Archive for Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Former umpire to coach baseball

June 26, 2002

Sean Randall is back on the baseball field.

This time, though, he'll be calling hit-and-runs rather than balls and strikes.

Randall, a former professional umpire, was named Tonganoxie High School's new baseball coach last Wednesday during a special school board meeting. He replaces John Lee, who resigned to take a job at Park Hill (Mo.) High School.

Randall inherits a team that won just one game last year. Still, he is excited to take the helm at THS.

"We have nowhere but up to go," Randall said. "We're at 0-0. We're not 1-17 or 1-18."

A 1989 Olathe South graduate, Randall has been around baseball much of his life. After playing at OSHS, he played baseball at Southwest Baptist in Bolivar, Mo., and earned a degree in sports management there.

After college, Randall was on the other side of the baseball fence. He tried out for a professional umpiring position. He was one of 20 umpires picked from 350 to 400 applicants. Randall worked in the minor leagues at the A and AA levels. At the AA level he worked in the Texas League, which consists of teams from Wichita, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas.

"I learned a lot about myself and other people," Randall said.

Randall has seen many major league players come through his ranks, including Juan Gonzalez and Roberto Alomar, who had rehab assignments in the minors.

After four years, though, the nine-month regiment of living in motel rooms grew old and Randall retired from umpiring.

"I'll never eat at Applebee's again," Randall said, adding the restaurant often was the only establishment open after a late night at the ballpark.

Randall decided to pursue a different career, and enrolled at Ottawa University four years ago.

Now 31, he also has a teaching certificate after graduating from OU, and will be a full-time substitute at Tonganoxie in the fall. He and his wife, Susan, live in Olathe, but eventually would like to move to Tonganoxie.

Although THS will be his first head coaching position, Randall has had assistant coaching experience in the Olathe school district and KC-Turner.

Superintendent Richard Erickson said he expects Randall to turn things around for the Chieftains.

"He has vast knowledge of the game," Erickson said. "We look for him to rebuild and develop our baseball program at this point."

From what Randall has viewed in American Legion games, he said he has some talented players at THS.

"In the games I've been to, I'm impressed with what I've seen," Randall said.

And after working on a second degree the last four years, the former umpire is eager to get back into baseball.

"I've been eating and sleeping it ever since," Randall said.

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