Oakley's Rath resigns
By CONOR NICHOLL
Randall Rath, Oakley High School's longtime head football, girls' basketball and track coach, has recently resigned from all three positions.
Rath has thought about resigning for the last several years, but said he resigned on the day of the second football game. Oakley accepted Rath's resignation at the October board meeting. Rath, who will step aside at the end of the year, declined to elaborate on the reasons behind his resignation.
"Some things that have been personal that have had to come to a head," Rath said.
Rath spent his first two years in Palco and then came to Oakley 24 years ago. Rath is in his 16th season as head football coach and has a career mark of 124-51. Oakley is currently ranked No. 5 in Class 2-1A at 6-1 and has Kansas' best scoring defense at just 20 points allowed. Rath has not changed his day-to-day coaching since he resigned.
"It was a difficult decision," Rath said. "...We have some really good kids in Oakley. They play hard. They practice hard. They do the right things, they are just good kids.
"In all the sports I have coached, we have had a lot of good teams," he added.
"I have been very fortunate to be around a lot of good kids and coach with good coaches here in our school. They have been very loyal coaches to me, and I will appreciate them forever."
Rath and his wife have three daughters.
The two oldest are out of high school and Marlee, a strong basketball player and starter since her freshman year, is a junior.
"That is going to be a transition that we hope is going to benefit her," Rath said.
Since he filed, Rath has sometimes felt a great burden lifted off his shoulders.
"At times, it almost feels worse," he said.
Rath wants to stay in Kansas. He wants to teach and coach many more seasons, but needs five years to finish out his KPERS. Rath hasn't thought much about what sports he would like to still coach.
Rath won a Class 2A state basketball title in 2006-07 and has led the Plainsmen to state three times in the last six seasons. In track, Oakley recently finished third on the girls' side in 2009.
"I want the best for all of our kids in Oakley and I hope they get that," Rath said. "I hope they get somebody that is good and somebody that cares about kids and have high expectations."
On the football side, Rath has turned the Plainsmen into a powerhouse. Oakley has played in two sub-state games and lost to some great Smith Center, La Crosse and Meade teams deep in the playoffs. Oakley has always had a power running game and a strong defense.
Since 2006 -- the first year classification statistics are available -- Oakley has outscored opponents by an average margin of 45-11.
In that time, the Plainsmen have finished fifth, third, third, third, second, 13th, sixth and first in Class 2-1A scoring defense, according to preppowerindex.com. Offensively, they have averaged the No. 8 scoring offense rank in that span.
"Been home to our family and it's where we raised our girls," Rath said. "It's been a very emotional and tough decision, but it's something that we've had to do."