Archbishop Rummel High School has had its fair share of very good baseball coaches on staff over the years.
From the days of Larry Schneider and Wally Pontiff Sr to those of Frank Cazeaux and Dave Baudry, the Raiders have had some excellent coaches running their program.
You can now add another name to the list, Nick Monica.
In just his second season as head baseball coach at the school on Severn Avenue, Monica led the Rummel Raiders to a place that the program hadn't seen in more than a decade - the 5A state title game.
Despite falling just short by a score of 3-2 in a hard-fought championship game against Barbe at Tulane's Turchin Stadium, Monica has put Rummel baseball back on center stage and brought renewed hope to the storied program.
The great accomplishments of 2012 did not come with out some growing pains for the program. The previous prep season, Monica's first as head coach, was a tough one. The Raiders played a very tough schedule and were only able to come away with 14 wins. An early exit from the state playoffs followed.
But Monica and the Rummel coaching staff kept working their young men very hard and did not stop believing in their players. They used the summertime American Legion schedule to continue to developing their returning players. A nice run to the American Legion state tournament was made, confidence was built and a new attitude was formed.
The son of local football coaching legend Frank Monica, Nick had helped his team believe that if the commitment to improve is made then the results would surely come. His players bought into playing as a group of young men working towards a common goal as a team and not as individuals. This unselfish attitude then turned into the team feeling as if they were "family." This outlook had the Rummel players always looking out for each other and picking each other up when the game of baseball or life sent failure their way.
In the prep season of 2012, the Raiders did it. They rebounded for 26 wins, a 54 percent increase from the previous prep season, and found themselves playing for it all in the state championship game in New Orleans. They saw themselves on the front page of the local sports section and featured in stories on the 10 o'clock news. "It" had happened; the hard work and commitment to excellence paid off for the Rummel program.
The prep season of 2012 was special for this team and its coaches. But keep in mind that, it didn't just happen randomly. They all had paid the price of success.
The senior class, which included numerous collegiate baseball signees, can move on knowing that they along with their coach put Rummel baseball back in the state title picture, a spot that the school has always known so well.
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