Alleghany head coach Gary Rice has been playing baseball since he was four years old and has coached it for the last 51 years.
He has served as the only varsity baseball coach at Alleghany High School since it’s consolidation in 1984. A role that has not only impacted the program, but the community and one that has stretched generations.
“He means the world, he’s the one that brought baseball here mean something and everybody’s trying to live up to his reputation,” former player’s parent, CR Nicely said.
“When I showed up at Alleghany County High School before it became Alleghany High School there was a lot of tradition baseball around anyways, I just carried on what had been started,” Coach Rice said.
“Everything that I have ever known about baseball in this area has been Alleghany baseball,” former player and assistant coach Gavin Haynes said. “You know if you wear that name on the front of your shirt or the front of your jersey it means something. “
“It’s an honor to get to play for Coach Rice if you can make it on that level you know and high school baseball.”Former player David Groseclose
“To us when we grew up I think he already had that image instilled back in the community, so with the feeder system of the little league coming all the way through which is something you did and you were very proud to represent.”
“Everybody knows who he is, he’s a winner, he’s Mr. Fundamental, he’s just an awesome coach and an awesome guy,” Haynes said.
Coach Rice will go into the record books with the 3rd most wins in the Virginia High School League All-time win list.
Over his career Coach Rice coached many families including his own.
“For one he is my grandfather so first of all, when I was growing up I didn’t really enjoy playing for him cause he gave me a hard time,” Coach Rice’s former player and grandson Ryan Kessinger said.
“Looking back you kind of get perspective and understanding on just how lucky I was to be able to play for him.”Ryan Kessinger
Around 100 former players and their families gathered at the Casey Field in Covington, Va. to celebrate Coach Rice and his retirement. Coach Rice threw out the first pitch at the Covington Lumberjacks and Staunton Braves.