Boys basketball players, their parents and alumni crowded into the library of McKinley High School on Friday morning to hear from Principal Herman Brister Jr., two days after they learned their head coach and assistant coach will not coach the team’s remaining nine games or any postseason games.
Anyone hoping to find out what prompted the East Baton Rouge Parish school system to remove head coach Harold Boudreaux and assistant coach Raeshawn Williams from their coaching duties came away disappointed.
Brister suggested that what happened warranted at least some action, but he offered no details.
“Some things have taken place, and a degree of responsibility has to fall with all of the adults involved,” Brister said. “That includes me as well.”
Neither of the coaches were present Friday. One person who was present, though he did not speak, was Ben Necaise, the central office administrator who oversees high schools and whose office was involved in the investigation.
Brister said Friday he has confidence in assistant coach Marcus Williams, who will finish the season as acting head coach with the help of Athletic Director Robert Signater.
Brister said he will determine whether Boudreaux and Raeshawn Williams will return to coaching next year after the current season ends, saying he will meet with the team as well as the parents.
Soon after taking over as principal of the Baton Rouge public high school, Brister hired Boudreaux, a former LSU star, from Brusly High, where he’d coached for six years.
Brister noted the McKinley High basketball team, while it has a long history of success, has been “tainted” in recent years by frequent coaching changes, suggesting he’s reluctant to make more changes.
“It’s very difficult to put together a championship program when coaches are changing that fast,” Brister said.
Boudreaux supporters dominated the audience Friday. At one point, Brister addressed “the parents who aren’t here and players who aren’t here,” saying he will work to bring everyone together for the common good. “We’ve got to take a step back and put the emphasis on you guys and moving forward,” he said.
Sharon Terrace, whose grandson plays on the team, said she wonders why these moves were taken midseason and not later. “I hate that they could not wait until the season was over,” Terrace said.
Darrell Glasper, a McKinley High alumnus and former basketball player, said he supports Boudreaux.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” Glasper said. “He’s a guy that started with Shaquille O’Neal at LSU. Very respectable guy. So I hope, whatever the situation is, it works out.”
Michelle Robinson, whose son is on the basketball team, said she doesn’t know the details of why Boudreaux is no longer coaching but said she believes it is connected to disagreements some parents have with his firm approach to discipline.
“Everybody accepts things differently when it comes to their kids and discipline,” Robinson said.