BOSTON -- Paul Richardson of Crawford Middle School in Lexington, Ky., was named the Red Sox All-Star Teacher Wednesday when Major League Baseball, Target and PEOPLE announced the campaign's 30 winners, one for each club.
The program is intended to honor current and retired teachers who have made an impact on their communities and students. The winners will be included in All-Star Week activities, and will be recognized prior to the MLB All-Star Game on July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Richardson played catcher and the outfield at Kentucky Wesleyan from 2002-05. He holds the Division II record for being hit by the most pitches in a single season (30) and ranks fifth on the all-time list (70). He had aspirations of playing professional baseball at some level, but a knee injury following his junior year ended his career.
After coaching at Lafeyette High School in Lexington for four years, Richardson stepped down to coach his two sons in baseball as they got old enough to play.
"Baseball has been the love of my life," he said. "This honor is special because it's the two things I really love. Baseball and teaching."
Richardson has been at Crawford Middle School for the last three years and has most recently been a math special education teacher. He coaches the Crawford math and academic teams. He was born in Boston before being adopted and moving to Indianapolis as a child. He still has family in the Boston area and is a lifelong Red Sox fan.
Richardson was selected from a pool of 90 finalists after fans cast their votes at AllStarTeachers.com. Target's "PEOPLE All-Star Teachers" is just one part of Target, MLB and PEOPLE's effort to celebrate teachers and raise awareness about the importance of education this baseball season.
Even after being selected, Richardson doesn't know who nominated him for the award.
"When I was nominated, it kind of floored me," Richardson said. "I don't think I deserve credit for a lot of things, but it was nice to see someone noticed what I'm doing."
Richardson is currently on vacation in Miami and will spend just a day at home before he heads to Minneapolis for All-Star Week.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Stephen Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.