GARDENDALE — The former longtime head baseball coach at Gardendale High is getting back in the game — but it’s a slightly different game this time.
Barry Brake, a former standout player for the Rockets and at Wallace State-Hanceville who went on to coach his old high school team for a decade and a half, is returning to the coaching ranks as the school’s new head softball coach.
Brake’s appointment was announced by GHS Principal Jeff Caufield in a letter to softball players’ parents Wednesday. Brake replaces Haley Lawson, who served as head coach for two seasons; she is expecting her first child in a few months, and will remain as a teacher at the school.
Brake graduated from Gardendale in 1986, and ran the baseball program from 1992 to 2006. During that span, the Rockets missed the Class 6A playoffs just twice, and failed to get past the first round just one other time. His teams advanced to the state semifinals in 1994, 1997 and 2000.
Brake left coaching to spend more time with his family, which includes four children. He continued to teach at Gardendale, mainly in driver education, and has spent his entire career with the school.
“We are getting a veteran coach, a proven winner, and someone who has devoted his life to Gardendale High School and representing it in a positive way,” Caufield said in his letter.
This year’s Rockets softball team advanced to the North Central Regional Tournament in Tuscaloosa, but lost their first two games there.