His team members hustled and worked together as every team coached by Mike Ratley has done for 31 years.
And although his team didn’t win, Coach Ratley went out on top, having received the great honor from his fellow coaches to serve as head coach of the girls East team during the NC High School Athletic Association’s East West Alll-Star game, which was played Monday night in Greensboro.
MIke Ratley, who retired at the end of the 2012 season, went out a winner because his players played their hearts out and busted their butts for him. They played as all Ratley coached teams had played during his carreer, scrambling, focused, hustling, fighting to the end.
The East fell to the West 82 to 65, but that did nothing to dampen the occasion of culminating a long and illustrious career by coaching a team composed of the state’s finest members of the class of 2012 from the state’s finest basketball teams.
At SPHS, Coach Ratley compiled not only great records and achievemnets, he left a legacy of mutual respect and trust that he forged with every player on every team.
While he coached golf teams, helping SPHS win many Wachovia Cups for overall athletic excellence in conference play, and assisted as footbal coach for many seasons, and as coach of the school’s softball teams, where he won a state championship, his love and passion was girls basketball.
His overall basketball career record stands at 409 wins and 149 losses. In getting to that number of wins, Ratley-coached teams won 15 regular season basketball titles, 12 Robeson County tournament titles, made seven state playoff appearances, won two Regional titles and advanced to two state championship games. He was selected as conference Basketball Coach of the Year 10 times during that run.
His success carried over to the softball field where his girls won eight regular season titles, five Robeson County tournament titles, made five state play-off appearances, and won the regional title and then the state championship in 1983, giving SPHS its first ever state title in any sport. He earned eight Coach of the Year titles
He helped guide the SPHS Bulldog football team through some of its most successful years, from 1979 to 1998.
Ratley also received five Coach of the Year awards from The Robesonian for softball and basketball.
Despite all these accomplishments and despite all the accolades, including being selected as coach of the state’s East All-Star team, Coach Ratley remained dedicated, from game one 31 years ago, to one goal—teaching young student athletes how to be their very best so they could contribute to their team, their school, their community and to themselves.
For Coach MIke Ratley, it was always all about the students he taught and sincerely cared about.