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carl rice

SoS Sportsmen of Stanislaus Club
2019 Inducted As Contributor

Carl Rice started playing handball at the SOS in Modesto in 1983.  Over the years he learned two things: 1) there isn’t a ball he couldn’t, and wouldn’t, try to kill; and 2) handball somehow became very important in his life.  Twenty-five years later Carl felt the need to give back to handball.

In searching for the best way to do this Carl credits a meeting with Sol Aber at a SOS Memorial Day Tournament.  Sol was so enthusiastic about how he was teaching juniors the perfect game at the San Jose Y that Carl couldn’t wait to try this himself.

This was a natural choice for Carl since he already had experience coaching Little League, Pony League, high school, and AAU youth baseball.  He reached out to his grandson, Garrett, and his friends in the Riverbank Pony League and the SOS youth handball program was started in 2006. It wasn’t long before the adult players started “coaching” the kids.  It is important to have assistance in this area, but it was Carl who drove the program.  He was the one who:  kept in constant contact with the kids with phone and email trees; arranging entry accommodations with the SOS management; setting practice schedules; driving the kids to and from the courts; and bringing drinks and snacks.  And this is just for Monday, Wednesday and Saturday practices at the SOS.  Arranging travel accommodations for travel to tournaments was also Carl’s sole responsibility.

Over the past 15 years he normally tutors between five and eight new players each season.  His source for new talent comes from his network he has developed:  past players, current players, and other coaches of other sports.  Including his current crop of new players, his current roster consists of two girls in junior college, four girls in high school, three boys in college, ten boys in junior college, and five boys in high school.

Many of his kids will travel to tournaments outside Modesto, and for the past ten years he has taken an average of eight to ten players to the USHA Junior Nationals. They have accumulated many medals in the A, B and consolation levels, but also won over 20 1st place division title medals with David Sanchez III and Luis Bustos doing most of the "heavy lifting" according to Carl. Five players have at least one national title. Not all his players stay in the game, but many do.  Two of his notable protégés are David Sanchez (now with the OC), and Luis Bustos.

Carl gives credit and thanks to his family, foremost, and to the old SOS sponsors, and his volunteer coaching staff for their support.  He says his success is more about our handball family than him.  The kids won the titles, the coaches coached them and the USHA and NCHA’s sponsors sponsored them.  There have been many fun times and they have learned a little about life along the way, and he has gotten back much more than he’s given.

His future motivation is to keep giving back to handball doing what he can to keep handball players playing handball.

Congratulations to Carl Rice, 2019 Hall of Fame as a Contributor.