Raymond Bates was born to Geneva and Guy Bates in Woodsfield, Ohio on April 8, 1932. In 1934, Ray, his sister Rosalie, and his parents moved to Ashland where Ray shortly began attending school and passionately pursuing his greatest interest..athletics! Among Ray’s most avid supporters in his pursuit of “the game” were his stepfather, Clarence “Slats” Frolley, and his sister.
As a student at Ashland High School, Ray earned 8 varsity letters – three in football, two in basketball, and three in track – and was not surprisingly voted “outstanding athlete” of his senior class. Playing both offense and defense in football, Ray was co-captain of AHS’s football and basketball teams and earned All-State honors in basketball in 1949-50. In Ray’s sophomore year, his football team went 8-1 and his basketball team went 20-2. In Ray’s senior year, his basketball team ended their season with an impressive 20-2 record. Named MVP in track, Ray also went on to set school records in the 880 yard run and the discus.
After graduating from AHS in 1950, Ray attended Kent State University on a full ride football and academic scholarship where he earned 3 freshmen letters in football, basketball, and track. After transferring to Ashland College (now Ashland University) in 1951. Ray lettered in his sophomore through his senior years in football, basketball, and track, earning 8 varsity letters in three sports and winning him All State honors in football.
After graduation from Ashland College in 1954, Ray spent the next three years serving his country as an officer in the United States Marines where he was part of the largest basic training class for officers. Always a team oriented sportsman, Ray’s natural athletic prowess earned him first place in the class’s obstacle course, quarter mile run and discus. Ray Also played football in the Marines until an ankle injury prevented him from continuing in the sport.
After leaving the Marines, Ray returned to Ashland and in 1957 married his wife, Suzanne. Shortly thereafter, Ray began his career in education by taking his first teaching and coaching job at Loudonville High School. In 1958, he moved to Southern California, where he continued teaching, counseling, and of course, coaching, for many years before taking an administrative position in education.
As a tribute to Ray’s more than 30 years working as a beloved coach and mentor to thousands of high school students, the senior class of Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, California dedicated their year book to Ray during his last year as an administrator there. A very touching and fitting tribute to a man whose lifelong love of athletics transcended his own high school and college success through his dedication to educating those in pursuit of academic and athletic excellence.
While living, working, and raising a family in Southern California, Ray shared his pass for athletics with his sons, managing all four of them while they played Little League and Babe Run Baseball. Twelve of those fifteen years, his team came in first place, once taking them to the state finals. Not surprisingly, one of Ray’s sons, Kirk, followed his father’s success and went on to win the college world series with Cal State-Fullerton and later signed with and played for the Texas Rangers organization.
Gene, Ray’s eldest son, is an accountant and lives in Anaheim, California. Brien, the second oldest, is a veterinarian and lives in San Jose, California with his fiancée Michelle, and his daughter, Sydney. Kirk, is a high school math teacher and lives in Orange, California with his wife Sivina and their two daughters, Haley and Kelly. And Rodney, Ray’s youngest son, is a superintendent in the construction industry and lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia with his wife Stephanie and their twins, Jake and Samantha.
Today, Ray is enjoying the retired live in Northern California where he spends his leisure time reading, playing golf, riding his Yamaha Virgo 750 motorcycle, helping out at his son’s veterinary clinic and of course, watching sports!
Nominator: Rosalie Smith