Catching up with Rich Aldayby Andy Morales on Apr. 22, 2012, under Sports
You never know what or who you will find roaming the high school athletic fields of Southern Arizona.
As many of you know, I took a volunteer softball coaching position at Canyon del Oro so I could experience, first-hand, my youngest child’s first year of high school sports without being an added burden to the taxpayers of Amphitheater.
Not only did I get to see Maggie’s first homerun over the legendary CDO fence where the names of all the All-Americans and college standouts are displayed, I got to catch up with former Pima and New Mexico baseball coach Rich Alday.
Alday was Pima’s first baseball coach and he took the Aztecs to the 1985 World Series and earned 496 victories in 16 years before he moved on to New Mexico where he won 515 more games in 18 years before retiring in 2007.
I had noticed his familiar face calling our softball game earlier this year and we chatted a bit but I didn’t want to pass up on another chance to catch up with the legendary coach when I noticed him putting on his gear to call another one of our games last week.
Alday has been giving back by umpiring and refereeing football games since he stepped down from his recent stint as the athletic director at San Miguel High School.
He told me his mentor was none other than his JV coach at Tucson High, another legend in Jim Wing. Alday would then go on to play varsity under Ray Adkins.
His biggest success on the Badger athletic fields, however, came as the All-State quarterback of the 1965 State Championship team under John Mallamo.
Next time you go to a game, take the time to look behind the mask. You never know who you will find.