Rivera was a popular coach and teacher during his tenure at Burroughs. Those who knew him have fond memories of the strapping 6-foot-5, 260-pound man.
George Akopyan was an assistant coach under Rivera for two seasons at Burroughs. Akopyan said Rivera was not only a fine coach, but a great person, as well.
"I found out the news about Rey when one of our former players called me on the phone crying after finding out about his death," Akopyan said. "I still can't believe it.
"I learned so much about water polo because of Ray. He had the experience playing big-time water polo, and I'm just grateful I was able to learn from him.
"We became pretty good friends when I was at Burroughs. We would hang out, go places and we even went to a concert together."
Akopyan said Rivera also had a profound influence on the athletes who played for him.
"I remember the players would sprint to the side of the pool during timeouts just to listen to what Rey had to say." He said. "The kids really responded to him because they knew he knew what he was talking about.
"There are a lot of people who are really going to miss him."
Rivera enjoyed a fine career in water polo as a player and coach. He was currently an assistant men's coach at John Hopkins University.
Rivera was on a John Hopkins coaching staff that guided the Blue Jays to a winning season last year. Sophomore Sean McCreery was named the 2005 American Water Polo Coaches Assn. Division III Player of the Year and head Coach Ted Bresnahan was chosen as the Coach of the Year.
The Blue Jays ended their season ranked first in the Collegiate Water Polo Assn. Division III poll with a 24-6 record and an undefeated mark against Division III teams.