Gary Duhe Jr. never grew up wanting to be a coach. It just kind of happened.
And it all started with a move out west to with his wife, Michelle, an Arizona native.
“It was just one of those deals when I got to Arizona it was one of the easiest avenues to pursue a career because of my background in baseball and I thought I could be very successful at it,” said Duhe Jr., a former baseball player at St. Amant High School, Delgado and later at Southeastern. “I just fell into it really.”
Duhe Jr. is entering his 10th season coaching and will lead the Arizona A’s 15U team in the Marucci World Series this weekend. However, his roots in the coaching industry go further back than 2009 as his dad, Gary Duhe, is a longtime high school basketball coach in the Baton Rouge area and has amassed over 700 career wins.
Duhe said he usually only gets to see his son coach when he makes return trips to Baton Rouge during the summer for the Marucci World Series, which is in its fourth year, but Duhe will occasionally go out to Arizona during holidays to watch Duhe Jr.
“I’m not being poignant, but he’s good at it,” Duhe said. “I’m watching him perform, and he’s good at it. He’s doing that he loves, and I think that is most the important thing.”
Watching his son coach has also let him think about his own coaching career and the differences in their coaching styles.
“He’s more into analyzing stuff without jumping to conclusions or being high-strung,” Duhe said. “I think basketball is a little bit different than baseball because in baseball you have to be like that whereas in basketball you have to make quick decisions, change momentum; it’s a different style.”
Duhe says his son also has a knack for instilling confidence in players in a positive manner when things go wrong and helping show a player their progress when it may not be visible to them. It’s something Duhe Jr. said he picked up from watching his dad and seeing how truly caring about players makes a difference, especially in baseball, which Duhe Jr. described as a “game of failure.”
It’s what makes his job as a baseball coach unique. How can he get players to continuously believe in themselves and handle failure in a game that so often features more negative outcomes than positive ones?
“Coaching until you really get into it, you don’t know how hard it is, but at the end of the day, you don’t realize how much you learn just by teaching kids about what they need to learn about baseball,” Duhe Jr. said. “If I knew as much know as I learned after playing and the days since I’ve been a player, I would’ve been a much better player.”