Jerry Nugent thought 2018 would be his last year as a head softball coach, but he’ll be back for the 2019 season — and if he can help it, he says, for the foreseeable future.
The veteran Hahnville High School head coach will be moving into an administrator’s role at the school on track to be an assistant principal, which he thought would preclude him from continuing to serve as Tigers’ coach — after he was approved at last month’s school board meeting, he told his players it would be his final year.
But he was offered the option to move into an administrative monitor role, in which he will work directly with students in the school to ensure they’re progressing as they should. A monitor’s position affords one the chance to serve that position while also coaching.
“I told (Hahnville shortstop) Bayleigh Baudouin she’d have to put up with me another year,” Nugent joked. “They offered me the option to keep coaching if I chose to. We have a good young group coming in … I wanted to come in with them and continue the culture we’ve built here with this new group.”
He said he’s maintained a goal of moving into administration for awhile.
“It’s always been the career path I was on … St. Charles Parish offers a lot of opportunity,” Nugent said. “I’ve always had that interest and they identified me as a candidate a long time ago.”
In his fourth season as the team’s head coach, Nugent guided the Tigers to a 33-4 record in 2018, along with that mark another district championship and a trip to the Class 5A state championship game. The Tigers ranked third in the nation at one point as per MaxPreps.com and shattered several school records, including virtually all team and individual offensive marks.
A difficult one-run loss in the state championship game to Ouachita Parish was painful for coaches and players alike, but Nugent said it could not erase the numerous special accomplishments his players posted over the course of the season.
“They put everything they had into our goal,” Nugent said. “It was all on the field. When you get to that level of competition, and particularly in that (championship) game, you’re in a situation where it simply can go either way.”
He said while the Tigers will lose considerable firepower with the graduation of six core senior players, the cupboard is hardly bare.
“You know, we do have a lot of experience and firepower to replace next year, but we have a very talented ball club coming back,” Nugent said. “We have a lot of kids coming in who can play some ball and we have a lot of kids already on our roster who could have played anywhere, but just happened to be on one of the better teams in the state. They’ll have the opportunity to make an impact.”