Episcopal football coach Travis Bourgeois is tackling the school’s baseball coach role. Heath Whittington, who led St. John-Plaquemine to the Class 1A baseball semifinals last month, is now the head softball coach at Youngsville-based Ascension Episcopal.
The changes for Bourgeois and Whittington help highlight some of the notable offseason coaching moves in the Baton Rouge area.
Bourgeois is set to serve as the Knights’ football and baseball coach in 2014-15 and will give up his duties as girls basketball coach after 15 seasons. He has been Episcopal’s football coach for 14 years.
A former high school baseball player at Ascension Catholic, Bourgeois also played on the college level as an outfielder at Pratt (Kansas) Community College and the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
“We had our first metro league summer game last night, and it felt so natural,” Bourgeois said. “My assistant, Brett Bailey, told me it was just like riding a bike, you never forget.
“I’ve always stayed current with baseball. I go to our (Episcopal’s) games, and I’ve gone to the College World Series the last 12 years to satisfy the baseball part of me. I thought my baseball days were over. This makes me happy.”
Bourgeois takes over for Dan Canevari, the former LSU assistant who was the school’s coach for four years. Assistant coach Michael Kuhn is set to take over the head girls basketball duties, said Episcopal Athletic Director Myra Mansur.
“We’re excited to have Travis as our baseball coach,” Mansur said. “He was an assistant football coach and assistant baseball coach when he first came here. In high school, Travis was a three-sport athlete, and he loved to play whatever sport was in season. He’s that way as a coach too.”
Bourgeois was an assistant to Chris Counts in baseball and also was an assistant football coach during his first five years at the school. He became girls basketball coach and led Episcopal to the Class 2A semifinals and what was then the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Sweet 16 tourney in 2006 and 2007. The Knights were 11-1 and lost to Archbishop Hannan in the Division III select football semifinals last fall.
Whittington, an Ascension Parish native, spent seven years as baseball coach at St. John, leading the Eagles to a 25-6 record this spring. At Ascension Episcopal, Whittington will serve as softball coach and assistant football coach and will reunite with head baseball coach-athletic director Lonnie Landry, a coach he worked with at Lafayette’s Teurlings Catholic before moving back to the Baton Rouge area.
“I enjoyed the seven years I spent at St. John and felt like we were able to do some great things during the time I was there,” Whittington said. “I’m sure the program will continue to be successful. This was about moving back to the Acadiana area for me and for my family.”
Whittington said he was originally supposed to be an assistant football coach-assistant baseball coach for Class 1A AES, but will be a softball coach for the first time because of an “immediate need.”
Whittington and his wife, Liza, previously coached in the Acadiana area at Westminster Christian and Teurlings. Liza Whittington led Christian Life to the Class 1A title in 2006 and served as a head coach and most recently assistant girls basketball coach at Brusly.
Other Episcopal moves
Episcopal will also have two new soccer coaches in 2014-15. Boys coach Chris Stewart is moving to another south Baton Rouge school, Runnels. EHS’ girls coach Matthew Shelton has accepted an out-of-town promotion in his private sector, Mansur said.
Marvin Smith, who previously coached at Episcopal but was most recently at Runnels, will be the Knights girls soccer coach. Catholic High assistant coach Miles Vaughn has been hired as Episcopal’s boys soccer coach,
Wolves promote Jewett
Assistant coach Daniel Jewett has taken over the duties of head baseball coach at Redemptorist, though an official announcement won’t come until July 1 when the school’s new principal, ex-Broadmoor Principal Dary Glueck, takes over.
Nick Hall served as Redemptorist’s head coach the past two seasons but has returned to the Chicago area. The 29-year-old Jewett who also is an Illinois native, was a college teammate of Hall’s at Northern Illinois University and was the Wolves’ assistant the past two years.
Redemptorist reversed its fortunes in the spring by winning the District 6-2A title, advancing to the regional round of the playoffs and compiling a 22-10 record.
“We’re excited about the future,” Jewett said. “We’ll have a big class of seniors and a good class of juniors, along with some younger players who will contribute.
“It will be the first time in three years that we’ve had more upper classmen than freshmen and sophomores. That usually means good things.”