Teams honor Woodstock's Theriault
Former Woodstock High School coach and teacher John Theriault was honored by Woodstock and Woodstock North high schools May 2 before the varsity baseball game between the two schools at Road Ranger Stadium in Loves Park. Theriault threw out the ceremonial first pitch and was presented with a home plate from WHS and a framed jersey from WNHS, each signed by their respective teams and both with his number 14 on them. The number 14 will be retired at Woodstock High School.
Theriault began working at WHS in 1978. He coached in the baseball program for 30 years — eight years as head sophomore coach, 15 years as varsity assistant and seven years as
varsity head coach. During that time, the Blue Streaks had 448 wins, five Fox Valley Conference titles, three regional championships, one sectional championship and placed third in state in 1992. In 2009, he was named Assistant Baseball Coach of the Year by the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association, and earlier this year he was placed in the Woodstock High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
“It’s very humbling what they are doing,” Theriault said. “It’s a special thing they are doing, and I’m honored and speechless.”
Theriault recently battled prostate cancer and has been given a clear diagnosis. Before the game he was presented with a check for $2,029 – funds raised from ticket sales for the game – which will be donated to Centegra Sage Cancer Center.
“John taught more than just baseball,” said WNHS head baseball coach Ian Rago, who played for Theriault in high school. “You have to honor people that do so much for others and never ask for anything. He’s always been there for us. It’s time to be there for him.”
“John’s a tremendous guy first and foremost,” said WHS head baseball coach John Oliveira who coached with Theriault. “On top of that, he is a great baseball coach. When I came in, he helped to stabilize the situation. He’s a great guy to ask questions about baseball and life.”
WHS athletic director Glen Wilson had the honor of playing for and coaching with Theriault.
“You could very much sense his passion to see you and the team succeed,” Wilson said. “We felt that drive to get better.”
Wilson noted he once had three errors in an inning and said Theriault handled it perfectly.
“When things would go wrong, he would say something encouraging and constructive,” Wilson said.
At WHS, Theriault also spent 24 years coaching in the WHS football program, and he coached girls basketball, boys basketball and girls tennis. He served as athletic director for one year and assistant athletic director for four years.
Looking back over his 30 years of coaching baseball, Theriault said every year was special.
“I worked with great kids and parents for 30-plus years,” Theriault said. “Finishing third in state in 1997 was special. I don’t want to sound cliché, but every year was special. There were different kids and different challenges every year.”
WNHS won the May 2 game by a score of 4-2.