McKinley High officials to meet with players, parents to discuss basketball program after two coaches sidelined _lowres

Advocate staff file photo by JOHN OUBRE -- McKinley boys basketball coach Harold Boudreaux in January 2015

In response to a small parent protest Thursday, the principal of McKinley High School is calling a meeting Friday morning for boys basketball players and their parents to discuss the program after head coach Harold Boudreaux and assistant coach Raeshawn Williams were sidelined for the rest of the 2015-16 season.

Since relieving the two of their coaching duties Wednesday, East Baton Rouge Parish school system officials have refused to say anything about what got the two in trouble in the first place. Boudreaux was part-way through his first season as coach of the Panthers. Assistant coach Marcus Williams and Athletic Director Robert Signater were named to oversee the team for the rest of the year.

McKinley High Principal Herman Brister Jr. said he won’t be discussing the action taken against Boudreaux and Williams, calling it a “personnel issue.” Even so, he said, he is calling the Friday meeting to clear the air with basketball players and their parents, including some who showed up at the Baton Rouge public high school Thursday morning.

“We’re going to talk about who’s going to be in charge, where we’re going to be moving forward to, and help allay some of the parent’s concerns,” Brister said.

Two mothers of McKinley boys basketball players and a team booster told The Advocate on Thursday that they were upset and came to the school in hopes of meeting with the principal.

Tangela Green, whose son is on the team, said players are upset over the dismissal of the coaches and that she is hoping to “stand up for the interests of our team.”

“They were doing an excellent job,” said Green, who spoke outside the school along with fellow parent Shena Coleman. “Discipline, structure as well as skills — it’s the first time in many years this program has been back on track. We’re just at a loss.”

Will Jordan, who played at McKinley as a student 47 years ago and regularly attends the teams’ games, said school officials hadn’t told anyone why the coaches were removed from their jobs — but said he’d heard it had to do with complaints over playing time.

“This guy’s a good coach,” Jordan said of Boudreaux. “You’ve got to give him a chance. This is his livelihood.”

Jordan said he worries the turmoil surrounding the program is a “black eye” for the school and might discourage students from attending.

“He’s been doing a great job and the kids respected him,” Jordan said.