Richland Volleyball Coach dresses the part - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Richland Volleyball Coach dresses the part

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RICHLAND, Wash. - You could call him a drill seargent, and you wouldn't be far off. Bombers volleyball coach Bob Raidl, a former drill seargent instructor, has become known around the area for wearing his army fatigues to the matches, a tribute to his lifelong service to our country.
"After I got out of the service it was hard to let go," said Raidl. "I thought by wearing the gear I was identifying with my friends still in the service. Some of the best people I've ever met are in the service and in athletics."
Raidl's sideline appearance may seem odd to some.
"They say, 'Oh who's GI Joe over there?'"
But Raidl has his reasons, and they run deep.
"My parents were both immigrants," said Raidl. "My grandfather was in the first World War in the Austrian army.  Dad was a forced laborer taken from his home in Czechoslovakia and forced to build tanks in the German army. It's ironic I'm a Bomber because B17s were maybe bombing my Dad in World War 2. I always had feeling of patriotism."
Raidl was drafted in 1970. He willingly went back into the reserves in the eighties, serving as a drill seargent and intelligence agent.
"There are things you can't really train for in the military," he said. "Getting shot at is one of them."
Raidl eventually settled in the Tri-Cities working out at Hanford as a hydro-geoligist and a coach for the Bombers. The players were a bit leery at first.
"When I told them I was a drill seargent, they were like 'Oh how mean are you?'"
"It's kind of funny to think about, because he's such a nice guy," said sr. Katie Gauglitz.  "He never yells. We kind of play it up and have fun with it."
"I think I did it originally for me, but at the same time it seemed like something they enjoyed." said Raidl.
At 59, Seargant First Class Bob Raidl is now retired, but his mission is just beginning. He starts practices by wirting character goals on a white board. They march to cadence and do pushups as a team. His players often ask him about his military days.
"We've all really learned that you have to be together, just like in combat," said sr. Liz Judy.
"Leadership is a major quality in sports and in the army," said Gauglitz.
"If you can transfer some life experience to the girls, like work ethic or mental toughness, you're gonna help them more than just teaching volleyball." said Raidl.
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