A coach with class
As the father of six children, the ultimate compliment that I could pay to a coach is that I wish my kids could have played for him. I do not say that about very many, but I do say it about Coach Randy Loyd, who recently retired from active coaching after 29 years.
My association with Loyd began 10 years ago when I was persuaded by Coach Josh Jones, my son-in-law and the head football coach at Magazine to undertake the basketball announcing duties at the brand new Diamondback Arena. I can say without hesitation that our relationship has been pleasant and that I was always treated with the utmost courtesy. I have always found Loyd to be a class act.
Most of his tenure at Magazine was spent coaching baseball and girls basketball. Since the basketball teams sit right next to the scorer’s table, I got to watch him up close during the games. He could be very intense and definitely could get his point across when he needed to. However, he did not routinely behave like a deranged drill sergeant as some coaches seem to be doing at every time out.
I worked for two decades with a local baseball official and occasionally we would talk about the games he had worked. He always expressed great respect for Loyd, saying that his players were well-taught and knew how to play the game. He also said that while Loyd might argue a blown call vigorously, he did not do so in a way that would embarrass the umpire. In other words, he had class. You can well imagine that officials really appreciate that.
Since most sports end in some sort of a tournament or playoffs, it is hard to anticipate when a coach’s last game will be. Unfortunately, the Lady Rattlers lost in the first round of the regional playoffs, which were hosted this year by Magazine. There were lots of tears shed by players who had played their final game.
After a moment was given for the victorious team to celebrate their win, the announcement was made asking any of the ladies in attendance who had played for Loyd to come down onto the floor to greet him and pose for a picture. It was quite a group, stretching across one end of the arena. When you have been coaching for 29 years, it is inevitable that multiple basketball generations will be in the group. And I did see a babe in arms and an expectant mother among the crowd, which means that there may be another branch of Loyd’s coaching tree taking the court in a few years.
With all the COVID-19 restrictions imposed upon the procedures, hosting the regional tournament this year was a herculean task. On his final day, I asked Loyd if he would miss all of this. He said he would miss the players and the games, but that he was glad he would not have to handle another tournament.
He said he would look up how many championship teams he had coached, but I decided to go ahead with writing this article. Suffice it to say that he has coached a ton of wins in both basketball and baseball. But as a father and grandfather, I can tell you that it is not wins and losses that are my true measure of a coach. What I look for is a coach with class. Randy Loyd has that.