New beginnings are the primary storyline for Tangipahoa Parish rivals Hammond HighMagnet and Ponchatoula High.
Both teams have new head coaches and are set to play in different districts.
Veteran coach Hank Tierney, who made his mark at Archbishop Shaw and East Jefferson in the New Orleans area, is the new Ponchatoula coach.
Kevin Moore, a former Southern University player who served as head coach at Pointe Coupee Central in 2003, takes over at Hammond.
While Ponchatoula remains in the Northshore-based District 6-5A, Hammond drops down to the new 7-4A that includes Franklinton, Lake-shore, Pearl River and Salmen.
“I spent the last three years as an assistant here, and I really didn’t think I’d ever be a head coach again,” Tierney said. “Once I decided to do it, I was all in and have enjoyed it.
“Mike (Baiamonte) took this thing to a new level, and hopefully we can continue to build on that.”
Tierney who coached Shaw to a Class 4A state title in 1987, brings a 221-75 career record to PHS. He succeeds one of his former assistants, Baiamonte, who moved into the school’s administration.
Moore succeeds former LSU player James Gillyard at Hammond. He didn’t arrive in Hammond until Aug. 1.
Most recently, Moore served as offensive line coach at Catholic University of America in Alexandria, Va., while also teaching at a nearby high school.
“I’m still trying to learn names and get things organized,” Moore said. “I just got an email address.
“We’ve got about 80 guys out on a consistent basis and some nice talent. It’s a matter of coaching them up and getting them ready to play.”
Ponchatoula was an 8-3 team a year ago and welcomes back 14 starters led by quarterback Nathan Callais, who will lead a flexbone option offense. Receiver Ryan Byers and running back Mark Holland also return.
Tierney has a new defensive coordinator in Scott Hildebrand, a former Shaw assistant who led Hahnville to a Class 5A runner-up finish in 1995.
Moore’s coaching résumé includes stops at two SWAC schools - Mississippi Valley and Prairie View A&M - along with stints at Belhaven College, Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Iowa Wesleyan.
Hammond, a 5-5 team a year ago, will continue to run a spread offense. Quarterback Austin Miller and a corps of receivers led by Donald Davis and Trevon Hunter are expected to be among the leaders for the Tors.