Rich Alday, one of Tucson’s most endearing baseball coaching legends, has officially retired after returning to coach Pima Community College last season.
Alday closed his Pima career with a record of 517-251 in 17 seasons. He coached the Aztecs for 16 seasons, from 1974 to 1989, before returning last season aspiring to notch his 500th career victory with Pima.
Alday, 68, won his 500th game with the Aztecs on Jan. 30.
“I wanted to come back and lead the Aztecs baseball program for one more season,” Alday said in a Pima release. “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.”
His successor is a former assistant and player of his at New Mexico — Ken Jacome, a Rincon High School graduate who has a history of coaching since 1995.
“I’m happy it’s Ken Jacome,” Alday said of his replacement. “He did a great job for me at the University of New Mexico. He has many contacts with four- year schools that will get kids to that next level. He has a lot of experience and is very knowledgeable. He brings a lot to the table.”
Jacome coached the Pueblo High School baseball team from 1995-1996 before joining Jerry Stitt‘s staff as a volunteer assistant at Arizona from 1997-1998. Stitt is presently Pima’s executive assistant athletic director under Edgar Soto, a Tucson High grad who also played for Alday at New Mexico.
Jacome started the baseball program at El Paso Community College and led the Tejanos to three Western Junior College Athletic Conference titles (2001, 2002 and 2004). He accumulated a record of 207-122-2 in six seasons (1999-2004).
Jacome was an assistant coach under Soto on the 2002 USA Junior National Team where the team captured the bronze medal in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.
He joined Alday’s staff at New Mexico as the pitching coach in 2004 and then infield coach/recruiting coordinator in 2009. He stayed with the Lobos for 14 years.
“I have been away from Tucson for 20 years and I wanted the opportunity to come home. This is going to work out great and I’m looking forward to bringing Pima back to being a championship team,” Jacome said in the Pima release. “I’ve been able to establish my own identity learning from some great coaches along the way. This gives me a chance to instill things I have learned over 20 years and give back to a great program.
“I talked to both coach Stitt and coach Alday. I told them I was really interested in the job and I felt like they gave me the support to be that guy to lead the program. Without those guys, I wouldn’t be in the position I am now.”
Jacome’s brother, Jason, a former Rincon standout pitcher who played in the major leagues from 1994 to 1998, lobbied for Ken to replace Andy Lopez when Arizona was looking for a coach three years ago.
How about Ken Jacome for new Baseball Coach. Former UofA assistant. 11 year coach at UNM and a local Tucsonan. @Greg_Byrne
— Jason Jacome (@jhawktime) May 26, 2015
Ken Jacome earned his master’s degree in Education from Northern Arizona University and bachelors in Health and Physical Education from Oklahoma City University.
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.
He 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 was part of the first Pima College Hall of Fame in 2013.
Alday has been a fixture in Tucson sports since he was an all-state quarterback at Tucson High School in 1965. Not one local coach can top his success and longevity.
He replaced former Arizona player Jason Hisey at Pima last season after Hisey resigned following a seven-year stint with the Aztecs.