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Former Knight Returns to His Alma Mater as Baseball Coach

Former Knight Returns to His Alma Mater as Baseball Coach

By Bob Castello
SJCS Communications Manager

Aaron Lesiak was back at St. Joseph's Catholic School this past summer, his job taking him to his alma mater "for the first time in seven or eight years."

"It was definitely cool, yet a little weird watching a game at my high school field," he said.

Soon, Aaron, a 2012 SJCS graduate, will be frequenting the field where he once starred, having been named the Knights' Varsity baseball coach.

Aaron, who played at Presbyterian College and then The Citadel upon graduating from St. Joe's, has spent the past six seasons as an assistant coach on the collegiate level.

He served for three years at Anderson University and one each at Davidson College (coaching outfielders and pitchers), Limestone University and VMI (the latter two as pitching coach). He was also the head coach of the Mooresville (N.C.) Spinners in the summer of 2021, leading the team to a Southern Collegiate Baseball League Championship.

While coaching at VMI, Aaron also worked for Prospect Select Baseball, a tournament and showcase/recruiting company. That's what brought him back to St. Joe's this past summer.

"It's definitely weird how things work themselves out," he said. "Obviously athletics is my passion. I always thought my end role would be getting into professional baseball in the coaching or analytic side of things. Being in college baseball my entire professional career, high school baseball wasn't even on the radar."

However, his name was mentioned to SJCS Athletic Director Eric Nash, who contacted Aaron about his possible interest in the position. Head of School Keith Kiser also reached out to him, and their interest fueled the fire.

"I get more and more excited about it just from thinking of all the memories -- and not just baseball," said Aaron, who will also serve the school as Athletic Facilities Manager. "I love that some of the teachers who I loved having in class still work there. St. Joe's was a big piece in making me who I am."

Aaron was a two-sport athlete at St. Joe's: a pitcher and outfielder for the baseball team and a quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back for the football team.

As a senior, Aaron went 11-0 on the mound and led the Knights to a 25-1 record and the first of three consecutive Class 1A state championships. He was the Class 1A State Player of the Year and a North-South All-Star selection. He was named All-Region three times and All-State twice.

Aaron played both football and baseball at Presbyterian College, making 63 appearances on the mound (including 19 starts), and then transferred to the Citadel as a graduate student for his final season. He graduated Cum Laude from PC in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a minor in biology before earning a Master of Arts in sport management from The Citadel in 2017.

"I'm really excited to have Aaron coaching for us," Coach Nash said. "He is a St. Joseph's graduate and former successful multi-sport student-athlete here. He also brings collegiate level playing and coaching experience with him.

"He is a tremendous fit, and I'm really looking forward to watching him interact day in and day out with our baseball players and all of our student-athletes."

I get more and more excited about it just from thinking of all the memories -- and not just baseball. ... St. Joe's was a big piece in making me who I am.

Aaron said he got to know former coach Ben Renfrow through his recruiting work, and he enjoyed following the success of the Knights, who won a region championship in 2022 and a district title in 2023.

"It was kind of cool to see him hop in there and put them back to where they had been and hopefully will be for years to come," Aaron said.

Aaron and his wife, Tori, have moved back to the region and are living not far from where he grew up in Mauldin.

"Being back is familiar territory so it kind of makes it a little easier," he said, "and it maybe motivates me a little more to do a better job because it's a place I care about."