High School Sports

Russell County High names baseball field after longtime coach Tony Rasmus

SEALE, Ala. -- The words "leader" and "hero" were used to describe Russell County baseball coach Tony Rasmus on Saturday at the school's baseball field.

And while Rasmus said that the latter may have been a bit much, there's one thing that can't be taken away:

Tony Rasmus Field.

After giving the park a facelift for the 2013 season, the school honored the Warriors' longtime coach on Saturday at a dedication ceremony. Rasmus has 358 career wins at Russell County since taking over in 2001 and helped lead his team to the 2005 state and national championships, the latter being a figurative honor bestowed by Baseball America.

Not figurative was the national coach of the year award he was given by USA Today in the same year.

Overall, Rasmus has sent nine players to the pros and 40 to college scholarships.

In a fashion that has become common to the coach, however, Rasmus quickly deflected the praise.

"Tony Rasmus wouldn't be up there without the other Rasmus boys," said the coach, referring to his four sons, three of which play at the professional level. "They put a lot of time and effort into this place, and a lot of W's came on their backs. The reason it's up there is primarily because of them, so it's good to have them here to be a part of it."

All four -- Colby, Cory, Casey and Cyle -- were on hand to sign autographs and work with young children in a day camp. Colby, a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, tossed batting practice.

He said that it was a proud moment for him as a player and a son.

"I'm glad I could be here," he said. "He definitely deserves it. He's put in a lot of time into this team for a long time. He changed the whole idea, the whole mindset of what (Russell County) was trying to do."

Casey Rasmus spoke similarly of the opportunity to be back at home for his dad's ceremony. Despite his dad's insistence that his name is on the scoreboard because of them, Casey said that neither he nor his brothers would be where they are without Tony.

"He's pretty much taught me everything," Casey said. "Where I'm at now, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him."

Cory said that Tony was a little harder on he and his brothers than everyone else growing up, but that wasn't a bad thing.

"It made us work harder," he said. "It helped us to be successful and make him proud."

During Tony's introduction, though, in a description of the coach, it was stated that your last name doesn't have to be Rasmus in order for Tony to treat you like family. That, perhaps, is one of the main reasons his name is now attached to the field.

"It's humbling," he said. "But it's pretty cool. As a coach, you work hard, you accomplish things and win games. It's good to sit here today and see someone recognizes that."

Russell County opens the 2013 season on Feb. 18.