Family, friends and associates of the late Rich Alday, a coach with one of the most storied careers in Southern Arizona, will celebrate his life at the Sheraton El Conquistador Resort with a reception to follow on Oct. 10 at 3 p.m.
The family is asking for Alday’s former players to send photos via e-mail to Antonio Fernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Andy Morales reflects on the impact Rich Alday made on the community: Rich Alday: More than a coach, we all lost a decent and kind man
— Reactions from friends, coaches and former players of Rich Alday’s passing
Alday was one of Tucson’s most endearing coaching legends before passing away because of health reasons on Jan. 6 at the age of 71.
Alday closed his Pima career with a record of 517-251 in 17 seasons when he retired in 2018. He coached the Aztecs for 16 seasons, from 1974 to 1989, before returning in 2017 aspiring to notch his 500th career victory with Pima.
Alday won his 500th game with the Aztecs during that 2018 season.
“I wanted to come back and lead the Aztecs baseball program for one more season,” Alday said at the time of his retirement. “It’s time for me to stay home with my wife (Norma). I have been out on the field for 40 years and it’s time to change my schedule.
“It was a special moment to get my 500th win here but it is time for someone else to lead this program.”
Alday coached at New Mexico for 18 seasons, becoming the Lobos’ most victorious coach, compiling 515 wins. He finishes with a total of 1,032 wins in his collegiate career.
Alday also was Ironwood Ridge High School’s softball coach from 2014 to 2017. He coached that team to state championships in 2014 and 2016. His record there was 107-33.
After all the accomplishments as a head coach, he showed his humble nature by also umpiring high school softball games locally, some at the junior-varsity level.
Alday also coached the Olympic U.S. National baseball team in 1988, where it won the tournament as an exhibition sport. He took them back in 1996 when they won a bronze medal.
He was selected to the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame in 1994 and became part of the first Pima College Hall of Fame in 2013.
Alday is survived by his wife Norma and many family members in Tucson and other areas. He is preceded in death by his son Ambrose, who passed away at age 16 in 1995 from cancer. An Ambrose Alday Memorial Scholarship Fund was set up at New Mexico.
Alday’s brother Sammy passed away eight days after him. Sammy, a former standout Pima baseball player and Sunnyside High School softball coach, died Jan. 14 following a long bout with kidney and heart issues. He was on dialysis for the last two years and underwent triple-bypass surgery three years ago. He was 63.
A celebration of Sammy’s life will be held Saturday with mass held at the San Augustine Cathedral at 10 a.m. with a reception to follow at the Knights of Columbus.
Sammy was also an educator in the Sunnyside Unified School District for more than 30 years.