by: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (email@example.com)
Rice Athletics' associate director of facilities and event management Cody Moles may be just 18-months on the job, but he already has one of the most unique Rice work experiences from his childhood to help him...
Usher In The New
In his job with the Rice Athletics Facilities Office, Moles (27) is an administrative liaison for various Owl teams and their respective stadiums, fields and/or courts. The wide spectrum of responsibilities ranges from overseeing a facility's upkeep to potential rental usage or to even the extreme -- prepping the different Rice Athletics venues for the impact of Hurricane Harvey last fall or the rare Houston ice storm that hit the city in January.
The hours working in athletics facilities can be as long and strenuous as any in intercollegiate athletics, but without any of the applause and accolades from fans. It helps if the employees undertaking the unsung labor of love have a history with the institution and its workings. In that area it's hard to top Cody Moles at Rice.
Almost two full decades before he officially joined the Athletics Department as a full-time employee, Moles began his long-affinity with Rice by serving as a bat boy for the Owls' baseball team. He was in fact a bat boy during the historic 2003 season when the Owls won the NCAA National Championship.
"It's true," said Moles, now a college graduate with a wife, house payments, and many of the grown-up mileposts in the land of adulthood. "My very first work experience at Rice was the bat boy when I was 9 or 10 years old. I started in the 2000 season and did it all the way up to 2003 when the team won the National Championship. I was the bat boy in Omaha, worked in the dugout and rode the bus with the team -- the whole thing. It was a great experience."
Moles was at a very young age when he was able to learn what college graduates learn about entering the work force. Utilizing your connections, as much as your work ethic, can go a long way to getting that first foot in the door to that dream job. It also helps if one's contact is so widely-held in the highest of regards.
"Neither my parents, not my grandparents, went to Rice," Moles explained. "My grandfather though, Joe Welsh, asked one day if I wanted to be the bat boy."
"He wasn't a Rice grad, but he worked here for years and years as an usher at all the sporting events," Moles added. "That was perfect for him because he was a sports fan and always enjoyed meeting people. He worked at Rice a long time and ended-up overseeing all the ushers. Whether it was football, basketball, baseball, soccer or volleyball, he loved going to all the games and always wanted to meet as many student-athletes as he could. He became a part of the Rice community."
Mr. Welsh had a great affinity for Rice, and the feeling was mutual. His grandson became the bat boy, complete with the perks of that unique job. There still was one part of the job, however, that was as elusive for Moles as it is for the majority for those who spend a lifetime in college baseball -- a trip to Omaha. A lesson from 2003 is that even for as certain as things seem, there's always going to be something that has to work itself out or simply has to fall into place.
"I was a bat boy for great Rice teams but initially I never went with them to Omaha," Moles said. "I was supposed to go in 2002, and it just didn't work out for whatever reasons. In 2002 told my parents, `next year, I really want to go because we're going to be even better.'
"For me and the team, everything in 2003 finally fell into place," Moles said. "Rice hosted U.H. in the Super Regional that year, and right before the series I reminded my dad, I want to go this time. He said `we'll see.' The Super Regional went to three games and it was a great series. As we were driving home my dad, who is not even a Rice grad said, `we're definitely going to make that trip to Omaha.'
"I was playing Little League at the time and it was great experience being around those Rice players. It was helpful for me as a young baseball player and I enjoyed everyone on those teams. I really liked Austin Davis, Paul Janish and A.J. Porfirio, and I still do. Interacting with Josh Baker was always a blast. It's fun to see them all these years later and tell them I now work at Rice."
It's been a number of years for the players on the National Championship team, so how about the other side of that coin? How does it feel for those former Owls to learn their former bat boy is a key figure in the Athletics Facilities Office with a significant responsibility at their former home of Reckling Park.
"It's another affirmation that I'm getting up there in years," laughed former Owl National Champion Paul Janish, now a Rice assistant coach in his first season back with the program in 2018 after a major league career. "It doesn't seem like it was that long ago, but he's not the bat boy he's grown man. It does seem like that happened fast, there's no question about it.
"It has been good to get reacquainted, this time both of us now as employees," Janish said. "It's cool that he grew up having an affiliation with the University and now works here. It's a big deal working where he does, behind the scenes to make sure everything is operating. He has had a vested interest in the University for a long time and wants things to run correctly."
Moles originally entered the Oil & Gas Industry upon his graduation from Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas. He first returned to Rice in September of 2016 as a maintenance coordinator, but has been promoted to the Athletics Facilities staff of four full-time employees under Elias Canales.
Like his grandfather Joe Welsh, Moles is uniquely the right person in the right spot. In another way it's similar to 2003, the year when all the right pieces were assembled in the proper place.
"I really enjoy the work, and it's always a little bit different week-to-week," Moles said. "It can be quite a lot of ground and structures to cover, but I'm at Rice and I wouldn't have it any other way."