Spotlight: Gilmore's passion evident for Iowa baseball program

BY MATT COZZI | APRIL 25, 2011 7:20 AM

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When Ray Gilmore was 6 years old, he jumped on the chance to become Iowa's batboy.

Thirty-four years later, the lifelong Hawkeye fan has remained involved with the Iowa baseball program in one capacity or another.

"My mom would bring me out to the Iowa games," Gilmore, 40, said. "And one time when we were playing UNI, I asked their coach, 'Hey coach can I be your batboy?' After that game, Coach [Duane] Banks pulled me to the side and said 'Come back tomorrow; you're our batboy now.' "

Banks, who coached Iowa from 1970-1997, is the school's all-time winningest coach.

As Gilmore grew older, he took on numerous other roles for the Hawkeyes. He has worked the scoreboard, done play-by-play over the public-address system at Banks Field, and tallied statistics in the official score book. Currently, he is the official scorer and enters stats online.

For Gilmore, all the "work" has been fun. The baseball fan is the manager of North Dodge Sinclair, but in the spring, he spends most of his time around the Iowa baseball team.

"This is my fun job in the springtime," he said. "I've been lucky enough with the jobs I've had, they've been able to work with me … it's worked out pretty good."

Growing up, Gilmore's experiences and spending time with Iowa coaches and players helped him mature as a person, he said.

Being around Banks and staff proved to be a crucial time in his life. Gilmore's father passed away before he and his mother moved to Iowa City when he was 5 years old.

"Coach Banks was a father figure for me," Gilmore said. "I learned a lot of things being around the baseball team. It helped me grow up and make me who I am today."

Matt Wigim, Gilmore's nephew and current Hawkeye scoreboard operator, said Uncle Ray has essentially become part of the team. Gilmore estimated that he's been entering stats for 10 years.

"[The team] definitely influences his moods," Wigim said and laughed. "He's happy when they win, and when they lose, you kind of want to keep your distance from him."

Aside from Banks, Gilmore has worked under former skipper Scott Broghamer and current Hawkeye head coach Jack Dahm.

Following his hiring in July 2003, Dahm said he didn't even think twice about having Gilmore continue his work with the program. The eighth-year Hawkeye skipper said Gilmore asked him whether he could still work under Dahm's leadership, by which Dahm responded, "Of course."

"Two words come to mind when talking about Ray — loyalty and passion," Dahm said. "He's one of the most passionate and loyal guys around. Our players love him. He's extremely dedicated to Iowa baseball."

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