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Landry steps down, welcomes new coach

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

In the past six seasons, Ascension Catholic baseball has won well over 100 games, reached the state semifinals three times and captured a state championship.

But that still wasn't good enough for Todd Landry.

Over the weekend, the longtime Bulldog head coach announced that after 13 years, he's stepping down as Ascension Catholic's skipper. He'll be welcoming an old friend to take his spot as the leader of the program.

In a statement Landry released, he said, "I’ve had the opportunity to meet lots of great people, work with a wonderful coaching staff and a great administrator in Mrs. Sandy (Pizzolato), and the kids over the years have been the light of my life. We have gone to numerous state tournaments and won a state title in 2018. But I’ve always thought we could do better. So over the years, I’ve looked for the right person who could come in and advance the program forward.

"I’m here to announce that we have found that man, Gee Cassard, an ACHS graduate and former head coach at Vandebilt Catholic this past year. He is a tremendous baseball coach, but an even better man. He is just the man to lead this program to an even higher level going forward."

Landry and Cassard have been friends ever since they were kids. They grew up in the same neighborhood, and they played baseball together at Ascension Catholic.

Cassard will certainly bring an accomplished resumé to the program. He has been coaching since the '90s, and that includes multiple stints as a collegiate coach.

Early in his career, Cassard coached at the University of Texas at Tyler, and he later became the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Nicholls.

During his time there, the Colonels won the Southland Conference Tournament in 1998. They also made an NCAA Regional appearance that year

He went on to become the pitching coach at the University of New Orleans for one season. In his one year there, the program had its first winning season in five years.

Cassard then became the head coach at Layola University in New Orleans from 2007-2012.

He then went back to Nicholls to become the Director of Baseball Operations. Cassard kept that job until 2016, when he took over as Vandebilt Catholic's head coach.

He coached the Terriers for five seasons. In 2019, they went 24-11 and reached the state quarterfinals, before losing to top seed and eventual state runner-up University.

This season, Vandebilt was off to a 6-3 start, before the rest of the season was cancelled.

Cassard will have large shoes to fill. Under Landry, the Bulldogs made six straight state quarterfinal appearances.

They also reached the state tournament three years in a row. In 2018, Ascension Catholic took home the Division-IV state title, the program's first championship since 1994.

In the past six seasons, Ascension Catholic has amassed a superb record of 121-59. In doing so, Landry has been named the Ascension Parish Coach of the Year three years in a row.

Prior to the rest of 2020 getting cancelled, the Bulldogs were off to an 8-4 start and ranked in the top 10 of the power points.

But Landry isn't going anywhere.

“I need everyone to understand that I’m not leaving," Landry said. "I plan to be an assistant coach on the staff with the remainder of the staff we had in place—we will just have a new head coach who shares the same values and coaching philosophies as both myself and our current staff."

Landry is proud of what Ascension Catholic was able to accomplish in his 13 years there.

"I’d like to thank Mrs. Sandy Pizzolato for the opportunity to coach at my alma mater all these years and the opportunity to continue that coaching with what I believe will be the best coaching staff in the state," Landry said. "Thank you to everyone who has helped me these years, and I look forward to seeing the program continue to flourish with our new coach.”