OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Randy Rahe is leaving Weber State as not only the school’s all-time winningest coach, but also as the all-time leader in victories in Big Sky Conference history.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege for me to be the head basketball coach at Weber State for 16 years,” Rahe said at a press conference Tuesday sitting alongside his wife, Laura.
Rahe was vacationing in South Carolina with his wife, gearing up for the summer, when he realized the spark just wasn’t there anymore.
“I didn’t feel the same way about it,” Rahe said. “I just didn’t quite have the same passion and the same excitement. I told myself forever that if I lose any of that, I’m going to know it’s time to go. It kind of hit me. We looked at each other and she said, ‘what do you think?’ I said, ‘you know what, I think I’m ready to be done.’
The 61-year-old Rahe won 316 games with the Wildcats, five Big Sky Conference titles, and made the NCAA Tournament three times. He will undoubtedly go down as the greatest coach in school history.
“I just wanted to run a program that I thought was the right way,” he said. “I tried to do it with character and integrity. Bring in great kids, graduate kids, follow the rules, and I feel good about walking away knowing that we did just that.”
Of course the greatest player Rahe ever coached was 6-time NBA All-Star Damian Lillard. Rahe had no idea just how good Lillard was going to be, until he talked to an NBA scout.
“I looked at him and said, ‘am I going to lose Damian?’ He starts laughing and said, ‘yeah, you’re going to lose him. He’s going to be a top-10 pick. I was oblivious to it. I say this all the time. He’s an incredible player, but he is a lot better person than he is a player. That’s what I’m most proud of.”
Because of all his success, Rahe could have moved on to bigger schools. But like Lillard, he stayed loyal to Weber State.
“I’ve had opportunities to maybe leave here a few times,” Rahe said. “One of the reasons I felt I needed to be here is because of the culture, the family atmosphere and the support that I receive. I’m not going to miss practices as much. I’m not going to miss the games. What I’m really going to miss is the relationships.”
And now he and his wife Laura plan on traveling and spending time with their sons, enjoying life in retirement.
“I think I quit at the right time because she still likes me a little bit,” Rahe said. “A couple more years of this and she might not have liked me, so it’s time for us to go and have some fun.”