Former Russell County baseball coach Tony Rasmus has had five days to reflect on the fact that, for the second time in a year, he is in between jobs.
He left the Warriors last May to take a job at Florence High and resigned that position on Friday, citing contrasting styles between himself and the school.
There were additional reports in the Florence Times Daily of an altercation at the school involving Rasmus, but he denied that taking place. Florence schools superintendent Janet Womack said there was a ‘situation’ at the school but didn’t give further details.
Now, he is once again looking to the future. And the only thing he knows for sure about that is that he’s going to be more careful about finding the right opportunity.
“I won’t jump into anything too quick,” Rasmus said on Wednesday. “I’m going to do a better job next time of making sure that it’s going to be a better fit for me. Whatever I decide to do will be something where I’m able to be me 100 percent.”
That was a problem at Florence, he said.
Too often, he heard anonymous complaints about his approach from parents and others. He knows his style doesn’t mesh with everyone.
“I’m a little different, a little outspoken and abrasive at times,” he said. “I wanted to coach and I wanted to work, but I didn’t sign up to be the school counselor or the school chaplain. I wanted to coach. My style has always been that we’re going to be hard-nosed, tough and prepare you for life. To constantly get blowback, not from kids but from unknown people, it just wasn’t worth it for me.”
Florence won 25 games and made an appearance in the first round of the state playoffs in its only season under Rasmus, making vast improvements over teams that had struggled to losing records in recent seasons.
Rasmus said his players did everything he asked of them and were happy to work, but others outside the program were the ones causing problems.
“I think we won more games this year than the past three combined,” he said. “Our first workout was bad. There were things we teach our Little League kids that we had to work on. And that’s not their fault, they just hadn’t learned it. In the fall, I felt like if we won a game, it’d be a miracle. We won 25 and really came a long way. That’s a tribute to the kids.
“They wouldn’t let me talk to the kids on the way out, but I got probably 50 messages saying they learned how to work. That’s the only reason I’m in it. I could care less about the parents.”
Now, Rasmus says he’s going to make sure his next environment is one that allows him to work the way he is accustomed to, the way that earned him more than 400 victories, a state championship at Russell County in 2005 and state runner-up in 2006.
And if an opportunity like that doesn’t exist?
“If that’s the case, I may have to hang my stuff up and lay out by the pool,” he said. “I’ll definitely be looking, because that’s the one thing I love to do.”
He said he’d like to come back closer to the Phenix City area, where the rest of his family still lives.
“The one thing my wife told me is that if we leave Florence, I’m going to have to park her behind in Phenix City with the grandbabies,” he said with a laugh.
Asked whether he would ever consider a return to Russell County High, he didn’t answer with a distinct yes or no.
“Yeah, somebody asked me about that last night,” he said. “Cyle (his youngest son) said, ‘Why wouldn’t he go back? His name’s on the field.’ I don’t know. They may not want me back, for all I know.”