Former SLU baseball player, coaches passes away

Kaleb Manuel

Kaleb Manuel, a former Southeastern Louisiana University baseball player and assistant coach, has passed away following a lengthy battle with cancer, the university announced Thursday.

A native of Mamou, Louisiana, Manuel was 30 years old. He is survived by his wife, the former Courtney Harris of Pearl River, Louisiana.

"With heavy hearts we announce the passing Wednesday morning of former Southeastern Louisiana University baseball player and assistant coach Kaleb Manuel following a lengthy battle with cancer," the university said in a statement.

A two-time member of the Southland Conference Academic Honor Roll, Manuel earned Louisiana Pitcher of the Week honors (May 13, 2013) after tossing a complete game to defeat No. 28-ranked Sam Houston State, 5-1, and snap the Bearkats 11-game winning streak.

He graduated from Southeastern in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in general studies.

Prior to Southeastern, Manuel spent two years pitching at perennial power LSU-Eunice, serving as team captain his sophomore season. The right-hander capped his freshman season by closing out the National Championship game for the Bengals at the NJCAA Division II World Series.

Following his playing days, Manuel later served on Matt Riser's staff for four seasons as an assistant coach. From 2016-2018, he coordinated camps, instructed outfielders, served as first base coach, maintained the playing surface at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field, and assisted with administrative duties.

Following a one-year stint as the head coach at Pearl River High School, Manuel returned to Southeastern in June 2019 to serve as the Lions' pitching coach. He stepped down following the pandemic-shortened 2020 season to focus on his health and treatment, later returning to the St. Tammany Parish Public School System.

"The ultimate competitor yet a friend to all who knew him, Manuel leaves behind a legacy of hard work and a positive outlook on life," the university said.

Visitation will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday at Ardoin Funeral Home in Mamou, followed by the rosary at 11:30 a.m. The funeral Mass begins at 12:30 p.m. across the street at St. Ann Catholic Church.

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