Former Blue Springs South baseball coach Richard Wood headed to the MHSBCA Hall of Fame
The only thing better than being inducted into the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame is getting the news of that honor from two of your best friends.
Just ask Richard Wood, the latest inductee who will join an elite group of prep baseball coaches at noon Saturday in Jefferson City.
"I was actually having dinner with Coach (Brad) Mayfield and Coach (Ben) Baier and they told me I'd been inducted," said Wood, who started the baseball program at Blue Springs South High School after serving as an assistant at Blue Springs High School under Mayfield, who is already a member of the Hall of Fame.
"When they told me, I really couldn't believe it. That's a great honor, especially when it comes from your peers."
Wood had a 229-149 record at South, where Baier, the current head coach, was his assistant until Wood retired in 2009.
"With Richard, it's not about wins and losses," Baier said, "it's about honoring a man who is so deserving because he is such a genuine individual who cared more about his players than anything else. He wanted to help create young men who would be great husbands and fathers and important people in their community.
"I can't wait to go to the banquet on Saturday and see Richard get honored."
Wood laughs as he talks about the list of fellow inductees.
"Let's see, I'd look at the list and see a coach who went to the final four five times – and I never made it once, and a coach who beat me here, and another one who beat me there. I mean, there are some great coaches in there and it's such an amazing honor to join them," he said.
When asked about memorable moments over his coaching career, he said, "There are just so many – so many teams, so many players, so many big wins and some tough losses. I remember all of them.
"But I do remember our first win at South. It was in the Olathe tournament. We lost our first game, and then won our second and I remember a player on the team we beat saying, 'We just lost to a team that is playing baseball for the first time.’ I thought that was kind of funny."