Chief celebration

By on May 8, 2014

Past, present and future celebrate Randall’s WCC diamond tenure
SUGAR GROVE—Area collegiate baseball has seen its share of great players and institutions.

Dave Randall, of Waubonsee Community College, has seen his share of area collegiate baseball.

On Friday in Sugar Grove, it was appropriate that Randall and the program’s products got to share all they’ve seen in 37 seasons of action.

Randall, who is stepping down at the end of the current baseball campaign to concentrate on athletic manager duties, was honored with appearances from family and alumni during Friday’s regular season home finale against Highland Community College. Randall, WCC personnel and guests eventually made their way to the Open Range Grill at Bliss Creek Golf Course in Sugar Grove for some more story swapping and celebration.

After nearly 1,850 games at the helm of the Chiefs’ program, there was plenty to reminisce about for the Kaneland High School grad and Yorkville resident.

“There were a couple of small events a couple of weeks ago to celebrate before the games, and that’s when it kind of hit me,” Randall said. “This was a complete surprise, and it was how you’d like something like this to be, and you’re surrounded by friends and family.”

The Chiefs (32-23) were able to sweep the Highland visitors by a final of 11-4 and 4-2, putting the stamp on the day that saw dozens of former WCC players come out to honor Randall.

“I wish I had more time to talk to every one of the players that came out. It was fun being able to introduce players from different eras to each other,” Randall said.

Noteworthy personnel like first-ever Waubonsee coach and former Randall skipper Bill Prince, and players from as far as Phoenix, made it to the festivities.

The occasion gave Randall a moment to reflect on how the local game has changed.

“The size of the players is the biggest thing,” Randall said. “I’m ordering double XL for players. But the style of play will change every couple of years. Right now, it’s less on power, and we do a lot on the basepaths.”

Dana Wagner, another former KHS grad and former womens’ basketball coach at WCC, enjoyed seeing the span of her co-worker’s career come to life.

“I see on a daily basis how much Dave impacts our student-athletes lives. The neatest thing about the event on Friday was hearing all of the different stories being told by his former players. I heard many, many times during the event “he changed my life” or “he gave me a chance,” Wagner said.

Sports Information Specialist Steve Moga has the baseball program under Randall’s eye showing obvious changes in the 37 seasons.

“Dave has elevated Waubonsee’s baseball program to a national level in junior college athletics,” Moga said. “Despite competing as a non-scholarship NJCAA Division III program, his teams often more than hold their own against many scholarship clubs, which usually make up 75 percent of the Chiefs’ schedule. Waubonsee’s six Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference titles and three trips to the NJCAA Division III World Series under his leadership are proof of that.”

There is much to remember for Randall and his time in the Chiefs’ dugout, and he was glad to have some of that crystalized this past week.

“It was a good time, and we shared a lot of memories, to talk to everybody and see everybody, to have family come in and my old coach (Prince) from 1973. It was so great,’ Randall said.

Waubonsee, which is slated to be coached by former Chief Brad Unger in 2015, heads to the Region IV Division III Sectional beginning this weekend.