After two of the most successful seasons Ascension Christian baseball has ever experienced in their young program's history, head coach Conrad Gayle has decided to step away.
After two of the most successful seasons Ascension Christian baseball has ever experienced in their young program’s history, head coach Conrad Gayle has decided to step away.
Gayle enjoyed the many accomplishments of his Lion teams, but the grind of being a head coach wore on him. He also felt it was time he focused on the two most important jobs in his life: being a husband and father.
“They offered me a full-time coaching position, but after just sitting down and thinking about everything, I felt it was best for me to step away,” Gayle said. “I have a ton of respect for Ascension Christian and definitely Mark Pellegrin (school superintendent).
“I’m so thankful for the opportunity to coach there, but I thought it was time to start a new chapter in my life. I have a great family and a great job as a salesman for Louisiana CAT that I’m excited about. There were no hard feelings between me and the school.”
Gayle was hired back in 2016.
Before he took over the Lions, he served as an assistant coach in Chris Schexnaydre’s Dutchtown staff for five years. He was also the head coach for Ascension’s Gauthier & Amedee American Legion team for two seasons.
Ascension Christian had their greatest season in school history in Gayle’s first year.
The Lions went 20-9 during the regular season and finished second in District 6-1A. Along the way, they beat Ascension Catholic for the first time in two years, and they defeated both St. John and Episcopal for the first time ever.
They went on to the playoffs, where they won the program’s first postseason game and reached the state quarterfinals.
“It wasn’t because of me. Those guys did it,” Gayle said. “It was really special, and we still talk about that game till this day. I hold that team and that game close to my heart. I’m extremely proud of what we accomplished; I’m proud of the guys.”
This past season, the Lions went 24-9 and took second-seeded Ouachita Christian to three games in the first-round best-of-three playoff series.
Overall, Gayle finished his tenure at Ascension Christian with an overall record of 46-21.
“I’m going to really miss the relationships with the kids. They’re all like my little brothers,” Gayle said. “That’s what kept me up at night when I was making this decision: thinking about not coaching those guys each day. I’ll miss them, but I’ll still be around. I’m still going to keep up with them, and I’ll always be just a phone call away.”
When Gayle took over, he said that he wanted the program to take the next step and compete.
“I definitely think we did that. We left everything on the field each time we came out,” Gayle said. “As a coach, you always want to leave the program in better shape than when you found it, and I think we did that. We got a lot of help from a lot of different people. Mark Pellegrin was great. He’s done so much for me and my family.
“This school and athletic department continue to grow, and I’m still a part of it. My two kids still go there, and they’ll one day graduate from there. It’s a special place.”
Even though Gayle will no longer be the coach at Ascension Christian, he still has the upmost admiration for the program and the school.
“Words can’t describe how much I enjoyed my time there. I have so much respect for the kids, for the other coaches and for the parents,” Gayle said. “I built some great relationships. I’m really blessed for that.
“I just wanted to be a husband and a father right now. I don’t want to say I’m not gonna coach again, because I think I will, but for now, I’m gonna walk away, enjoy my family and watch some of my buddies coach.”