Staff Photo: John Bohn North Gwinnett baseball assistant coach Ryan Moity is the subject of a Getting to Know column.
Ryan Moity, 30, is a baseball assistant at North Gwinnett. A native of New Orleans, Moity moved to Georgia after hurricane Katrina. Along with working as an assistant he was the interim head coach at Duluth for one season.
Moity redshirted one season of college baseball at LSU before transferring back home to Loyola University in New Orleans where he set a record for consecutive games played as a center fielder. In this installment of "Getting to Know..." staff writer Ben Beitzel talks with Moity about his life in New Orleans, making king cakes and working as Nick Saban's equipment manager at LSU.
BB: Tell me about that one year of baseball at LSU. That is a big-time baseball program.
RM: They keep about 55 people around. They don't dress everybody. I was there with them in the fall, I took a redshirt and I actually worked with the football program in the spring because one of my cousins was the equipment manager so I jumped on with them. I did stuff on and off with them in the spring in baseball, but it wasn't anything. They actually won the World Series that year, but we didn't go with them. It was the summer of 2000.
BB: 2000. That was Saban then, right?
RM: It was his first year there.
BB: Did you have many dealings with him as equipment manager?
RM: I am not going to give you the full story.
BB: Not the full story?
RM: He absolutely cussed me out. My cousin thought it would be funny to put me as his equipment manager for the day because they had talked to the guys at Michigan State and heard how bad he was.
BB: So give it to the new guy?
RM: It was a joke because he was my cousin. They put me there and, let's just say, practice hadn't even started yet and anything he could say, I heard. Let's put it like that.
BB: Why did you transfer back home to Loyola?
RM: I had a meeting, it was (LSU head baseball coach) Skip Bertman's last year and I had a meeting with him and basically said I wouldn't play except maybe on senior night. I knew Loyola was a place I could play for four years. It was 15 minutes from my house. My parents could watch me play. The conference was all in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and Tennessee. It was all close so they travelled with me. My wife now was my fiance at the time, the last couple of years in college. It was just convienent and I knew I could play for four years. In high school, I was dumb. I wanted to play Division I and I got there and realized that it wasn't for me. I would just rather play than sit around and watch other people play.
BB: Did you have to deal with teammates from out-of-town who couldn't handle living and going to school in New Orleans? I know some people who washed out.
RM: That was actually a big part of it. Being from there, I grew up around it. If anything I learned lessons on what not to do at a young age. There were guys who would come from Miami and Indiana and we had some feeder schools in a lot of different places and to be honest with you, a lot of guys didn't make it. Our most successful seasons were all New Orleans guys on the team. That was a big part of it, being able to handle the (city). But Loyola was a place where there were no athletic scholarships so if you were going to commit to it, it was a commitment. Tuition was probably $35,000 a year at the time that I went and I know it's more now. You weren't getting any money for baseball and most of the guys at the school, besides me, were pretty intelligent. Most of the guys handled it, but there were some guys that came in and out that couldn't.
BB: Did you find playing weekend series wore teams down?
RM: I wish we played three days. We played three games with a doubleheader on Saturday. I don't think that stuff affected the other teams. Our home park was on the west bank of New Orleans so they stayed at a hotel right across the street so I am sure they couldn't take advantage of it.
BB: How'd you get to Gwinnett?
RM: We moved up here as a family after Hurricane Katrina in 2006. The school was knocked down. I stayed as a coach, I couldn't teach because there weren't enough positions. A buddy of mine runs a bakery and I helped him. I made king cakes for a year.
BB: What bakery?
RM: Manny Randazzo. It's one of the big ones down there.
BB: Why Gwinnett?RM: We looked at a couple different places actually. I was interested in Houston. I put some feelers out. My best friend and his wife moved here right after Hurricane Katrina and we came and visited them a couple of times. Then my sister moved here right after them. It was just kind of perfect for us. I have some family here. I have some friends here.
BB: So you moved here, to Sugar Hill, and then found a job?
RM: I bought the house first. I thought I was going to be (at North) and something happened with the teaching job and I didn't get it. I spent my first two years at Duluth and actually four games into my second year at Duluth they fired the head coach so I had to be the head coach in the '08 year, which was a journey. But I spent two years there and then I finally got here (to North).
BB: What was it like to be thrown into head coaching?
RM: It was different. It happened so fast. Because of the way it happened, I didn't even really sit back and look at it. It all happened so fast, it's hard for me to sit back and look at it ... it was fun. Of course I was by myself. I was the only assistant when they fired him. I actually had a manager have to coach first base for me. It was rough. The program was a little smaller, but it wasn't easy. All that stuff going on and you are trying to get kids prepared to play. All that outside stuff, I really didn't bother with or think about. So many different things were happening all at the same time. From the head guy being removed to me taking over to them trying to keep me there and me coming here. It was all in a six- eight-week span. It was kind of chaotic. It was fun. It was a learning experience.
BB: Why did you go into coaching or teaching?
RM: I knew if I wasn't coaching I'd be sleeping on a bench in the French Quarter. (laughs). It's all I ever wanted to do. I knew it was what I wanted to do from Day 1. I knew I was doing something athletic-wise. That's all I know really.
BB: You played football in high school. Playing in New Orleans must be tough. It's not the most talented, but it's up there.
RM: I tell guys all the time, the top tier programs and players can play anywhere in the country. I played, in high school, I played against both Mannings. Ed Reed. Reggie Wayne. All those guys are from this one area in New Orleans. But the depth isn't there like it is here. The top four or five guys on the team are spectacular. It was the same way in baseball, actually. The top two or three guys on the team, were good and the talent pool kind of dropped off. Whereas here, a lot of schools have eight, nine guys who can play. In football we (at North) have eight or nine guys a year that go play in college. If we had one as a senior class go play in college at most schools in New Orleans it was a big deal.