HARWICH – Adulting, even under the best circumstances, can be challenging, especially when it comes to trying to find a balance between the personal and professional. It is a challenge Pete Richer knows well as he recently had to step down from his position as head coach of Monomoy girls basketball to attend to his landscaping business.
Richer emphasized that the decision to resign did not come easy.
“It's not what I want to do, but what I have to do,” he said. “My business has continued to grow each year that I've been in it and therefore it demands more and more of my time and was making it more difficult to give the 100 percent that's necessary for coaching. I feel that the girls deserve nothing less than 100 percent from their coach. So, with the demands of my business, I was unable to do that moving forward.”
Richer first joined the Sharks in 2015 after former head coach Joe Nickerson retired, and after spending seven years as an official under the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials (IAABO), deepening his love of sports through watching his children compete at Harwich High. Daughter Megan was a top-notch field hockey player, while son Ryan set records as a cross-country runner.
Richer said it was their graduation from high school and subsequent move away to college that inspired him to pursue coaching.
“I got into it was because my children graduated from high school and my wife and I felt a bit of a disconnect with the town,” Richer said. “By coaching, it made us more a part of the town and in touch with what was going on, and most importantly, put us in contact with the girls, which we enjoyed.”
Monomoy, he said, is a school that seems to have it all, which is why he wanted to coach there and why stepping down is difficult.
“It has the right combination of everything. It's not too big. It has great student-athletes, great parents, and great academics,” he said. “I've said all along I don't know why anyone feels the need to go anywhere but Monomoy. Each year we have kids graduate and go to fantastic schools, frequently the Ivy Leagues. I believe it provides everything a student-athlete would be looking for.”
Richer said he's tucked away a wealth of memories during his tenure, noting that his favorite aspect of coaching was practice.
“That's when we had the most fun and when we bonded the most, and where I got to know the girls the best,” he said.
And what are some of his fondest memories with the Sharks?
“Certainly winning the South Shore Small Division League title was a highlight,” he said. “Making tournament four out of five years was a testament to the athletes, and just getting to know each girl as well as I did was an absolute highlight. Just watching each girl get better and better each year and to see them grow athletically and personally was an absolute joy. I enjoyed the five years tremendously and I'm going to miss everything about it, except the boat rides to the islands.”
While Richer said now is the time he must focus on his business, he hasn't ruled out a return to coaching in the future.
“I certainly hope so. I would love to return to the coaching ranks at Monomoy at some time in the future, when the time is right,” he said. “I have no interest in coaching in any other school system than Monomoy, and would absolutely come back in some respect, as an assistant, as a volunteer, or as head coach.”
When the news broke on social media, former player Maddie Leonard wrote, “I will forever be thankful for Coach Richer and my years with him on the Monomoy girls basketball team. He taught me what it meant to be a leader and a captain and so much more than just basketball.”
Richer hopes that former players like Leonard take two things away from their years with him. “Number one, to love the game for the game itself and don't stress about playing in college someday. Just enjoy being a high school athlete, because that in and of itself is special,” he said. “Not every kid makes the team all the time and so enjoy that part of the sport without putting too much pressure on themselves. Number two, I hope they learned what hard work can do to help you achieve your goals.”
Richer also wanted to give a last shoutout, this time to his wife, Susan, who has been on the sidelines of every game.
“Susan, my beautiful wife, supported me every day and would have continued to support me had I decided to stay on board,” he said.
He emphasized once more that it was a decision of necessity, not want.
“Again, this isn't what I wanted to do. It's what I had to do for the sake of the business,” he said. “It is absolutely bittersweet and was an extremely difficult decision, but one that I had to make.”
Richer said he'll likely attend a few home games this season, though in a way that respects Monomoy's next head coach.