Two baseball powers made big-name hires on Thursday. Leo McClure has been hired as coach at Central High, while St. Amant has hired Berwick coach Brandon Bravata, a former Redemptorist player.
McClure, 63, is a 1973 graduate of Central and served as the school’s head basketball coach from 1977-84 and the spent parts of two seasons in the 1990s as the school’s football coach.
Bravata, 31, coached Berwick to the Class 3A title in 2018 and the semifinals last spring. He also had stints at Catholic-Pointe Coupee and Christian Life.
“To say that the last 24 hours has been a whirlwind would be an understatement,” McClure said. “This is actually a job I applied for 14 years ago and I did not get. Look, I’m a Central guy who bleeds maroon and white. I went to school here, and I can’t wait to get started.”
McClure’s sons Trey (former LSU baseball star) and Todd (ex-LSU football star, longtime offensive lineman for Atlanta Falcons) were two of the cornerstones for a Central program that won four Class 4A baseball titles in the 1990s. Central won Class 5A titles in 2017 and 2018 under Mike Forbes, who resigned last month and has been hired as the coach at 3A Brusly.
McClure’s youngest son, Tanna, was a multi-sport athlete at Central several years later and went on to play baseball at Delgado and Southeastern Louisiana.
“St. Amant has always been one of the top programs in the Baton Rouge area, and I’m excited to be a part of it,” Bravata said. “I played youth football at The Pit (St. Amant’s home stadium) and when I was in school we were in the same district with East Ascension and Dutchtown, so I’ve always watched the Ascension programs and respected them.”
The move for Bravata also is family-oriented. He and his wife are expecting their first child and their parents live in Maurepas, located in southern Livingston Parish not far from the St. Amant area.
“Berwick is such a special place,” Bravata said. “The people here have taken us in as family, and it is hard to leave. This job gives us a chance to be close to our parents, and it gives the baby the chance to be near them.”
McClure has been involved in youth/instructional baseball for about 20 years. He currently coordinates the Louisiana Tigers. His grandson, Maverick McClure, plays for Zachary.
“Todd has already asked me if this means Maverick will get one pitch down the middle for every at-bat against Central and I told him no,” McClure said. “The thing I want to do is get everyone in the Central community involved and bring things together.”