Clark calls Randolph best he’s ever coached; number is first to be retired
By Devon Jeffreys
On Friday, Feb. 2, the Flagler Saints basketball program will give the ultimate honor to the ultimate player when they retire the jersey of Flagler legend John Randolph.
“We’re never going to use No. 11 again,” Coach Bo Clark said. “When I order uniforms next year, there will be no No. 11.”
The humble Randolph said he told Clark to wait until he had kids to do it, but Clark insisted.
“I think it’s really cool, though,” Randolph said.
The idea to retire the number came from Clark, who had a strong relationship with Randolph when Randolph was a player and maintains a relationship with him to this day.
“John is the type of guy that just comes in here all the time and I really enjoy seeing him,” Clark said. “He’s almost kind of like another son to me.”
Randolph, a two-time NAIA All American, holds several Flagler records including most points scored (2,073), most free throws made (632) and most steals (283).
“He was always that much better than everyone else,” former teammate Bo Gooch said.
“I just tried to be better than the next person,” Randolph said. “I was trying to better myself and get to the next level and I’m still trying to do that.”
Randolph is currently weighing his options between playing overseas or in the IBL with Central Oregon again.
Randolph came to Flagler from St. Augustine High School. He said his choice came down to Flagler, Florida State and Auburn, but Flagler made the most sense.
“John comes from such a solid family foundation,” Clark said. “His parents were here at every game. I think that it really meant a lot to his parents to have him close to home. It was his opportunity to be a big fish in a little pond.”
Gooch believes that Randolph is one of the biggest reasons why Flagler is now an NCAA Div. II program, even though Randolph graduated two years before the move.
“In his four seasons here, everything went to the next level,” Gooch said. “Him being here is one of the things that put us over the top. He helped with recruiting, too. Everyone wants to play with good teammates.”
According to Clark, Randolph was influential in all three NAIA National Tournament teams, even if he did only play on two of them.
“A lot of the success was because of him,” Clark said. “I think John playing brought other players here. Carlton Summers and Darrell Freeman, they saw him and said, ‘Hey this Randolph kid is pretty good. We could have a pretty good team.’”
Randolph never averaged less than 16 points per game while playing, but according to Clark, Randolph’s ability to lead was one of the most important things about his game.
“I think that was his biggest strength,” Clark said. “John really led by example. In his five seasons here he was only late for practice once.”
“He was like a superhero,” former teammate Robbie Reyes said. “And super approachable off the court. He just does things that you have no idea how he pulled it off. Coming in as a freshman, I was just in awe. He welcomed me with open arms and we’re still friends to this day.”
According to Reyes, Randolph wasn’t the most vocal leader, but he made everyone one else better.
“We always knew we had a chance to win,” Reyes said.
Reyes believes that today’s Flagler program is molded around the type of character Randolph is and was.
“In the four years that I was here, I always felt that all the players had a ‘do what it takes to win’ mentality,” Reyes said. “I think he was at the front of establishing that. I came in and that’s how it was and that’s how it stayed.”
“I think it was only fitting that we retire his number,” Clark said.