The Portland sports community lost an all-time great this week, with the death of Roy Love.
Love, 82, passed away Monday at his home in Tigard and had dedicated a good part of his life to athletics at Portland State University.
He has been a mentor and a friend of mine throughout much of my life.
A Cleveland High School graduate, Love was a pitcher on Portland State’s baseball team from 1955-59 and then its head baseball coach from 1962-74. During that time, he spent five seasons as an assistant football coach and was also a golf coach at the university. He became the athletic director at PSU from 1975-86 and then after a short retirement, returned to the same position from 1988-93.
First and foremost, though, he was a baseball coach. He compiled a 257-215 record over 13 seasons and had eight teams in postseason play. His 1967 team won the pacific coast NCAA College Division championship – a division that no longer exists and one that did not have playoffs that extended beyond the regional level. His 1962 team finished second in the nation at the NAIA level.
He was old school, a fiery leader who didn’t hold anything back with his players or the men charged with umpiring his games. He was the kind of coach who pushed hard and often his players didn’t realize how impactful he was on their lives until later – when they looked back and realized how much he cared about them and what his discipline taught them.
He was also the long-time co-director of the popular Metro Baseball Camp at Alpenrose Dairy, where he worked with thousands of the area's Little League players.
During his tenure as AD, PSU teams won four national championships in volleyball and two in wrestling, five league championships in football and many others in baseball and women’s basketball.
Portland State moved up from NAIA through NCAA college division, Division II and Division 1-AA. He was inducted into the Portland State Hall of Fame and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.
He was also known for his ability to find and lure high-quality coaches to PSU, which didn’t exactly have a lot of money to pay its coaches. His coaching hires included Mouse Davis, Don Read, Pokey Allen, Jack Dunn, Jeff Mozzochi, Teri Mariani, Marlin Grahn and Greg Bruce.
And on a personal level, I would add that he once hired me to be his junior varsity baseball coach – putting his faith in a young guy who would be coaching players older than he was. I’m not sure I would have finished college without that job.
Roy was a personal mentor and a role model, a man who often advised his players with just two words to guide them on and off the field – “Do right,” he would say.
And Roy Love himself always did that. He was a great coach, a great leader and a great man.
A celebration of life will take place in mid-July, with details announced later.