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Gabehart named new South Terrebonne baseball coach


Former Parkview Baptist assistant coach Sham Gabehart was named the new baseball coach at South Terrebonne this week, (Photo by Submitted)


In its search for a new baseball coach, South Terrebonne looked for someone who could continue the success the program had under former coach Nathan Cotten.

The coaching search attracted eight applicants, but in the end, there was only one guy who would get the job.

That person was Sham Gabehart.

Gabehart, who has coached as an assistant at Baton Rouge's Parkview Baptist High School for the last seven years, was officially named South Terrebonne's new baseball coach during Tuesday's Terrebonne Parish School Board meeting.

Gabehart will replace Cotten, who resigned in May after 13 seasons (10 as head coach and three as an assistant coach) at the school.

Gabehart said he is thrilled to takeover a South Terrebonne program coming off a successful season last year.

The Gators had a 23-10 overall record, an outright District 8-4A title and a Class 4A bi-district round playoff win. They ended the season with a 1-0 loss to Class 4A semifinalist Holy Cross.

Under Cotten, the Gators had four playoff appearances, a trip to the Class 5A state quarterfinals in 2009 and a 148-142 overall record. Cotten resigned because he wanted to spend more time with his family and to focus on his teaching career.

"I'm very excited to come to South Terrebonne," Gabehart said. "Nathan Cotten did a great job. I'd like to continue to build on what they started."

Gabehart, a 33-year-old native of Campbellsville, Ky., said another reason he wanted to come to South Terrebonne was because of the close relationship the school has with its community, which will give him a chance to connect with the fans and reach out to baseball players at a young age.

"I grew up in a close knit community in Kentucky," Gabehart said. "You get a little bit more of that in a public school versus a private school. One of the things about a public school is you have the community support. I'm excited about coming in and knowing the kids from the time they are young and all the way up to high school."

South Terrebonne athletic director Francis Labat said Gabehart's coaching experience and background set him apart from the other eight applicants.

Gabehart has coached at Parkview Baptist since 2006, where he served as an assistant coach under longtime Eagles coach M.L. Woodruff, who won 11 Louisiana High School Athletic Association state championships at the school before retiring 2011.

During his time as a varsity hitting coach at Parkview Baptist, Gabehart was a part of two state championship teams (2008 and 2009) and coached 27 players who went on to play major Division I college baseball.

"He was the guy that really stood out with his experience," Labat said. "He comes from a very good program at Parkview Baptist. Coach Woodruff was there for many years, and they've won many championships. I know he worked under a man like that for a long time. That made him stand out a lot. We're excited about getting him at South Terrebonne."

Gabehart, who attended Campbellsville University and the University of Kentucky, said Woodruff had a major influence on his career. The two met while coaching baseball during a mission trip to the Dominican Republic in 2006. Woodruff later interviewed and gave Gabehart an assistant coaching job at Parkview Baptist, which brought the Kentucky native to Louisiana for the first time.

Gabehart has been coaching at Parkview Baptist ever since, and he said he still has a close relationship with Woodruff. They are currently coaching a team of prep baseball players from Louisiana on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. The organization, which is called the Istrouma Sports Organization, is playing a series of baseball games in the Dominican Republic, which started on Monday and ends on Saturday.

"(Being at Parkview Baptist) just opened the door for me," Gabehart said. "I've always had the desire since I was real young to lead a baseball program. Coach Woodruff was a great mentor and teacher for me. He prepared me for the best."

Now he is preparing to serve as a varsity head baseball coach for the first time in his career at South Terrebonne. The Gators lost six seniors from last year's team, but Gabehart looks forward to working with the returning players.

"One of the biggest things I want to bring from Parkview is consistency with hard work and willingness to be committed," Gabehart said. "Baseball is a simple game, and simple fundamentals done well will lead to success. It's not a formula or anything spectacular. It's just keeping it simple and doing it well."

Labat said Gabehart's love for working with young people will help build South Terrebonne's freshman and junior varsity programs.

"He's done a lot with youth baseball teams," Labat said. "He's very interested in young people, and he came in with a lot of great ideas. I think he's going to fit in really good and continue the success that we've been having."

Although he is a native of Kentucky, Gabehart does have ties to the Bayou Region.

His wife, Noelle Chabert-Gabehart, is a Houma native who graduated from Vandebilt Catholic. She is the daughter of former state Sen. Marty J. Chabert.

"She's familiar with the area," Gabehart said. "She has family down there, and we're happy to be here. I'm really excited about this opportunity, and I can't wait to get started."

OTHER TERREBONNE PARISH COACHING HIRES

The Terrebonne Parish School Board officially announced the names of several new varsity sports coaches at its weekly meeting on Tuesday.

Here are the names of the appointed coaches at each school. Some coaches previously held their positions, but they have to reapply every year.

ELLENDER — Janie Trosclair (head varsity softball coach) and Leah Gaudet (head assistant varsity softball coach).

SOUTH TERREBONNE — Scott Guidroz (head boys' ninth-grade track coach).

TERREBONNE HIGH — Zachary Chauvin (assistant football and head boys track coach), Craig Hamner (head girls track coach), Daniel Roane (assistant track coach), Ray LeCompte (head girls soccer coach), Gary Hill (golf coach), Kenneth Fountain (bowling coach) and Cindy Callahan (drill squad sponsor).

EVERGREEN JUNIOR HIGH — Ashley Soudelier (volleyball and softball coach).