When teams win the Blue Trophy, coaches always celebrate with them. The good coaches will tell their athletes this should be a great memory in their life and not the pinnacle of their life.
Kyle Alsup, former Goddard baseball player and two-time state champion, has taken that advice and made a life out of giving to others. Alsup made himself a great baseball player in high school and college.
When RDR Sports reached out to his college baseball coach, Phil Clabaugh, former coach at Eastern New Mexico University, Clabaugh spoke about how important Kyle was in the growth of a second-year baseball program at the college level.
Alsup’s success started at home because he had two loving parents, with a father that pushed him to be the best he could be. His father, Don Alsup, was a former Big 12 baseball player at the University of Colorado.
Don Alsup expected his son to give his best in everything, and not to be lazy but to pursue his goals with a winner’s attitude. Kyle Alsup’s father coached him hard and loved him hard to make him a better player. On Kyle Alsup’s birthday in ninth grade, his father bought him a weight set and the two worked out together and talked about baseball and life.
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Mike Ridings effect
Goddard coach Mike Ridings had a profound effect on Kyle Alsup as a player. He learned intensity and toughness from Ridings, who was the first coach Kyle Alsup had that got on him. He remembers being a sophomore at practice one day and the wind was blowing 50 mph. He went up to Ridings and asked if they were going to practice in the wind. Ridings gave him an incredulous look and said, “Yes, we are. Why not? It’s a day to get better.”
“We all loved coach Ridings,” Kyle Alsup said. “He was the first real coach that got on you and pushed you hard. He taught you how to work hard, he pushed you. We didn’t go out to practice and go half-speed, or you’d hear from him. I owe him a lot.”
Kyle Alsup received a scholarship to play at Eastern New Mexico University. ENMU was in their second year of baseball and there was a moment of doubt during his freshman year.
Kyle Alsup didn’t think he was good enough to play at ENMU, so he called home and told his dad his thoughts. Don Alsup told him to get back out there, that he could play at ENMU.
“Kyle could hit from the get-go,” Clabaugh said. “I moved him to third base so he could play. He started on our best team at ENMU. Kyle was so instrumental in the development of the program. He was tough mentally and one of the building blocks to the program. He’s a great all-around guy.”
Kyle Alsup went back out there, and in his freshman year, had 13 hits and scored 17 runs while knocking in six RBIs and batting .232 in 24 games, striking out only once.
In his sophomore year, he batted .328, with eight doubles, two triples, three home runs, and scored 37 runs and added 21 RBIs.
In his junior year, Kyle Alsup was moved to third base, started 43 games, batted .352 with 58 hits and scored 33 runs. He had 38 RBIs with 10 doubles, three home runs, and led ENMU to a winning record, 29-25.
“What I learned is all you want is an opportunity to play,” Kyle Alsup said. “Then it’s up to you if you want to work hard enough and you’re tough enough mentally to do it. I had the ability to do it, but no one could do it for me.”
As a senior, Kyle Alsup led ENMU to a 34-19 record and batted .320 with 31 RBIs, 13 doubles, a triple and one home run. He had multiple four-game hits and is in the top 10 in most statistical categories at ENMU, including a career batting average of over .300.
“I personally think Kyle ought to be in the ENMU Hall of Honors,” Clabaugh said. “I think he is being overlooked. Kyle was the biggest-name in-state kid we had signed in our two-year existence.”
Baseball has taken Kyle Alsup places he’s never dreamed of. He’s competed against the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State and Texas Tech, to name a few. He has traveled to Nevada and Florida among other places.
“Playing college baseball was one of the best things and one of the hardest things I ever did in my life,” Kyle Alsup said. “I owe coach Clabaugh a ton. He worked us out so hard. I didn’t realize how much I learned from him while I was going through it. We (ENMU) competed every time we stepped out on the field. Coach Clabaugh challenged me every day one way or another.”
Growing up with both parents, Don and Nancy Alsup, as educators, Kyle Alsup knew that’s what he wanted to do in life. He wanted to change lives for the better through coaching and teaching. Kyle Alsup’s first job was as a science teacher at Goddard. He ended up coaching softball and soccer later. His good friend, Mark Beeman, was hired at Roswell High and asked him to come over as an assistant baseball coach. Kyle Alsup spent nine years there.
“That was a great experience,” he said. “Some of the best friends I have in life, I met at Roswell High. We weren’t near as talented as Goddard, even though we beat them a few times. We got to the semifinals one time. We had some great kids at Roswell. I love those people at Roswell.”
Kyle Alsup went back to Goddard for three years before getting out of coaching at the high school level. It seemed like a blessing in disguise because he was able to start and coach a travel team and watch his boys, Owen and Ryan, grow up and play baseball.
“I love being a dad,” Kyle Alsup said. “I love sitting down at the end and being happy for them. I have loved watching them as a dad.”
Kyle Alsup takes away from baseball knowing what it is like to be one-on-one with a pitcher and only he can hit the pitch. That’s the life lessons he tries to teach each student he encounters one by one. Learn to hit the pitch whatever that may be for that student in life.
“Teaching at Roswell for nine years and University High was the most valuable thing I have done,” he said, “not just professionally, but as a person.”
Today, Kyle Alsup is the principal at Del Norte. He’s worked his way up from an assistant principal at Sierra, then Mesa, and back to Del Norte. He fell in love with the kids and his staff and learned a lot in his four years as an assistant principal there. He credits Andrea Edmonson as being a mentor when he was an assistant principal. He likens being a principal to coaching by being able to deal with people.
Kyle Alsup has helped underprivileged kids and taught them a work ethic. He has often let kids cut grass and work with him in the summer. He has paid it forward for kids by instilling the virtues that go beyond the classroom.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better life,” he said. “Dad was hard on me, mom was a softie, but they were a perfect balance. My parents and my boys are pretty special. When I die, if they would put on my tombstone, ‘I tried to be a difference-maker and help kids. I’ve been blessed by all the great people and influences that have helped me in life.’”
For more on the 1991 and 92 state championships, see the story titled “Championships relived.” For more on Kyle Alsup, see the story “Kyle Alsup’s thoughts.”
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or firstname.lastname@example.org.