Greg Battistella is no stranger to St. Tammany Parish, having coached baseball on the north shore and being a Slidell resident since 2005
Now, he’s returning to the parish’s coaching scene.
Battistella, 45, will become an assistant baseball and football coach at Lakeshore High near Mandeville and also will teach world geography, he said Wednesday. The hire is pending approval by the St. Tammany Parish School System.
“I will be only 20 minutes from my house,” Battistella said. “It’s a great opportunity. The people at Lakeshore have been tremendously welcoming. I hope I can do a good job.”
History has shown that Battistella has done just that in baseball, as he carries a 303-169 record in 14 seasons as a head coach. Each of those teams finished with a winning record.
A 1988 graduate of Holy Cross, Battistella then played at UNO. He returned to his high school alma mater as an assistant baseball coach from 1993-2000 working alongside his former coach, Lou Carboni.
Battistella became head coach at Pope John Paul II in 2001, and he coached the Jaguars for four years, before returning again to Holy Cross where he was athletic director. When Carboni retired in 2005, Battistella was named head baseball coach — a job he held for 10 years before resigning two weeks ago.
“(Holy Cross) wanted to make a move,” Battistella said of his departure. “I supported the move with the understanding that Cass Hargis would be my replacement. (When Hargis was named head coach) I was OK with it. I feel that way. I really do. But without being able to coach the baseball team, I had to take a pay cut. … St. Tammany was a good move economically and (for my career).”
While Battistella declined comment on the specifics of his decision to leave Holy Cross, he took the time to praise Lakeshore.
“It means a lot to me to be at Lakeshore,” he said. “It’s nice to be wanted, to start fresh.”
Lakeshore made it to the regional round of the Class 4A playoff last year, and Battistella said he got to see the Titans up close in a regular-season game.
“We lost to them 3-2 in extra innings,” he said. “I know (head coach) Andrew Ravaglia well. I coached him when I was an assistant at Holy Cross. I know he gets the best out of his kids, and that they’ll give everything they have for him. I’m looking forward to it.”
Battistella said he is expecting to work with the Lakeshore hitters. He also will assist the football team as a defensive line coach.