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Paradise athletic director Ronnie Gage to retire

By Reece Waddell | Published Tuesday, May 8, 2018.
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Paradise athletic director and head football coach Ronnie Gage will retire at the end of the current school year amid health concerns.

The two-time state champion and Texas High School Football Hall of Fame member had quadruple bypass surgery two weeks ago after suffering a minor heart attack. 

“The problem right now is not knowing what kind of recovery rate I’m going to be up against,” Gage said. “There’s so much to be done, and I don’t want to be the anchor that holds the district back. I just think this was probably a call for me to step back and turn loose of the reins.”

Gage, a Decatur native, finished his 42nd year coaching last season. He spent 27 seasons as a head coach.

The 65-year-old won two state titles at Lewisville in 1993 and 1996. He compiled a career record of 187-97-9 at the high school level.

In two seasons at Paradise, Gage went 7-13. Before his arrival, the Panthers went 4-26 in three years under former coach Scott Broussard.

Prior to his stint at Paradise, Gage served as the head coach at Barbers Hill outside of Houston for six years. He was also the head coach at Austin College in Sherman. 

“I wouldn’t change a thing in 42 years,” Gage said. “I’ve been blessed. When you get ill like this you realize how important this fraternity of coaches really is. It’s a special profession. I’m very proud of my accomplishments, but more so, I hope every kid that has played for me at some point in time has picked up something that’s a positive they can take on and use throughout life. I always will be proud to be called coach.”

Paradise ISD Superintendent Paul Uttley said the district will work swiftly to name Gage’s replacement. Uttley hopes to have someone in place by the end of May and will interview internal candidates first.

“We feel like there are some opportunities within the district, and we’ll give those folks a shot who have been with Paradise,” Uttley said.

Uttley said Gage has made a tremendous impact on the Paradise community and helped the athletic program begin trending in the right direction.

“I want to thank Coach Gage, and I want this community to understand what Coach Gage has done for this school district and the athletic program,” Uttley said. “Coach Gage was not planning on retiring until just recently. I want it to be understood that Coach Gage has done a fantastic job for this school district and has moved the athletic program forward. Coach Gage has left Paradise in a better position than when he got here.”

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