SOUTHINGTON — Longtime Windham High School Varsity Wrestling Coach Patrick Risley and former E.O. Smith High School Boys Varsity Basketball Coach Ron Pires were honored for their decades of success by being inducted into the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA) Hall of Fame at the induction ceremony on May 11 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.
At the hall of fame induction ceremony, Risley was surrounded by his past and present wrestlers, former coaches as well as his family.
“I believe there were close to 80 people in attendance,” he said. “We filled the room. We let them know what Windham was all about.”
Risley said that he decided to become a wrestling coach, as he has always loved sports and wanted to continue with wrestling after his playing career at Central Connecticut State University was over.
Risley is in his 23rd year coaching varsity wrestling at Windham High School and coached for five years at Plainville High School. He has a record of 525-176-7 for a .742 winning percentage.
Risley led Windham to seven Class S State Championships, including four consecutive from 2013-2016.
Risley’s teams produced two State Open, six Class S runner-up finishes and 14 league championships in the Eastern Connecticut Conference.
He was named National High School Athletic Coaches Association Region 1 Wrestling Coach of the Year in 2019, a finalist for the award in 2006 and 2013 and CHSCA Wrestling Coach of the Year seven times.
Risley has served as a member of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Wrestling Committee for 24 years and as chairman for 21 years. He was inducted into the New England Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Risley said he was honored to be inducted into the CHSCA Hall of Fame.
“For all of the student-athletes and coaches I’ve worked with, they were a huge part of this award,” Risley said. “I’m just honored and glad to be part of Windham High School and part of the athletic programming.”
When Ron Pires interviewed to be the head coach of the E.O. Smith boys varsity basketball team, the school was looking for someone to turn the program around.
“We’ve been beaten by 20-30 points every game and we want somebody to change the program,” Pires said he was told in his interview. “I said, if you’re looking for someone to change your program, I can do that for you. I can make E.O. Smith a basketball power.”
And turn the program around he did.
Pires coached boys basketball at E.O. Smith for 43 years and led the program to a record of 591-378 for a .608 winning percentage and two state-runner up finishes in 1993 and 1994.
Pires’ teams produced 12 league championships in the North Central Connecticut Conference and six conference tournament championships.
Pires was named CHSCA Boys Basketball Coach of the Year in 2015 and was inducted into the E.O. Smith Foundation Hall of Fame.
This past season was Pires’ last as head coach of the Panthers.
He said his time coaching the Panthers was a great experience.
“When I took the job, I was home,” he said.
Prior to coaching, Pires shined on the basketball court en route to being inducted into the Eastern Connecticut State University Athletics Hall of Fame. He is still a top-10 all-time scorer in program history, having played there from 1967-1971.
At the induction ceremony on May 11, Risley and Pires were presented with Hall of Fame rings and plaques commemorating their careers. Both will also have their plaques displayed at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.
Founded in 1951, the CHSCA supports its member coaches and their student-athletes by offering ongoing educational opportunities, recognizing outstanding coaching achievements and providing general consultation and advice to its members.