College Baseball: LeDuc Tenders Resignation from Centralia College Baseball
Head Coach: Jake LeDuc Spent 12 Years in Trailblazers Dugout
By Jordan Nailon
For the first time in a dozen years, Jake LeDuc is no longer a coach with the Centralia College baseball team.
On Tuesday, LeDuc submitted a letter of resignation to the Centralia College athletic department citing a desire to pursue other opportunities and spend more time with his family.
“It is basically worded that he is looking for other coaching opportunities,” said Centralia College Athletic Director, Bob Peters, in regard to LeDuc’s resignation letter. “He said he’s enjoyed it here, and obviously we’re going to miss Jake, but everybody’s got to make decisions for their own reasons.”
LeDuc had served as head coach of the Trailblazers baseball team for the past four years after eight years as an assistant coach under Rick Skinner and Bruce Pocklington. He guided the Trailblazers to the regional round of the NWAC playoffs in 2016, 2017 and 2018 with an overall record of 43-121.
On Friday, LeDuc said that he was grateful for his time at Centralia College and for the opportunity to create relationships with players and coaches during his dozen years in the Trailblazers dugout.
“I just want to thank the college for the time they gave me. Twelve years was a long time in one spot and I feel like I left the program in better shape than when I got it,” said LeDuc. “I’m really going to miss the players. That’s the hardest part for me is you spend a lot of time with these guys and you get to know them, and you like them, but it was just time for me to move on and try something different.”
Among his favorite memories of his time as skipper of the Trailblazers baseball team, LeDuc listed his very first win as head coach and last year’s win over Mt. Hood Community College in the regional playoffs. He said that win over the Saints was likely the program’s first playoff victory in 15 years.
LeDuc said that his resignation from the Centralia College baseball team will not impact his position as a teacher at Centralia High School. He also confirmed that he is interested in coaching in the future but declined to provide any specifics other than that he has spoken with a few schools already and plans to continue looking into his options in the future. Looking back, LeDuc noted that his coaching career began at Centralia College while he was still a student.
“I walked on as a freshman at CC but didn’t play and wound up coaching,” said LeDuc. “I graduated high school in ‘96 and by the spring of ‘98, I was coaching.”
Having spent time both as an assistant coach and head coach for Centralia College, LeDuc has an appreciation for the diverse duties of a well-rounded coaching staff. He went out of his way to express appreciation for the support he received during his time at the helm.
“I’d just like to thank my assistants,” said LeDuc, who listed off coaches like Ron Kostick, Cam Margaris, Joe Bair, Jason Watson and Andy Forgione. “I couldn’t have done it without those guys helping with recruiting, helping run practices and games. You name it.”
LeDuc said he is confident that the Centralia College baseball program is likely to see success manifest on the field in the coming years thanks to a talented crop of recruits and returning ballplayers.
“I feel like the guys who were freshmen this last year, that was a very strong recruiting class for us, and they got a lot of playing time as freshman and I think that bodes well for whoever takes over,” said LeDuc.
If anyone has the inside track to the vacant head coaching position, Peters is playing coy for now. He noted that the job opening was posted Tuesday evening and he expects that it will stay open for roughly two weeks. He declined to provide names of any candidates but did note that the school had received five or six inquires into the open position as of Thursday evening.
“I don’t know how many we’ll get but it’s nice to know that we’ve already got that much interest,” said Peters. “It will entice some people. Word travels fast in the baseball community.”
Andy Forgione, a Centralia College assistant coach, is one name that has been floated for the position and on Friday, he confirmed that he has officially applied for the job.
Peters said that he expects the head baseball coach position to be filled by the end of July.