Riverside Academy has made a change at the top of its baseball program, replacing fourth-year head coach Matt White with 30-year coaching veteran Frank Cazeaux who most recently has been working as an area scout for the Boston Red Sox.
“We didn’t renew Matt’s contract. There was a philosophical difference between the administrator, which is the principal (Perry Dicarlo), and Matt White. He will not come back as baseball coach or as a teacher. I’m in full support of the principal,” said Riverside athletic director Timmy Byrd.
Byrd would not elaborate on what the “philosophical difference” was.
White has since announced he has accepted the position as head baseball coach at East St. John.
The Rebels made an improbable run to the Class 2A State Semifinals in Sulphur after a 4-10 start to the season. It was the second time in three years that Riverside made the Class 2A Final Four after finishing as the state runner-up in 2012.
For Cazeaux, this will be his second stint in the River Parishes after leading Hahnville to a 56-14 record and a pair of district championships in 2005-06.
“River Parish baseball always has been good. It’s a baseball area. It’s outstanding baseball over there,” said Cazeaux.
Cazeaux had a highly successful 11-year run at Rummel, where he led his alma mater to the 5A State Final Four five times, including a State Championship in 2007.
The Riverside job, Cazeaux said, is one his has had his eye on for a long time.
“When I was at Rummel, when I was at Hahnville, at Crescent City, I used to always try to schedule Riverside. I knew they had an excellent baseball program and I knew it would be a great baseball matchup for us. Going out there, I knew the people out there were excited about there and it would be a great atmosphere. When the opportunity came up for me to go over there, I jumped on it,” Cazeaux said.
“I’ve been knowing Frank since we were kids. Frank’s stature, experience and knowledge, not only to build and lead a baseball program, is proven history – but with our program is right now, we feel like we had a lot of quality and quantity of talent players in our program,” Byrd said of Cazeaux. “We just feel that Frank Cazeaux is that guy that can get us to where we believe our baseball program can get to as far as an elite status.”
Another factor in Cazeaux’s hiring, Byrd said, was his experience of developing players in all age groups.
“We are a K-12 school. We think it’s vitally important to maintain that top-level status that not only knows how to build a program but know how’s to do it at all age levels. Frank has proven he knows how to do it whether a kid is 10 years old or 19 years old. It’s just an added bonus that he’s a Red Sox scout in the southern portion of Louisiana. To get a person of that stature is really exciting for our school,” said Byrd.
“I started young. I started coaching probably about 15 years old. I grew up at Jefferson Playground. Out there, I was playing for the older teams and coaching the younger kids. It’s always been something I wanted to do. When I entered college, I knew I was preparing myself to be a coach. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do,” Cazeaux said. “If you treat the kids the right way, no matter what age they are and you have them try to do the right things, that’s what it’s all about. I constantly tell them it’s life lessons you are learning. That’s what athletics is all about.”
Cazeaux resigned as head football coach and athletic director at St. Martin’s after spending eight years with the Saints.