Dan Rives can honestly say he truly enjoys his job or better yet two jobs. Rives, a native of Cleveland, is currently the assistant baseball coach at Hinds Community College as well as the school’s sports information director.
The 31-year-old is experiencing the ultimate joy as his baseball team is currently in hot pursuit of a Division II National Championship competing in the NJCAA World Series in Enid, Okla.
Every night after each game, Rives has had to take off his coaching hat and put on his SID hat to send out the information from each game. When Hinds beat Madison College 8-7 in 13 innings, Rives worked into the early morning hours sending out releases and updating the website.
Rives said being the sports information director as well as a coach has been quite the juggling act.
“It’s tough but it’s fun,” Rives said by phone Thursday morning. “I really enjoy that aspect of it. I really enjoy that side of things. Last night, unfortunately, it’s tough because I didn’t get to bed until 3 a.m. because I’m trying to send press releases and do all those different things that go along with being the SID. It’s almost like two full time jobs honestly.
“I usually get to the office every morning at about eight o’clock and work until about one and then head down to the baseball field real quick. We get our team set up for practice and then go. From the time I arrive, it’s pretty much full go for me. It’s busy but it’s fun to.”
Rives said being the SID has given him the chance to appreciate every sport at Hinds.
“I love covering our sports,” Rives said. “We have a very successful athletics program. Seeing it from that side and knowing what goes into it, I think our coaches appreciate it. I know when they really don’t want to talk. I kind of know how to feel them out as far as when to get them coverage and when not to get them coverage.”
Rives is a former Cleveland High School standout that played a key role in the Wildcats winning the 4A State Baseball Championship in 2000. He also played college ball at Mississippi Delta Community College, Delta State University and Mississippi College. He has been working at Hinds for eight years.
One of the biggest pleasures for Rives this year is to having the chance to coach another former Cleveland High standout, Marshall Boggs. Boggs has made a big impact for the Eagles in his freshman year.
Rives, who has known Boggs’ family for most of his life, has really enjoyed coaching him in college.
“It’s been really neat to get to a chance to coach him and see how much success he’s had here,” Rives said. “That’s really sparked a lot of interest from people not only around the Cleveland area but the Delta in general. People know Marshall. He had a heck of a high school career. He played multiple sports and was successful on every level. He’s been one of our main cogs at first base, and he’s hit in the middle of our line-up and has really produced for us. That’s really sparked a lot of interest.”
Boggs isn’t the only athlete from the area that has shined at Hinds in athletics. Former Broad Street High School standout and Shelby native Jermale Mosby recently completed his sophomore season on the men’s track team at Hinds. Former East Side High School standouts Khiry Lucas and Lachristopher Lee, former Shaw High School star Christopher Harthone and former Ray Brooks standout Joshua Tyler each helped the football team go 7-3 and earn a spot in the Brazos Valley Bowl.
Rives said the success of these athletes reminds him of just how special the Delta area is to him.
“I probably talk too much about the Delta and my time in Cleveland,” Rives said. “They probably get sick of hearing about it, but Cleveland and the Delta hold a very near and dear place in my heart. My wife (Andrea) is from Indianola, and we go back all the time. We really enjoy that part of the country and that part of the state.
“A lot of young men and young ladies from the Delta have come in and have really done well at Hinds. They really seem like they’ve enjoyed their time at Hinds. That gives me a personal since of pride.”
Rives said this World Series run for the baseball team has been special and everyone has really enjoyed following the team.
“It’s been really neat to see all the people that I haven’t heard from in years, being very interested in us and what we’re doing here,” Rives said. “It’s been neat to hear from so many people and see how much coverage we’re getting on this deal. It’s been pretty fun so far.”
Rives said the Cleveland High School team 2000 and the Hinds Community College team of this year had to overcome some of the same types of obstacles.
“That 2000 team, we started off 0-3 and won 24 games in a row,” Rives said. “Here at Hinds, we started off 4-8 and we’ve gotten to this point where we’re 39-19. I do see a lot of similarities with the resiliency. That Cleveland High team had a lot of determination. We got to where at the end of the season, it didn’t matter who we faced. That’s kind of how our mindset is. The NJCAA South, which is very tough with Jones, Pearl River and East Central, we felt like that has prepared us to this point.”
Rives has always gotten a big thrill from competing. He was a strong tough competitor when he played and has kept his drive to win as a coach.
The success has been gratifying, not for Rives, but the rest of the coaches and players as well.
Rives explained that being a coach is a different than being a player.
“As a player, you feel like you have more control,” Rives said. “With my position playing shortstop on that 2000 team and being one of the main pitchers there, I felt like I could control things a little better there.
“As a coach, you can’t control it. You can control the practice and all the things that get them to that point, but once it’s game time they’re the ones making the decisions and the plays on the field. Sometimes, that’s a little tough. Maybe that’s why my hair has gotten gray,” Rives added with a chuckle.
Rives was also quick to point out that coaching with Hinds head coach Sam Temple has been a valuable learning experience.
“Sam Temple has done a terrific job in getting that program back in where it needed to be,” Rives said. “He brought me along at a young age. I had just finished up there at MC. I was going to be a graduate assistant at MC, and he brought me along at Hinds. He immediately put a lot of faith in me from coaching third base to handling the bulk of the recruiting to all of the things I still do now. He gave all that to me at age 23. He put a lot of trust in me and that gave me confidence right from the get-go.”
Another thing about the World Series he has enjoyed is seeing his parents, Steve and Sue Rives, make it to Oklahoma. Steve is best known for his 20-year tenure as head coach of DSU’s men’s basketball team. He is currently a realtor in Clinton.
Rives said his parents have been great.
“They wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Rives said. “As soon as we won the regional, they’re immediately calling and trying to find hotels and trying to see how much a flight would cost to get out here. They ended up driving out. They are living and dying Hinds baseball. It’s good to get that prospective from my dad. He sees things from a coaching prospective. Even though he was in basketball for so long, he has a great knowledge of the game of baseball. To get little tidbits here and there from him has been really neat. Him and my mom wouldn’t miss this stuff for the world.”
Rives said a national championship would be a fitting way for the season to end.
“You get into these things to impact lives of young men and help them succeed on and off the field,” Rives said. “But, if you’re going to work as hard as we feel like we do, you want to be able to have success in the end. We don’t put in the time, the effort and the hours to be mediocre. We feel like we’ve done everything we can to try and put our players in a position to be successful. A championship would be great, and there are a lot of people pulling for us to do that.”
Rives also credited a lot of his success to the many baseball coaches he came in contact with growing up.
The NJCAA World Series is down to three teams. Hinds will play Madison in an elimination game tonight at 7 p.m. The winner will play Mesa for the Division II National Championship on Saturday. Hinds, now 39-20, lost to Mesa 12-0 Thursday. Boggs had the only hit for Hinds.