Inductees grateful for Hall honor

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NAUGATUCK — The stars were out as the Naugatuck Hall of Fame inducted its 47th class.

Past Naugatuck sports stars filled the reception room at the Naugatuck Portuguese Club for the Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony on Oct. 20, mingling and telling stories of the glory days.

This year’s honorees — Jeanie Cyr, Thomas Doran, Richard Rydzik, Jim McKee, Ron Plasky and Stephen Hiscock — followed in the footsteps of the many stars that went before them. Their induction speeches were filled with modest and appreciative words.

“My father would have been humbled and grateful for this honor,” said Michael Doran, who accepted the honor on behalf of his father who died in 2002.

Thomas Doran began the Naugatuck Adult Baseball Association, creating a team that is now known as the Naugatuck Hackers and coached by his son.

Hiscock, who pitched two years in the Tampa Bay Rays’ minor league system after a stellar high school career, told the crowd he couldn’t have achieved what he did alone.

“It was less about me and more about the people around me who made it happen,” said Hiscock, who singled out his parents for their support every step of the way.

Cyr, who starred on a Naugatuck girls swim team that won four straight Naugatuck Valley League championships in the late 1990s, had without a doubt the most boisterous table of fans cheering her on.

Rydzik, a member of the fabled Naugatuck High baseball team that won 64 games straight, had several of his former teammates in attendance to help him celebrate his induction.

Plasky, who has coached for over 30 years in Naugatuck, spoke about learning the thrill of competition from his brothers Rick and Rob. He reminisced about a time when he intentionally walked Rob with the bases loaded while coaching the Cardinals in the Peter J. Foley Little League, which brought laughter from the oversized crowd.

But it was his praise of McKee — a longtime swim coach at Naugatuck High — that drew the loudest cheers.

“Coach McKee deserves to be on the Mt. Rushmore of Naugatuck coaches,” he said.

McKee will go down as one of the most successful coaches in Naugatuck history. He coached the boys swim team for 42 years before retiring after last season, and is in his 33rd year coaching the girls team.

McKee’s resume includes over 600 wins in his career, 24 NVL titles combined and a state championship. What the coach is most proud of though is the 89 individual state champions he’s coached over the years and being named Connecticut Swim coach of the Year three times during his illustrious career.

McKee spoke about his teams being and doing the outrageous, concluding with a look ahead to this year’s NVL swim championships.

“Looking forward to the girls team doing some damage at this year’s NVL championship,” said McKee, drawing cheers of approval from the crowd.