Vaught's Views: Sports will miss Ed Rall

July 09, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

For the first time since 1972, Ed Rall may not be coaching a team during the 2004-2005 season.

Rall coached at Boyle County from 1972 to 1987 and was head football coach from 1974 to 1987 before going to Centre College as assistant football coach and head baseball coach. He gave up his football coaching duties five years ago, but he became Centre's sports information director then and has held that job the last five years.

However, a move that has been widely rumored for several weeks finally became official Thursday when Centre College announced it had begun a search for a new head baseball coach and sports information director.

"I love Centre College and I've loved my time working here," Rall said. "My future plans aren't definite at this time, but I truly enjoy working with young people and I hope I'll be able to continue that in some capacity.


"It's been a tough summer. This has really hurt me. I never had a bad evaluation and this has just been an awful, awful thing."

His baseball teams had an overall record of 221-302-1 in his 16 years. His 2001 team won a school record 23 games, and twice (1995 and 1996) he had a baseball player who was the college's valedictorian.

Rall, a 1971 Centre graduate, played both baseball and football for the Colonels and earned all-conference honors in baseball three times.

"Ed has served in a variety of roles and made a number of significant contributions to the college's athletic program, recruiting athletes in both baseball and football who fit the Centre profile," Mike Norris, the college's director of communications, said.

His baseball team suffered through its worst season this year, winning just four games. Centre athletics director Brian Chafin said Rall "felt like it was time to step out of the baseball program" after the season ended.

He apparently hoped to stay at Centre

However, Rall apparently hoped to stay at Centre in another capacity in addition to being sports information director, and many supporters felt he should have been given that chance.

"I would have liked to stayed and worked in another job. I think I could have helped in a lot of ways," Rall said.

However, Centre decided to go in another direction based on Thursday's announcement that it had started a "search for a new head baseball coach and sports information director."

"Ed is one of the most well-liked individuals on the Centre College campus," Chafin said. "He has always been a pleasure to be around. Now we are looking for someone to do the combination of both jobs. We are going to hire for the same type of position."

Chafin said applications will be reviewed as they are received and that he hopes to begin interviewing as soon as possible.

Obviously, this is not a decision that could have been reached easily by anyone. Rall's supporters can easily note that his years of loyalty to Centre deserved more consideration. They can note that any baseball coach at Centre will have trouble winning because the Colonels are the most northern team in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference and the facilities are at the bottom of the league.

The flip side would be that college administrators regularly make changes in athletics staffs based on their own evaluations.

Two things are obvious

There is no right and wrong here. It all depends on your perspective. However, two things are obvious.

One, Rall should be able to find a spot where he can still be involved in coaching. He's been too good to too many young athletes for more than 30 years to think that he still can't be an asset to the right school, perhaps even on the high school level again.

Two, Centre does not need a baseball-sports information director combination. Those are two vastly different jobs. If the Colonels want to have a winning baseball program, then let the baseball coach concentrate on baseball just as the basketball, football, soccer, volleyball and other coaches do at Centre.

Plus, the sports information director's job is not that easy. Centre prides itself on the number of student-athletes it has on campus. If perhaps 50 percent of the students are involved in athletics, don't make publicizing those athletes a part-time job because it requires full-time effort.

Rall has always been a throwback coach. He loves sports, and Centre College. He's not consumed by his job 24 hours a day, but he's as competitive as anyone when he steps on a playing field.

And it's impossible not to like Rall. Once you meet him, you are his friend.

That's why the local sports scene just won't be quite the same without him and his smile and why all the many friends he has are hoping it won't be long before they'll be seeing him back on another playing field doing what he enjoys best.

Central Kentucky News Articles