UNM coach says goodbye

By Brandon Call Daily Lobo

May 30, 2007

Albuquerque, NM (CSTV U-WIRE) -- In 18 years at the helm of the UNM baseball team, head coach Rich Alday has a long list of accomplishments.

Now, Alday is passing the torch. He announced May 21 he is stepping down as head coach.

Alday said his time spent with the Lobos was enjoyable.

"My whole coaching experience has been positive," he said in a phone interview May 25. "I honestly cannot say one bad thing about UNM. The administration has always been supportive of what we do. The players are great. I've had a really great 18 years here as head coach."

This season, the Lobos finished with a 28-30 record. The team placed fourth in the Mountain West Conference Championships with an 8-3 loss to University of Nevada- Las Vegas on May 25.

In addition, 2007 has featured milestones for Alday.

He picked up his 500th win while at UNM on March 30 against San Diego State, making him the winningest coach in school history.

A 35-year veteran of collegiate coaching, Alday earned his 1,000th collegiate victory at Air Force on April 16.

Alday said others deserve credit for the accomplishments.

"This feels like the right time to turn over the reins to someone new," Alday said. "I've accomplished a lot this season, but none of it would have been possible without the hard work from both the coaching staff and our athletes. They are really the secret to success."

Alday's tenure as head coach produced 56 all-conference performers and 34 selections in the MLB Draft from 1990-2006.

This season, UNM junior second baseman Jordan Pacheco, an Albuquerque native and graduate of La Cueva High School, was named the MWC Player of the Year.

Alday said he liked having local players be a part of his tenure.

"We're fortunate to have had such quality players come through our program," he said. "I'm glad that we have been able to recruit such talent, and

especially a lot from around the state. It's always fun to see homegrown talent do well."

Prior to coming to UNM in 1990, Alday coached at Pima Community College in his hometown of Tucson, Ariz. Starting the program from scratch in 1973, Alday led Pima to a 496-220 record in 17 years.

Alday has served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic baseball teams in 1988 and 1996 and garnered Coach of the Year conference honors in 1992, 1995 and 2000. Alday said that despite the accolades, his favorite part of coaching is working with players.

"I enjoy the sport of baseball, and games are always competitive and exciting, but working with the student athletes is what I will miss the most," he said.

Alday said he has no doubt that the Lobos will continue to do well without him.

"I want to leave a program that I know will be successful in the future," he said. "UNM baseball has a lot of potential to grow, and I'm just happy to have been a part of it all of these years."

(C) 2007 Daily Lobo via CSTV U-WIRE

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