The text message Brad Bass received Sunday morning gave him all the motivation he needed on the biggest day of his coaching career.
The day the Port Allen High School alumnus coached Catholic High-Baton Rouge to the Class 5A championship, he awakened to a text message from the man he considers both his greatest inspiration and toughest critic.
“My dad (Bruce) sent me a text that said ‘You have the opportunity to win my first championship only once, so make sure you enjoy the day’,” Bass said. “So, I said I would enjoy the experience I had with my parents, brothers, sisters, grandpa – and what a tremendous experience it was.”
Bass, a 1999 PAHS graduate, led the No. 21-seeded Bears to a 3-2 come-from-behind win over parish foe Zachary (No. 10 seed) in the 5Å title game at Tulane’s Turchin Stadium.
It marked the first state championship for Bass, who has coached two seasons at CHS.
“It’s been an awesome ride,” he said. “Nobody gave us a chance to win it, but our fans believed in us.”
The underdog role hardly represented anything new for Bass. He experienced that feeling during his years at PAHS, as well as False River Academy, where he coached before he joined Catholic.
“I love this role, when people try to count us out,” Bass said. “We’ve always had that chip on our shoulders, but we managed to show up and play as hard as we can.”
He credits his father’s motivation for helping him coach a team to a state title.
“He’s the best coaching mentor I’ve ever had,” Bass said. “He’s a heck of a motivator, he’s always had my ear and he’s always been a tremendous coach.
“I’ve looked up to him my whole life,” he said. “He’s the first one to congratulate me when the team plays well, and the first to let me know when we don’t play well.”
He faced a former coach twice in District 5-5A action when he led the Bears into action against St. Amant, headed by former PAHS mentor Troy Templet.
“Playing against a former coach is one of those things in which you have a lot of respect for the dugout because of the quality coaching,” Bass said.
Bass also enjoyed the atmosphere at Turchin Stadium.
“It’s an awesome venue for baseball,” he said. “We had well over a hundred fans, even on Mother’s Day.
“When you get that kind of support from your school, you have a family in every respect,” Bass said. “With everything from the administration to the student body, it’s a very special place and I’m honored to call it home.”
It was not only his at-school family who witnessed the championship game.
His wife Annie, daughter Aubrey, mother Mona, brother Brandon and sister Amanda also made the trip to Turchin Stadium.
Even his 83-year-grandfather, Francis Junot of Port Allen, traveled to the Crescent City.
“He’s always been there for me at every game,” Bass said.
The family basked in the victory with a dinner at Harbor Seafood, a landmark New Orleans eatery.
“I had the best celebration anyone could ever ask for, Bass said. “:I got to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mom, wife, eat in New Orleans and enjoy some good old-fashioned family time.”