Roy Uyeno working on the baseball field at Pahrump Valley High School in the mornings with the school’s maintenance staff is a common sight.
But while the staff is there during work hours, the assistant baseball coach is out there after work. Uyeno works the graveyard shift and then heads over to the field.
“He’ll come out to the baseball field right after he gets off, and I don’t know how he does it,” Trojans assistant coach Drew Middleton said. “Coach Roy is awesome.”
Throw in time spent at practices and games, and it’s pretty close to having two full-time jobs during baseball season.
And, according to his wife, not being able to do his “other” job is getting to him.
“Obviously he hasn’t been able to work on the high school fields since the ‘official’ school grounds shut down, which is driving him crazy,” Charlotte Uyeno said.
That kind of dedication — and the (probably remote) possibility that Roy might actually give up coaching — led the baseball team to want to do something to honor him.
“Our seniors wanted to do a tribute game for coach Roy,” Trojans baseball coach Brian Hayes said. “They understand how hard he works with the graveyard shift and all the extra time he spends taking care of the field.”
“Coach Roy means so much to the baseball community out here,” Middleton added. “He works so hard on the field and does so much for us so we wanted to pay him back. We wanted to do a Coach Roy Game, but obviously that’s probably not going to happen, so the seniors were thinking of other things they can do.”
With baseball season — at best — nothing more than a region tournament, the tribute game simply wasn’t practical. So what do you do for the assistant coach who spends so much of his time taking care of the field?
Take care of his yard, of course.
“He’s spent so much time working on our field, so why not repay the favor?” Middleton said.
So there they were on a recent Thursday morning: Hayes, Middleton and players Chase McDaniel, Cyle Havel, Kyle McDaniel, Coby Tillery, Roman Roberts, Jake Riding, James Metscher and Jalen Denton, along with Hayes’ young son, Kannen, at the Uyeno residence to do yard work.
And they managed to keep it a surprise.
“Brian mentioned to me a couple days before about making it happen,” Charlotte Uyeno said. “We planned a morning that we would hope Roy would sleep in. I asked Roy if he heard them outside in the morning when they got there, and he said that when he woke up to go outside for a minute, he saw a little boy (Kannen Hayes) and had to go around the corner to see what was going on.”
What was going on was a variation on what Uyeno does for them.
“We met at coach Roy’s house about 8:00 and started pulling weeds in his backyard,” Middleton said. “We basically did yard work for him.”
Hayes gave credit to the team’s two seniors, Cyle Havel and Chase McDaniel, for deciding something should be done to thank Roy Uyeno, who had promised them he would stay on as coach at least through their senior year.
“I nudged them, but ultimately it was their idea,” Hayes said.
Of course, as Middleton noted, each year there are more players to get attached to, and nobody would be surprised if Uyeno never gave up coaching.
But he brings more to the table than his groundskeeping skills. Middleton, who played for Uyeno before he began coaching with him, is quick to find good things to say about him.
“Coach Roy has been around since I can’t even tell you what year,” Middleton said. “He coached me when I first moved to Pahrump when I was in sixth grade. He was there when coach (Rich) Lauver took over, and obviously he’s been there ever since Hayes took over.
“His main thing is he’s an outfield coach. Our outfield is always great, and it’s because you’re going to do your job or you’re not going going to play.”
There was no such pressure last Thursday morning when players came over to take care of the yard belonging to the coach who does so much to take care of their field.
“He greatly appreciates all they did for him,” Charlotte Uyeno said. “He loves each and every one for all they give on the field.”
She added that the players did what they did as safely as possible.
“They were following social distancing protocol.”