The Woodstock Academy names new boys prep basketball head coach

Posted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 4/30/2019

 

The Woodstock Academy has named Jacque Rivera as its new boys prep basketball head coach

 

 The Woodstock Academy names new boys prep basketball head coach

 

Excited and humbled is how Jacque Rivera described his emotions after learning that he was the choice to be the next head coach of The Woodstock Academy prep boys basketball program.

Rivera will replace Tony Bergeron at the helm of the Centaurs.

Bergeron stepped aside recently to become an assistant coach with the University of Massachusetts Men’s basketball program.

Rivera has been the head coach of the prep basketball program at the MacDuffie School in Granby, Mass. for the last five years.

He has taken MacDuffie to the New England Prep School Athletic Council AA postseason tournament in three of those seasons.

“We’ve had some really good kids. We have guys heading off to UConn (James Bouknight from the 2018-19 team), Ismael (Massoud) is going to Wake Forest. Omari Spellman (now with the Atlanta Hawks) played for me,” Rivera said. “I don’t keep track of my personal record, I care more about the success of my players.”

The 31-year-old Rivera grew up in the Bronx, N.Y. and played for Bergeron in high school at Wings Academy. He moved on to Elms College in Chicopee, MA. where he earned his bachelor’s degree in social work and his Master’s degree in education. His first head coaching job was at Dean Vocational Technical School in Holyoke, MA.

“He’s an outstanding guy. A very passionate coach and person,” said Woodstock Academy Sean Saucier of Rivera. “I think he will be a great fit here. He’s a community-oriented, family guy. We’re very excited to have him.”

Saucier said Rivera’s close ties to Bergeron will help with the program’s transition.

Rivera understands the task ahead of him, comparing it to the person who will eventually succeed Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski.

“I’m following a guy who has had 20 years of success and will continue to have success in college. Everywhere he has been, he has been successful. It’s big shoes to fill. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Coach Bergeron who took me under his wing when I was playing for him,” Rivera said. “I think I have some of the same qualities that he has. I’ve learned some things myself along the way. Hopefully, I’m just going to build on the success he had.”

Bergeron guided the Centaurs to a 73-7 record in their first two seasons as a prep program, winning the Power 5 Conference title in both years and earning two invitations to the National Prep Championship tournament at Connecticut College.

“We had the vision of creating a program that was one of the best in the country and provided great opportunity to student-athletes who were involved in getting into college. In the two years that Tony was here, he far exceeded what our expectations were,” Woodstock Academy head of school Chris Sandford said. “While we’re sorry to see him go, we are honored and happy for him and his family that he has accepted this promotion, essentially, to UMass.”

Rivera said Bergeron has already recruited some very good athletes for the Centaurs next season. His job will be to make sure they end up at The Academy in the fall.

“I really believe the guys we have will fit in our community, going to fit in what we’re asking them to do as people and they will do what we ask them to do athletically. I think we have some really good guys who will be excited to be a part of Centaur Nation as a whole and we have some kids that people will be impressed with,” Rivera said.

Rivera will be the head coach of the program and The Woodstock Academy Gold team. Denzel Washington, who has worked as an assistant with the program for its first two years, will be the head coach of The Woodstock Academy Blue team. Washington takes over for Nick DeFeo who left recently to begin a similar prep program at Notre Dame-West Haven High School.