Before his scheduled interview, Erath baseball coaching candidate Jeremy Picard learned several returning players for next year’s team had gone to bat on his behalf.

That support, coupled with his vision for a program already on the upswing, were just two of the factors that enabled Picard to land the head coaching position after David Jordan’s recent departure to Catholic High of New Iberia.

It’s the first head coaching job for Picard, who was an assistant to Jordan in five of his six seasons with the Bobcats.

“I was told a bunch of kids on the team went and spoke on my behalf, which was special for me to hear,” Picard said. “I felt it was an easy transition for the kids as someone they’ve been around for five years. I don’t plan on changing a lot. Of course everybody’s coaching philosophies are different, but I think it was great for the kids and it was great for me to be around them and help in any way I can.”

During the coaching transition Picard had already taken over Erath’s offseason program and will coach the Bobcats in their first Metro League game Wednesday.

“I’m ecstatic,” Picard said. “I just want an opportunity to have a chance to run a program. I felt since I’ve lived here for the last five to six years this is a great fit. I’m looking forward to getting the ball rolling and taking it from where we left off.”

Jordan guided Erath to 110 wins, two co-district championships, three league runners-up finishes and five state playoff appearances that all ended in the regional round.

The Bobcats were second to North Vermilion in the District 6-3A race and concluded an 18-10 season with a second-round loss to eventual state runner-up Evangel Christian Academy.

“I’m hoping we can take things further than where they were,” Picard said. “We have blue-collar kids that take after their parents who work hard. With what we have returning, and the work ethic these kids have, they have the ability to do something special that’s never been done here before.”

Picard’s coaching experience spans nearly two decades at the high school, junior college and travel ball levels.

For the past four years Picard has directed the fortunes of Erath-based Team Louisiana (U7 to U18) that’s produced more than 50 players that have gone to play collegiately.

Before that Picard enjoyed stays of five years at Vermilion Catholic and four at St. Thomas More. He also coached for two years at Bossier Parish Community College and was a student assistant under current Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco while at McNeese State.

“I said I wasn’t looking to just change everything,” Picard said of his meeting with Erath Principal Marc Turner. “David did a tremendous job turning the program around. My vision was to bring it further. This is a great, tight-knit community, and I couldn’t think of a better place to experience my first job as a head coach.”