West Feliciana High School softball coach Shelley Genre will assume the duties of athletic director, effective July 1.

Longtime athletics director and football coach Robb Odom has decided to step down from the athletics director position and focus on football and teaching.

Genre has been with the high school for 15 years. She started her career in public relations after earning her bachelor’s degree from Northwestern State University. She worked at Bishop Sullivan and St. Joseph’s Academy before joining the Tiger Athletic Foundation.

“I missed working in schools; I enjoyed that setting,” said Genre, who later earned a master’s degree and teaching certificate. “I wanted to work with kids again and coach. I had an opportunity to teach at West Feliciana, and I jumped on it.”

This is a time of transition for the high school. Principal Jim Carroll is the new supervisor of secondary education, and Abby Cochran is moving to the high school from Bains Elementary to be principal. There are several other senior-level administrative changes, as well.

“It’s a time of change, for sure,” said Genre. “Almost every office will have a new person. But everybody knows each other and has worked in some capacity together before, so that will make it a little easier. We all have the same vision, and I think we’ll be a great team. Our goal is to make West Feliciana even better than it already is. I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Genre praised Odom for his leadership, and she plans to continue to build on some of the things he’s implemented. She also wants to get a comprehensive student-athlete handbook together and plans to enhance the department’s organization and protocols within it.

“I want to work on enhancing the organization and making the guidelines more defined,” said Genre. “That means pulling together the (coaching) staff and getting them to work with teachers. I want to take what coach Odom has built and continue to build that ‘West Fel’ pride.

“Part of that is to really get the student-athlete handbook down so everyone understands the expectations,” Genre said. “I want it to be guidelines for students, coaches and parents. We need to hold them to a higher standard. (Counselor) Jessica Walker will be taking on the role as liaison for student-athletes and teachers to make sure athletes are doing everything they need to do in the classroom.

Plus, she has to get up to speed on the day-to-day duties of the job.

“For the first year, I’ll make equipment orders, work on protocols and relationships with parents, settle into the position,” Genre said. “Plus, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association has requirements I need to become familiar with, and now they’re going paperless so I’m sure that will mean some changes.”

Genre will continue to coach softball and teach a couple of business classes and physical education. She said she’s grateful to her dad, Joseph Benoit, an assistant coach, and her sister, Nikki, an assistant who is also a support teacher at the high school who will assume some physical education duties.

Her squad was a No. 31 seed in the Class 3A softball tournament last year and improved to a No. 16 seed this year, losing by one run in the eighth inning 8-7 to No. 17 E.D. White in a tourney heartbreaker.

“We did pretty well this year. The girls I have, I couldn’t ask for better student-athletes,” Genre said. “They’re growing together and meshing, and we should do better and better.”

In a statement, Odom thanked the parents and the student–athletes for making their coaches, school and community proud.

“I would like to say it has been a pleasure to work with our athletic staff and serve as their athletic director these past few years,” Odom said. “I would like them to know how much I respect and appreciate what they do and the sacrifices they make on a daily basis so our kids can have a chance to be successful not only on the playing field but also in life.”

He praised the coaches for their dedication and for going beyond their job descriptions.

Simoneaux gets third ace

Golfer Mark Simoneaux, of Slaughter, used a 6-iron from 178 yards out on the par 3 eighth hole at Copper Mill Golf Club in Zachary to record his third career hole-in-one on March 19. Witnesses were his wife, Gina Simoneaux, Troy Higginbotham and Dean Higginbotham.

Send sports news, photos and stats to Howard Arceneaux at harceneaux @theadvocate.com.