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In between Newport’s final baseball game of the regular season and its playoff game, Ken Riley made the announcement to the team at a dinner that he would be retiring from the Cubs after 16 seasons as the head coach — and 30 years with the program in some capacity.
With 302 wins, a handful of conference titles, six semifinal appearances, three championship appearances and a state title won in 2008, Riley entered the 2018 season knowing that it would likely be his last as the head coach.
“I just felt like I knew it was time,” Riley said. “Every year I do an inventory of my life, in all aspects not just in coaching, and at the end of last year I just felt it was time to start the transformation of the program. Fortunately I was able to help the next coach, all of those moons kind of aligned perfectly for me and the program.”
Being a varsity head coach wasn’t just a three-month gig, it became a year-long job.
“I wanted to go out on my own terms before it started to feel like a job,” Riley said. “I love coaching, I didn’t want to get to a point where I didn’t love coaching.”