Monday, March 27, 2023

Lay named CIF State Baseball Coach of the Year

Colusa’s Eric Lay, shown in a photo with son Ethan at the 2022 section championship game, was named the CIF State Baseball Coach of the Year.

Last year, the Colusa RedHawk baseball team completed an unprecedented 33-1 season, with its only loss coming at the hands of Bradshaw Christian in the NorCal Baseball Division IV Championship.

And while the postseason accolades rolled in throughout the summer, a final one was handed out last Friday night in Colusa when Coach Eric Lay was honored as the 2021-22 CIF State Baseball Coach of the Year.

In a ceremony that included a video montage featuring highlights from Lay’s 21-year career, as well as congratulatory messages from former players, his son, Ethan, the ace of last year’s squad, presented Lay with the award in a poignant moment.

Also joining in the recognition of Lay’s accomplishment was his longtime friend and Sutter High School Athletic Director Rick Giovannoni, who, in an email interview with the Pioneer Review, said that Lay is much more than just an exceptional coach.

“I had the pleasure of coaching with Eric as well as against him,” said Giovannoni. “What makes Eric special is how he treats his players. He is tough, but fair, and anyone who has played for Eric knows that he truly cares for them on and off of the field. Eric has been one of the best coaches in the Northern Section and state for a long time. For a lot of coaches their success is measured in wins and losses, and although Eric has had a tremendous number wins in his coaching career, I think what is more important to remember is the difference and impact that Eric has had in the lives of so many of the young men he has coached.”

In all, the entire occasion was a fitting tribute to a coach that has dedicated so much of himself to teaching the game, and in doing so has made an indelible mark on baseball in the North State accruing an overall record of 479-102-2, eight section titles, and three section Coach of the Year awards in combined stints with Maxwell and Colusa. ■

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