Duluth acted quickly in hiring a new head baseball coach, promoting assistant Thomas LePage on Thursday.
LePage was an assistant coach the previous five seasons — four at Duluth and one at Shiloh — under outgoing head coach Matt Champitto. Champitto was hired recently as the athletic and activities director at Central Gwinnett.
LePage worked heavily with the Wildcats' hitters and outfielders, helping the program's recent return to prominence that included a 2011 trip to the Class AAAAA Sweet 16.
"One of the good things about the job for me is coming in knowing all the players, all the parents, the region and the coaches in the region," LePage said. "I feel lucky to have gotten it. Coach Champitto had a great opportunity to become athletic director at Central Gwinnett and that opened up an opportunity I never thought I'd have at 28 years old.
"My goal was always to be a head coach, but I didn't know it would happen this soon."
LePage's colleagues at Duluth spoke highly of him, including the man he replaces.
“Thomas has been my assistant coach for five years and has been an integral part of the turnaround and success that we have had at Duluth," Champitto said. "I'm very excited that he has been given the opportunity to be the head coach and look forward to following his career.”
LePage, a Jacksonville, Fla., native, was a four-year letter winner for a Jacksonville University baseball team that won two Atlantic Sun Conference titles and reached two NCAA Regionals during his career. At the 2006 NCAA Athens Regional, he was named to the all-regional team.
Not long after finishing college, he found his way to Gwinnett County and a job with Champitto.
"Coach LePage is an excellent teacher and an outstanding young man," Duluth principal Anthony Smith said. "He has a tremendous pedigree and I am very excited about the level of enthusiasm that he brings to the program."