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A Permanent Seat to the Game

Roadrunner Baseball Pays Tribute to Former Manager Rayburn

By GARY STALLARD

AC Athletics

What started as a young Angelina College student with a passion for baseball eventually evolved into a full-time role with the Roadrunner baseball team – and a permanent seat in the program’s hearts.

Tyler Rayburn was sitting outside the press box during an AC baseball game one spring day in 2014, keeping a scorebook the way he’d done since he was a child. An AC official noticed his knowledge of the game and his meticulous stat-keeping, and in no time, Tyler had his own reserved seat in the press box as the official statistician.

In fact, Tyler once insisted a man remove himself from Tyler’s reserved seat.

The man? Only the Angelina College president, Dr. Larry Phillips.

 Phillips graciously acquiesced, but he’d get the seat the very next season, when Roadrunner head coach Jeff Livin brought Tyler into the dugout as a team manager.

For the next two seasons, Tyler was an integral part of the team. During one playoff run, the ‘Runners pulled off a big win in late innings. When the players ran to celebrate, many of them ran straight to Tyler.

Tyler would finish his time at Angelina College, eventually transferring to Stephen F. Austin State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Communications.

Sadly, Tyler passed away unexpectedly in January of 2023, leaving behind his wife Tracy, his loving family – and an empty seat in the press box.

On Saturday, March 23, Livin and the Roadrunner baseball program paid tribute to Tyler, with father Steve Rayburn throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to AC’s doubleheader with TCS Post Grad. Livin presented the family with a framed photo of Tyler – looking out over the field from the dugout, of course – that will take its permanent place in the AC baseball press box, along with a plaque commemorating Tyler’s time as a Roadrunner.

There’s no doubt the guy absolutely earned his permanent place with the program.

The email address for AC’s Sports Information Director is gstallard@angelina.edu.

Photo captions:

Tyler Rayburn (Graphic):

Tyler Rayburn, shown here during a 2015 baseball game, was the subject of the Angelina College baseball team’s tribute on Saturday. Rayburn, who passed away in 2023, served as the team manager for two full seasons. (Gary Stallard/AC Athletics photo)

Family Group:

Angelina College baseball coaches Jeff Livin (far right) and Dylan Murphy (far left) pose with members of the Rayburn family during Saturday’s pre-game ceremony. The Roadrunners honored former manager Tyler Rayburn, who passed away in 2023, in a tribute prior to the doubleheader at Poland Field. (Gary Stallard/AC Athletics photo)