Jan. 22, 2013
CHICAGO - After a 52-year coaching career spanning all over the world, former UC Davis assistant coach Ralph Rago was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches' Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame at the annual ABCA Convention on Jan. 4 in Chicago.
Coach Rago began his coaching career in 1959 at Merced High School before moving to Davis High School two years later where he would spend the next 29 years as assistant and head coach for the Blue Devils. During his tenure as head coach, he won three Delta League Coach of the Year Awards while also coaching left-handed pitcher Ron Bryant who was drafted in the 22nd round to San Francisco in 1965.
In 1987, Rago joined Phil Swimley and the UC Davis baseball team as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator and helped lead the Aggies to their first ever College World Series appearance in 1995 after three straight regional appearances.
During his last few years at UC Davis, Rago became involved in the MLB Envoy Program in Europe. That first summer, Rago coached the British Junior Amateur team in a tournament in Spain, then returned and helped out both the national and junior teams the next year. In 1995, he was assigned to develop baseball in Great Britain full time by Major League Baseball.
In 1996, Rago was named European Coach of the Year after bringing Great Britain its first-ever championship.
He continued to coach in Europe until 2009, while simultaneously assisting at Solano JC, then joined Guy Anderson, the winningest high school baseball coach in the country, at Cordova High School.
Rago was inducted alongside Bill Aker of Northern Kentucky University, Fordham's Dan Gallagher, Cumberland University's Woody Hunt, Kent Shelley of Johnson County Community College and Joe Roberts of Armstrong Atlantic State University.