chicago news

Thieves steal vehicle, equipment from beloved Chicago sports coach 

Ernest Radcliffe has been coaching and mentoring Chicago’s South Side youth for more than 20 years. Over the weekend, he became the victim of a crime

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A local baseball coach is speaking out after his car was stolen in Chicago’s Morgan Park neighborhood, NBC Chicago’s Lexi Sutter reports.

Coach Ernest Radcliffe was loading up his vehicle, preparing to head to baseball practice on Saturday evening, when two young men approached him.

“My mind was… 'I don’t want to get shot.' I didn’t say it, but I didn’t want to get shot,” Radcliffe said.

Radcliffe’s vehicle was parked outside his home, near the intersection of 61st and Ellis, just steps away from the University of Chicago campus.

Radcliffe is the baseball coach at Morgan Park High School, the director of the Show Travel baseball program, and the director of the South Side Wolfpack football program. He’s been coaching for over 20 years.

Everything he needs to coach his teams was inside his vehicle: his computer, calendar notes, bats, balls, apparel, and more.

Police say one man got out of a vehicle and entered Radcliffe's vehicle before fleeing the scene. The case remains under investigation.

“I am trying to mentally be strong about this, but this is a situation nobody should ever be in,” he said.

A parent of one of his player’s was notified a box of baseball apparel was found in the middle of a residential street shortly after his car was stolen. Coach Radcliffe was able to retrieve some of the uniforms, but the rest of his gear is gone.

“We are an inner-city program and we try to do the best we can,” he said. “Making sure our young people have the best stuff and everything, so it gets costly.”

Radcliffe is now on the hook to replace the equipment so his players can get back to practicing this weekend.

Though this crime is a set-back, he said it won’t keep him from continuing his mission of helping hundreds of Chicago’s kids each year. 

He believes similar programs could have helped the young men who commited the crime.

“These were young guys that probably need guidance. Probably, if they were in a program of positive environment, playing sports, with some discipline, they probably wouldn’t be out there doing this,” Radcliffe said of the crime. “We can’t save them all, but we can try and save as many as we can.”

If you want to help Radcliffe, email NBC 5 reporter Lexi Sutter at

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