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USC lefty makes a pitch for USC Rossier program

Randy Flores, who pitched in the major leagues for the Colorado Rockies, plays several roles at USC. (Photo/Courtesy of USC Rossier School of Education)

A former Major League Baseball pitcher, Randy Flores moves and talks with athletic economy, the way Hemingway writes — not a syllable wasted. He prefers to use action words such as “See. Play. Grow. Serve. Achieve.”

One picks up a sense of restlessness in the former left-handed relief specialist — one of the most accomplished pitchers in USC history. That, added to his eight years pitching in the big leagues, including two stints with the Colorado Rockies (2002 and 2009-10), made him an excellent choice to take over as assistant coach of the USC baseball team earlier this season.

These days, Flores pursues a Master of Education in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs (ME PASA) at the USC Rossier School of Education. Juggling is an ideal word to describe Flores. He sees his role(s) as a coach, educator, administrator, father, husband and student as part of the mosaic of his life mission, which he defined as “throwing yourself wholeheartedly into everything.”

When asked how he does it all, he answered metaphorically, “You can only control the ball until it leaves your hand.”

He doesn’t see all his responsibilities as a burden. “Every day is a blessing,” he said, smiling. “It’s like winning the lottery.”

Flores enrolled in the ME PASA program because he saw it as a natural stepping-stone to his career.

“I wanted to be immersed in a professional program that would give me not only a framework for a career in higher education administration and student affairs but also professional opportunities,” he explained. “Some of the most influential people in my life were leaders of athletic programs, and I wanted to learn what made them so effective.

“I love the well-rounded aspect of the program, from the history to the legal aspects, from looking at the changes and challenges to tackling issues, such as access and equitability,” he added. “The program does an excellent job of teaching the examination of higher education and the world around it through an inquisitive, research-based eye.”

At a time when athletics and academics are in a constant tug-of-war in the minds of educators, Flores looks at the relationship between the two with hope.

“Athletics focuses on the individual,” he said. “And academics can benefit from this approach. It motivates students to aspire to something. When athletic programs are gone, you will see the difference in the students.”

Flores sees well-managed sports programs as a bridge from the classroom into the professional world.

“My goal, as coach and mentor to these young athletes, is to get them to engage the world outside the game,” he said. “When the game ends, they will know the language that translates into the real world.”

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