lose to Drury in the Western Mass. Division II final in 1999 and to eventual D-II state champion Athol in 2004.
"We had quite a run there," said Rivard.
Since 2000, there were seven Berkshire County teams winning what were Western Mass. D-II titles — before the division adjustments. Rivard's Hoosac team had the most, with Drury second with two. Wahconah and Mount Greylock had the others.
Of his three Western Mass. champions, Rivard said he has warm feelings for the 2001 and the 2006 teams.
In 2001, Rivard's Hoosac team was a No. 10 seed and won a Western Mass. title by beating Palmer, Drury, Monument Mountain and Mount Greylock. That title ended a 18-year drought.
The Hurricanes were the top seeds in 2006, but lost starters Brandon Crouse and Casey Koperniak and beat Mohawk, Southwick and Monument to claim the crown.
"We played shorthanded and we still won 20" games, said Rivard.
Rivard credits Hall-of-Fame coaches like Moynihan, Tom McGrath and Fran Reardon for helping push the Hurricanes.
"You don't get there unless you play tough games," Rivard said, referring to his having to get through Berkshire County every year battle-tested for the tournament. "Overall, we achieved a lot more than people thought we would."