Medina Journal-Register — MIDDLEPORT — For the past 25 years, Roy-Hart High School has seen just one man roam the sidelines at its boys’ basketball games. That man, Mark Rydza, will lead the Rams out on to their home court tonight for one last time.
Roy-Hart and Barker Superintendent Roger Klatt, Roy-Hart Athletics Director John Jablonski and current players honored Rydza for his services at the final regular season home game last Wednesday against Barker. Rydza said it was nice to see many former players show up to the game as well.
“It was a very nice atmosphere,” Rydza said. “Everybody had a lot of nice things to say.”
Barker’s team even went along with the pre-game ceremonies as each player gave Rydza, an avid golfer, a golf ball after being introduced.
On top of his duties on the basketball court, Rydza is also a math teacher and the golf coach at Roy-Hart. He has been able to develop a good camaraderie with his colleagues and students serving these different roles. The daily interaction with people is what Rydza said he will miss most upon retirement.
“When you’re used to working with lots of kids every year, that’ll be the biggest thing I’ll miss,” Rydza said.
The Rams won one league title during Rydza’s tenure with the program. Roy-Hart made it to the sectional semifinals that 1995-96 season as well as in 1992-93. Despite losing them both, they’re two of some of his fondest coaching memories.
He recited the ending of the 1996 game as if it happened yesterday.
“Adam Cooley made two threes in the last 30 seconds of the game to tie it up,” Rydza said. “We ended up losing in overtime. We had a one-point lead, turned it over with 20 seconds left, ended up fouling them and they made two free throws.”
Rydza said he didn’t really think about how long he would coach for when he first decided to pursue it 25 years ago. Now that 2013-14 marks the quarter-century milestone, he said he’s not really retiring for one reason in particular.
“I’m mainly retiring from teaching, not coaching as much,” Rydza said. “I just felt it was time to move on and do something else in this stage in my career while I feel that I’m still young enough to do something different.”
Roy-Hart will host a Class B-2 pre-quarterfinal matchup at 7 p.m. tonight. If the Rams win, they will travel to Health Science for a quarterfinal game Friday. A loss eliminates them from sectionals and would therefore end the Rydza era at Roy-Hart.
It’ll be bittersweet for Rydza when that day does finally come.
“When you’re doing the last of anything you’ve done for a long time, it’s sad in a way,” Rydza said. “But there’s so many good memories to fall back on. I’m looking forward to moving on a little bit in the next phase of my life.”