Good things come to those who wait.
Former Vidalia High baseball coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir has been having to wait a year for something very good.
On May 20, 2020, Hoffpaur received a call that he was being inducted into the Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Hoffpauir was set to be inducted last January, but COVID postponed the ceremony.
The induction is now scheduled for January 14 in Lafayette.
“Being named is enough in itself,” said Hoffpauir, who now resides in Hattiesburg. “It’s a sign of the times.”
Hoffpauir will be joined by other 2020 inductees Larry Schneider of Rummel, Larry Stegall of Downsville, John Altobello of De La Salle, Bob Lemons of St. Amant former Tulane coach Rick Jones and former Southeastern Louisiana coach Jay Artigues.
The 2021 class of high school coaches Mel Didier, Burke Broussard, Rick Mauldin, Wayne Johnson, Jimmy Aulds and college coaches Paul Maineri, Roger Cador and Joe Brockhoff will also be inducted on January 14.
“What I like about this is that it is voted on by your peers, that’s what matters to me,” said Hoffpauir, who had a 478-207 record at Vidalia High coaching from 1979 to 2010.
Hoffpauir, who had only five losing seasons out of 32, actually coached an East All-Star Team against Lemons’ West team.
Hoffpauir was told of the honor by LBCA Executive Director Tim O’Neal.
“I am very humbled,” Hoffpauir said. “Very rarely am I at a loss for words, but I was definitely speechless when I was informed of this.”
“We made four trips to the State Tournament and that was before everything was split,” said Hoffpauir, who led Vidalia to the Class 2A State Championship in 1996.
Vidalia made the semifinals in 2002, losing out to Christian Life 9-7. The Vikings fell to St. Frederick in the 2003 semifinals, the only loss the Vikings suffered that season.
No public school had won the Class 2A state title since Vidalia in 1996.
“I always wonder about how it would have been split back then,” Hoffpauir said. “We would have made many more runs. We were the last public school standing a lot of years.”
Hoffpauir brought back the Vidalia High baseball program in 1979.
His first game was a 22-21 win over Tallulah.
Hoffpauir picked up win No. 100 on March 28. 1991 in a 2-1 win over Cathedral.
No. 200 came six years later in a 24-4 win over Northwood.
Hoffpauir taught American History at Vidalia High.
“I really loved teaching,” he said.
Hoffpauir had three Players of the Year in the state of Louisiana in sons Josh and Jarrett Hoffpauir and Barry Bowden.
“All three signed pro contracts,” Hoffpauir said.
Hoffpauir, who was named Class 2A Coach of the Year twice, has had 40 players sign with colleges.
Hoffpauir said one person deserves a place in the Hall of Fame, as well.
“My wife (Pam Hoffpauir) was my anchor through all the years,” Hoffpauir said. “I can’t count the number of times she collected money or worked tournaments. And I enjoyed coaching our sons. But in a sense very kid who played for me was considered family.”
And while all the wins were memorable, Hoffpauir admitted some rated higher than others.
“The highlight of my career was beating teams we weren’t supposed to beat,” he said.