Roger Cador won’t die in a Southern uniform. He simply refuses.
After 32 years at the helm of Southern baseball, Cador watched the program grow out of a stolen grocery basket filled with nothing but a few dirty uniforms and a handful of used balls to become one of the most successful historically black college programs in the country.
In 1987, Southern became the first HBCU to win a game in the NCAA tournament. In 2003, Rickie Weeks won the the Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the nation’s top amateur player.
Cador is a legend in the baseball community, but all things come to an end. Cador just hopes it’s on his own terms, whenever that may be.
“I’m not looking to die (in this position),” he said. “Now, I may go out tomorrow and die, but that’s not my goal. My goal is not to die in this program. And I’m not going to hold over this program and make them think it’s my program. I want that to be known. I have no plan of dying in this program.”
Cador has been open about his exit strategy. The Jaguars are struggling to get out from under the NCAA’s thumb after the lack of institutional control ruling it handed down last year. In preparation for the ruling, Cador purged his roster before the start of last season, which helped limit the number of scholarships the Jaguars lost.
Barring any further issues, Southern should be back to the normal amount by 2018, Cador said, with a few more years to rebuild. Once the program is on its feet again, Cador plans to evaluate where he is and make a decision about when is the best time to relinquish control.
“I don’t want to say I’m out of here, but I think after two or three years I would like to have an evaluation,” Cador said. “I think we’ll be able to sit down with whoever is A.D. — if (interim athletic director Roman Banks) is not here — and I’ll be able to re-evaluate where I am, and once I feel comfortable the program is where it should be and we can hand the baton off, then I’ll be prepared to do that.”
Cador and Banks have had preliminary discussions about Cador’s future with the program over the past year. Banks credits Cador for his long career, saying he can’t imagine coaching for another 30 years himself. He also understands everything Cador has done for the program and university over the years.
But Banks agreed with Cador’s assessment that it would be time to consider retirement once the program is secured.
“You want to respect their legacy,” Banks said. “You appreciate everything they’ve done for your program and for the university. You’d like to see them walk away on their own terms. I think that’s what Cador is looking at. ... Everyone would like to walk away with a championship or something like that, and I don’t know if the rebuilding would get there that soon, but he would like to see it in a good place.”
Cador’s main concern with retirement is Southern not being able to draw in a quality replacement with so many issues surrounding the program. Southern needs a fundraiser who will keep the program afloat once he’s gone, because the last thing Cador wants to do is continue raising money.
Both Banks and Cador agreed that, while it would be good for Cador to give input on the hiring process, it would ultimately be the decision of the administration.
“I don’t want to hire a coach, but I would like to have input,” Cador said. “I think (the athletic director) deserves to hire his own coach because that coach has to work with him, not with me.”
What Cador does want to do is travel to see all of the friends he has made through his three decades of service. He wants to travel to places as far away as China or Thailand, and he has spoken with Major League Baseball about helping with certain programs in Central and South America.
Cador isn’t sure what the future holds, but he certainly knows what it doesn’t hold.
“I won’t be sitting in a rocking chair, twiddling my thumbs,” he said. “I’ll be moving. With me not being married, I’m single, my son is grown — I can do a lot of stuff.”