E.A. Sports Today

Honoring a legend

Oxford baseball honors former coach Bussey, remembered as ‘great at any sport he played’

Oxford principal Heath Harmon reads the inscription on a plaque that will be placed in Oxford’s dugout honoring former coach Randy Bussey. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today
OXFORD – George Randy “The Legend” Bussey passed away in October and his legacy is still being talked about whenever Oxford players and fans gather to talk about the good times.
His former Oxford High School baseball teammates and players put together a day to honor him Saturday at Bud McCarty Field before the current varsity took on a pair of out-of-state opponents as part of the Choccolocco Spring Break Experience.
That in itself speaks a lot about the legend of Randy Bussey.
Bussey was a dominant player and coach and anything else he set his mind to doing. He led his Babe Ruth team to a state championship, his high school team to the state finals in 1978 and then came back as a part-time coach to lead his alma mater to the state finals in 1989.
“He was great at any sport he played,” said 1978 teammate Wayne Yates. “We had some great times together and Randy could do it all and could carry our team. He was the catcher and pitcher in an era where the high school teams would only play some 20 games a year. He was 25-4 on the mound over his four years at Oxford High School.
“He was a left-handed catcher, but was able to make it work. It was a time when everybody on the team grew up playing together and Randy was the leader on our Babe Ruth team that won the state championship in 1976 in Hartselle.”
The 1979 Yellow Jackets would go all the way to the state finals where they lost to private school UMS-Wright.
Bussey would sign with Alabama out of high school, but transferred to Gadsden State in 1981 and 1982. His 1981 team would win the Alabama State Junior College state championship and in 1982 they would finish runner-up.
The string of success would continue as he moved to Jacksonville State, where he and his teammates would finish runner-up in the 1983 Division II College World Series. He played first base for the Gamecocks.
Bussey then became an assistant baseball coach at Oxford for five years while holding down a full-time job. When head coach Paul Davis resigned in 1987, Bussey became the head coach. 
His third team in 1989 made it the state finals and lost at Escambia County 7-6 and 8-5. They made it to the finals with a 5-3 win over Emma Samson, a 5-1 victory over Sparkman, an 8-2 win over Haleyville and beating Cullman two games to one in a best-of-three series.
Life moved on for Bussey and he eventually got back into coaching again at Sacred Heart as the baseball coach from 2008-2012 with his brother Don Skinner.
“Randy was just a typical Oxford guy,” current Oxford athletics director Larry Davidson said. “His family all went to Oxford and they played all the sports and just loved Oxford High School and did everything they could to support their team.
“He had three brothers and I coached two of them, as I got here right after Randy graduated. It was great to work alongside of him, when he was coaching baseball. It was a great idea, when his teammates put together this plan to honor Randy and put a plaque in the dugout to forever honor his memory and what he has meant to Oxford High School.”
The current varsity completed the celebration by sweeping its doubleheader, beating Grove City (Ohio) 17-4 and Hamburg (N.Y.) 16-6. The games were the first the Yellow Jackets have played on their on-campus field since April 2015.

Jake Spivey, the Jackets’ catcher who wears Bussey’s No. 16 and is good friends with the family, had a big day with five hits, a homer and 10 RBIs in the twinbill.

Randy Bussey would have liked that.

Family, friends and former teammates and players gathered at Bud McCarty Field to honor the memory of former Oxford coach Randy Bussey Saturday. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

To see more pictures from the celebration visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

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