Recorder: "Greenfield softball coach John Hickey wins MIAA Softball Coach of the Year"

Greenfield Public Schools in the News

Greenfield softball coach John Hickey wins MIAA Softball Coach of the Year

By THOMAS JOHNSTON

Staff Writer

Published: 11/29/2022 6:26:09 PM

Modified: 11/29/2022 6:23:45 PM

It’s been a successful couple years coaching the Greenfield softball team for John Hickey.

Hickey, who also coached girls basketball and is an assistant with the football team for the Green Wave, took over the softball program in 2021 and made an immediate impact by bringing Greenfield to the Western Mass. Div. 2 championship game.

The program took another step forward this past spring. Playing a tough schedule and in a league that sent four teams to the semifinals in the MIAA state tournament, the Green Wave finished with a 12-6 record.

It was in the postseason when Greenfield really found its groove. The Green Wave went on to lift the Western Mass. Class C title with a 7-0 victory over Franklin Tech and in the MIAA Div. 5 state tournament, Greenfield picked up wins over Ware (24-1), Maynard (3-2), Hopedale (15-0) and Frontier (11-2) to secure a spot in the Div. 5 state championship game.

Taking on West Boylston in the finals, the Green Wave dug themselves out of an early 2-0 hole to pull away with a 6-2 victory, the first state championship in program history. For those accomplishments, Hickey was named 2021-2022 MIAA Coach of the Year Award for the sport of softball, with the announcement coming this fall.

“I was really surprised and humbled when I found out,” Hickey said. “I was shocked. I appreciate the support of the administration here and for our athletic director, Mike Kuchieski, for building me a really good schedule to make this happen. We had a competitive schedule which really helped us out during the postseason.”

The MIAA sent out an email to let Hickey know he had won, with the banquet scheduled for Dec. 7 in Milford.

“Your selection was based upon excellence of character, impact upon students and community and coaching credentials,” the MIAA’s email wrote. “Please accept our sincere appreciation for the impact that you have had on students by helping them develop skills and values necessary for success in their lives.”

Hickey thanked his players for helping him take home the award, crediting them for playing as a team and making his life easy as a coach. He also thanked everyone surrounding the program for making it a successful spring both on and off the field.

“I had great leadership with our two captains Kaitlin Lavoine and Kelsey Richardson,” Hickey said. “The team really gelled and got along well. There were no issues at all in terms of camaraderie and team work. The girls worked together and accepted their roles. It was a really enjoyable season with those girls.

“I also want to thank all the parents for being so supportive,” Hickey added. “They were a joy to work with as well. I had Andy Rupp with me who’s an awesome assistant. He was a big part of our success and I couldn’t have done it without him. All around it was a great season.”

While Hickey has won district coaching awards during his time coaching basketball, this is the first statewide coaching award he’s been given, making it all the more meaningful.

“I’ve had a few coach of the year awards for basketball, and those were great, but they weren’t statewide,” Hickey said. “This being a statewide thing is something I’m humbled about and very appreciative of. There’s a lot of great coaches out there. I don’t claim to be the best softball coach or the best basketball coach. I just try to do my best, make it fun for the girls, be as fair as possible, give everyone the same opportunity and put people in a position to be successful.”

Hickey won’t be coaching the girls basketball team this winter at Greenfield but he’ll be back in the dugout this spring, bringing back a team that will be looking to make another run at a state title.

“I’m looking forward to running it back,” Hickey said. “We’re surely going to miss Kelsey and Kaitlin. Those are two good bats but we have a lot of younger kids returning. It should be another exciting year.”