As many of you have no doubt heard, Linfield’s former athletic director, our dear friend, teacher, coach, and mentor, Scott Raftery, known as “Raf” to so many, went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, February 23. Just reading a few posts on his Facebook page or messages left on the Caring Bridge website proves that this is a man who deeply affected the lives of countless students. They use words like “your class changed my life”, “favorite teacher”, “smile for everyone”, “genuine care”, “huge impact”, “inspiring”…the list goes on and on.
Scott came to Linfield in 1988. In addition to changing lives in the classroom, he was instrumental in creating and/or building on traditions in student life like the Great Race, Winter Mountain Seminar, and Grad Nite. He was also named CIF-SS Coach of the Year four times, as well as CIF-SS Athletic Director of the Year and entered the Citrus Belt Athletic Directors Association Hall of Fame in 2010.
Linfield History teacher, Mr. Bruce Ralston remembers Raf…
“What is it that we remember when we think of Scott Raftery? Was it his leadership as athletic director for sixteen years as he guided our sports programs to higher levels? Was it his tenure as the head girls’ softball coach as he directed those teams to four CIF softball championships and three runner-up plaques in fourteen years? Yes, but Scott was so much more than an excellent coach and administrator. For so many of us he was Raf. He was not just a colleague but a friend. He was an ambassador for the school. He loved Linfield and I know he loved the Lions. In many ways he was Mr. Linfield.
But besides his various roles in and out of the classroom what we remember the most is his joy of living. We all know that Scott enjoyed people, was others centered and liked to laugh. He seemed to be always upbeat. He could have you holding your sides within minutes of entering the room. He had funny catch phrases and nicknames for just about any fellow teacher, student or player. For me it was “Papa Bear”. When you spent time with Scott you always felt he thought of you as one of his best friends. This joy of living was seen in the classroom and on the softball diamond. Whether it was discussing current events from the L.A. Times or his routine of hitting an invisible softball to players in warm-ups, he knew that sports and learning had to be fun. He loved his students and his players. Each year he coached softball he felt he was given 14-15 daughters that he was entrusted with to guide and direct in more than just how to hit a softball or how to turn a double play. He was investing in their lives and creating memories.
Three of those memories stand-out for me personally. One was from Winter Mountain Seminar. Who can forget Scott dressed up like a Disney character with a Merlin hat and Mickey Mouse gloves to introduce the students to the Disney Lip-Sync contest. Kids would just roar with enthusiasm and laughter. A second was when he was asked to pray. His insightfulness and choice of words challenged me to develop a deeper prayer life. Finally, it was when he took time away from coaching to watch his son Justin play high school baseball. He didn’t know over the years that I was watching from nearby as he demonstrated his love for both his sons Shane and Justin in fully supporting all their endeavors while they attended Linfield.
Scott lived an amazing life even though it ends too soon. I have realized that Scott indeed lived his life wonderfully. He was such a good and faithful servant. His legacy lives on in so many of us – We can all learn a lesson from Scott to invest in people for eternity. Scott, we will miss your infectious laugh and joy. I know all of us will forever be grateful to have known Scott. He truly believed that nothing in this world can be accomplished without joy and passion. He truly touched so many lives. What an indelible mark he has made on those who knew him.”
A celebration of Scott’s life takes place Saturday, March 2, at 11 a.m., at Sunridge Community Church 42299 Winchester Road in Temecula.
Attendees are encouraged to wear something that reminds them of Scott (i.e., Disney, Linfield, athletics, etc.) In lieu of sending flowers, the family has requested a donation to the Roy and Patricia Disney Cancer Center.
Read more tributes for Scott Raftery here: