The last two times he served as an assistant coach with Team USA, Lafayette native Brooks Badeaux struck gold with the U18 national baseball team.
Four years later, Badeaux’s hopeful of repeating the feat.
“If you aspire to get into coaching, it’s one of the coolest things,” Badeaux said. “It’s for the kids, and it’s awesome. That’s what coaching’s all about. It’s fun. Everyone’s going in the same direction, and that’s to win gold for the country. You set a standard for what you expect out of the kids, and you just play to reach that standard.
“You hope gold comes as a result of it.”
Badeaux, a former Teurlings Catholic and Florida State standout, was selected by USA Baseball to serve as an assistant on the U18 national team, which will be guided for the second straight year by Barbe’s Glenn Cecchini, a former Louisiana-Lafayette outfielder.
Team USA has won six gold medals in the past seven years at the U18 level.
Cecchini directed last year’s team to gold in the World Cup in Japan, a process with the help of Badeaux, Rene Gayo and Greg Moore, begins in nearly two weeks when approximately 100 players report to Cary, North Carolina.
“I’m super fired up,” Badeaux said. “I have the utmost respect for coach Cecchini and how he goes about his business.”
Badeaux’s relationship with USA Baseball extends to his playing days when Florida State represented the United States in the World University Games. He was also part of a team coached by Davy Johnson comprised of players with some Major League experience that took part in international competition in Holland.
In both cases, the United States failed to win gold.
“It’s one of the most humiliating things to experience,” he said.
Badeaux, the lead hitting instructor at Quality Sports Authority in Erath, concluded an All-Atlantic Coast Conference career at Florida State with a .299 average and 280 hits. He went on to enjoy a 10-year career playing in the minor leagues with both the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles organizations.
Badeaux served USA Baseball at the grassroots level, twice coaching within the U14 national team development program in 2013 and ’15.
Before that, Badeaux was selected to coach with the U18 national team that went on to win gold at the Junior Pan American Games in Columbia.
Badeaux said that talented-laden team in 2011 had 12 eventual first-round MLB draft choices, including LSU All-American shortstop Alex Bregman.
“The job of the coaching staff is to be able to get a group of 18-year-olds to check their egos at the door,” Badeaux said. “You tell them they’ve got to put what’s on the front of your jersey ahead of what’s on the back.”
A year later, Team USA won gold at the World Games in Seoul, South Korea with Badeaux back in an assistant’s role.
For the U18 national team to return to such glory, they will undergo a process that begins June 21-26 at USA Baseball’s headquarters in Cary with a minimum of 40 players being invited to the national team tryouts in Houston, Sept. 11-15.
From there, a roster of 20 players will be assembled and flown to Monterrey, Mexico for the start of the Junior Pan American Games Sept. 23-Oct. 2.
“The ultimate as a coach is getting everyone participating as one unit, watching them click and fire on all cylinders,” Badeaux said. “You watch them bond and stand for the national anthem compared to other countries.
“When they get that pride, it gives you the goose bumps.”