Tim Comeaux tried to keep his retirement plans under wraps.
The Catholic High of New Iberia baseball coach had decided that the 2015 season would be his last leading the Panthers. Comeaux told people close to him and around the program of his impending retirement but didn’t want it to become a distraction for his team. But eventually it became the most well-known rumor around the Class 2A program.
“It was common knowledge that this would be my last year,” Comeaux said. “It wasn’t known to the team because I tried to keep it from them, but they eventually found out. The team understood. In my experience, young men are very resilient.”
The 58-year-old officially stepped down on Friday after six successful seasons as head coach and five more before that as an assistant. In his six years at the helm, Catholic-New Iberia went 128-61-2, won four district championships, made five playoff appearances (never losing an opening-round game), reached the state quarterfinals twice and finished as state runner-up in 2014.
“One of the goals of mine when I took over from David (Jordan) was quite simple,” Comeaux said. “I wanted to continue a tradition of excellence. Catholic has been good for a quite few years. It was my responsibility to keep it at that level. I hope in the past six seasons that I have maintained that.”
Comeaux grew up playing baseball and eventually became a starting pitcher on New Iberia Senior High’s state championship teams in 1973 and 1975. He went to McNeese State to pursue his baseball career, but a broken leg derailed that dream.
Comeaux turned to coaching and cut his teeth with youth baseball leagues in New Iberia starting in 1977. He remained a fixture in youth baseball for the next two-plus decades before joining the staff at Catholic High in 2005.
“Being around those fine young men has definitely been one of my proudest moments,” Comeaux said. “To coach young people who have a true appreciation for the game is special. Hopefully being a mentor to these young people, teaching them to do the right thing has made a difference.”
Comeaux is most proud of the improvements the program’s facilities have received in the past six years. Lights were installed at the Panthers’ home field in 2011, a mobile home was convereted into a new locker room, a metal press box was built, a new water system was installed, and a solid wall constructed in the outfield.
“It was the parents and supporters at Catholic High that really made that all happen,” Comeaux said. “Without them, those things would still only be an idea.”
Even though Comeaux will no longer be a coach in title, he will still be proudly passing down his decade’s worth of knowledge. Comeaux is looking forward to teaching the game to his two-and-half-year-old grandson, Jude Dueitt.
“That’s my future right there,” Comeaux said. “I am going to teach him the game whenever I have the chance.”