Randy Delaney has coached two generations of softball players at Southeastern High School, and he’ll likely be around to pinch-hit their grandkids, too.
Twenty-eight years and 398 wins later, the South Charleston native feels like he’s just getting started, energized by the small-town vibe of his tight-knit teams.
“It’s the relationships you develop with the young ladies that make the job special,” Delaney said. “It’s always neat when you run into previous players and they say to their kids, ‘This was my coach in high school.’ It tells you that you left a good impression on them. Those are relationships you can’t replace.”
A self-employed plumber, Delaney has been a cagey and competitive fixture inside the Trojans’ dugout since 1986 and shows no sign of mellowing … or slowing down.
Likely to reel in win No. 400 sometime this week, the veteran’s still having fun.
“(The longevity’s) just a love of the game,” said Delaney, who has averaged 15 wins a year since the Reagan administration. “I’ve been fortunate to coach a lot of quality kids throughout the years — kids with ability.
“Back in the day, if you had a pitcher you had a team. Now, because of advancement in the game of fastpitch, that’s not so true anymore.
“I’m going into my third generation of kids whose mothers have played. The game’s changed a lot (for the better).”
Despite a 5-4 loss to visiting Triad on Friday, the feisty Trojans (15-4 overall, 8-3 in the Ohio Heritage Conference) still have a mathematical shot at their first league title since 2003.
“I tell people all the time that I have no set timetable (for retiring). I’ve got enough left to stay for a little while (longer),” said Delaney, a man of plentiful memories and few complaints. “I don’t want to be one of those people who say, ‘I’m quitting this year’ and then don’t.
“When it’s time, you just walk away.”
Who: Randy “Tojo” Delaney; 28th season, Southeastern High School
What: Two softball victories shy of career win No. 400
On the milestone: “Honestly, I think about it daily. I just want to get it this year and get it over with.”