From the sidelines to press box


Former St. James High coach Rick Gaille has turn his attention to broadcasting. (Photo by Chris Heller/Staff)


In the latter years of his outstanding coaching career, Rick Gaille started to forge a plan for what he’d do after he hung up his head set.

According to Gaille, life threw him a curveball, causing him to accelerate his plan by a full year.

After being reassigned by the St. James Parish Public School System in April 2011 for no apparent reason, the highly-successful former St. James High School head football coach and athletic director began pursuing a different path — a career in sports media.

“I live my life with the philosophy of ‘playing the ball where it lies,’ ” Gaille said. “When the decision was made at St. James that they didn’t want me to be a coach anymore, I began looking in to something else that had always interested me.”

Thanks to years of networking and building solid relationships with broadcast and print journalists ranging from ABC 26’s Sports Director Ed Daniels and well-known radio host of the Original Friday Prep Report, Ken Trahan, Gaille quickly found a bevy of new opportunities on TV and radio.

After covering some golf action locally, Gaille had the chance to replace John T. Curtis head coach J.T. Curtis on the popular post-game weekly prep show hosted by Daniels.

“He asked me to fill in, and I did the show,” Gaille said about his first appearance in 2011. “By all indications, I did a good job. At least that’s what people told me.”

This year has seen Gaille’s role expand to writing weekly stories for Trahan’s Sportnola.com website along with a regular role Trahan’s Friday night studio show that airs prior to all the state’s prep games. Gaille also has been asked to perform spot co-hosting duties with Daniels again and recently did color commentating for WHNO-TV’s tape-delayed broadcast of Nicholls State’s game against Southeastern Louisiana last week in Thibodaux.

Trahan said he first met Gaille in the early 1970s when he was coaching at Chalmette High School. Both men continued to run across one another after Gaille took a position at Rummel High School and even Tulane before eventually landing at St. James where he remained for the final 19 years of his coaching career.

“I could tell way back then that he was going to be a special coach,” Trahan said. “He went on to have an amazing career as a prep coach. The whole time I always kept it in my mind if there was ever a chance to get him involved in this side of the business I wouldn’t hesitate to do whatever I could to make that happen.”

Gaille said he still has a lot to learn about becoming a better writer and more well-rounded broadcaster, but is satisfied with where he’s at now.

“It’s football,” he said. “I feel I’m pretty knowledgeable about the game, and I think I can translate things to people from the viewpoint of someone who has seen things from both a coaches and players perspective.”

The aspect of Gaille’s on-air persona that impresses Trahan most is his grasp of the rules and his meticulous preparation.

“In life you always want to surround yourself with people who make you look better, and Rick is one of those guys that makes me look better,” Trahan said. “I believe this is just the beginning for him in terms of the business.”

Gaille said he’s enjoying his new role and is anxious to see what the future holds.

“Hey, you know I work cheap, so I’ll embrace any chances I’m given and be grateful for all of them,” he said.

Gaille will be traveling up north today to broadcast the Rummel-Ouachita Parish Class 5a football playoff game for WGSO 990AM out of New Orleans.