‘You don’t get that time back’: Oden resigns as QND baseball coach to put family first


Quincy Notre Dame baseball coach Ryan Oden, left, resigned Thursday to devote time to his family, which includes being able to watch his son, Harry, right, begin his collegiate baseball career. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Before Ryan Oden left his house Thursday morning for a meeting with the Quincy Notre Dame baseball players, his wife, Deb, wanted to know he was comfortable with his decision to resign as the Raiders head coach.

“She asked, ‘Are you sure?’” Oden said. “And I told her I am.”

With his son embarking on a college baseball career and the rest of his family growing — he has two grandkids — now seemed the right time to resign. After six seasons at the helm and 12 seasons as part of the QND coaching staff, Oden made his decision official and submitted his resignation to athletic director Bill Connell.

Oden’s son, Harry, who was the starting left fielder and No. 5 hitter for QND last spring, is transferring from Lindenwood to Maryville at semester and has a chance to contribute right away for the Saints.

“As much as I love my guys at Notre Dame, it would break my heart if I missed Harry’s first collegiate at-bat,” Oden said. “At the end of the day, he’s my son. It still breaks my heart to leave. This decision was tough, which is why it took me so long.

“I’ve been going back and forth for the last two months on it. It tugs at my heart because I know what I’m leaving. If you would have seen the looks on the guys’ faces today when I told them, you would have thought I just stole their puppy. It’s hard.”

Oden made it clear the opportunity to follow his son wasn’t the only factor in his decision.

The younger of his two grandchildren was born in Kansas City last spring, but Oden didn’t get the chance to meet him until after the season ended.

“I’ve traveled a lot in this offseason and I’ve really enjoyed spending time with my wife and my family,” he said. “It’s the perfect time.”

Oden missed watching his daughter play collegiate softball — “I missed her playing in high school, too,” he said — and he didn’t want to regret missing those games any longer.

“You don’t get that time back,” Oden said.

In six seasons at the helm, one of which was canceled due to COVID-19, Oden compiled a 125-31 record with four regional titles and a sectional crown. Last spring, the Raiders finished 32-3 with a Class 2A regional championship and return six starting position players and the top two arms.

Overall, eight seniors on the QND baseball team have signed national letters of intent to play in college.

“Like I told them, whether I’m there or someone else, you guys are built to win,” Oden said. “They’ll be fine.”

Connell said he will begin a search for a replacement immediately, but he is leaving the position open until a January 6 application deadline because of the looming Christmas holiday.

“A lot of people think when jobs like this open we get hundreds of applicants,” Connell said. “That’s not the case. A lot of times, we don’t get five applicants. That’s the facts. It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of effort. So we’re going to give it a little bit of time so we can check all the applicants and figure out who we’re going to interview.”

Oden’s resignation caught Connell by surprise.

“I’ve been in his shoes with having the opportunity to go watch your son play in college,” Connell said. “Those are opportunities you cannot go back and get. I applaud Coach for recognizing that now. He’s been a great leader and taught a lot of fundamentals to our young people. He made a lot of great decisions for QND and more specifically the baseball program.

“But I firmly believe we have enough time to land on our feet and find our next leader.”

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