St. Michael head coach Paul Varnado

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE

Paul Varnado juggled being a head football coach, working on his master's degree and serving as a school administrator for two years.

Varnado slowed his personal merry-go-round just a bit Monday by resigning as head football coach at St. Michael the Archangel.

“When I look back on it, I’m not sure how I got it all done,” he said. “My role as an administrator has grown and, now that I have my masters, that’s something I want to focus on. One of the toughest things about a situation like this is telling the players you coach that you won’t be their coach. Fortunately, I was able tell them that I’ll still be around and willing to help them in any way I can.”

Varnado will continue as St. Michael’s dean of students and as powerlifting coach. He had a 21-23 record in four seasons, including a 5-6 mark this past fall.

Catholic High also made football news Monday, elevating defensive backs coach Deuce Harrison to defensive coordinator. Harrison previously was the Bears’ defensive coordinator in 2011.

Varnado is in his ninth year at St. Michael, serving as dean of students for nine years and as an assistant coach prior to 2013. St. Michael’s most successful season under Varnado was 2014: The Warriors finished 9-2 and beat Lutcher for the first time in school history. St. Michael lost to University in the first round of the Division II select playoffs this past fall and also beat South Baton Rouge rival Woodlawn for the first time.

“In his time as head football coach, Paul Varnado has exemplified our school’s commitment to excellence on and off the field,” St. Michael athletic director Rob Smith said in a news release. “We appreciate all he has done in promoting the character development of our young men and women as both students and athletes.”

Harrison was Catholic’s defensive backs coach for the past two seasons. He was part of the staff at Livonia when the Wildcats won the Class 3A nonselect state title in 2014 and was Catholic's defensive backs coach during its run to the Division I select title in 2015.

"I am extremely excited to elevate coach Harrison to our defensive coordinator position for next season,” incoming Catholic head coach Gabe Fertitta said. “I have never met a coach who posses a more detail-oriented approach to coaching.”

Harrison and Fertitta were teammates at Mississippi College. Harrison, who served as head coach at Mississippi’s Delta Academy, also was Fertitta’s defensive coordinator when he was head coach at Mississippi’s St. Stanislaus.

"I know we have some very talented and hard-working players returning in 2017, and I'm looking forward to working with Gabe and the rest of the staff to continue the tradition of excellence that is Catholic High football," Harrison said.

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