Advocate sportswriter Robin Fambrough provides live updates from the Louisiana High School Athletic Association area meetings, which are the first for incoming Executive Director Eddie Bonine.
Woodlawn High didn’t have to look far to find its new head football coach. The Panthers have hired Daniel Luquet, who served as the school’s offensive coordinator last fall.
"Like I just told the kids I'm on cloud 9," Luquet said. "This is a dream come true for me and for my family.
"You don't get an opportunity like this very often. I'm anxious to put the lessons I've learned from my Dad and other people into practice."
Luquet, a former Destrehan High quarterback and assistant coach, succeeds Brett Beard, who left Woodlawn last month to become head football coach at another area school, Live Oak High. This is the first head coaching job for Luquet, the son of long time Destrehan baseball coach Marty Luquet.
Beard, also a former Destrehan assistant, hired Luquet as his offensive coordinator last spring. The Panthers had one of the area’s more prolific offenses led by dual threat quarterback Charles Brooks, who committed to Nicholls State last month.
Notes from the Monroe meeting
On public/private school issues in Nevada, Bonine said, “There was always a rub.”
Bonine: “In two meetings, I’ve learned about the passion everybody in Louisiana has for education-based high school athletics. I’m sure I’ll see even more of that tomorrow in Alexandria and Lafayette.”
Again, Bonine stresses change is needed and that LHSAA needs to be able to make adjustments. Says, “I don’t want to push something through. That’s quick fix. I want to get something we don’t have to beat up every year.”
“In a nutshell I ask for your support,” Bonine said. “I know I have to earn it. You’ve heard the talk. Now I have to walk the walk.”
Bonine, “I’m not a big committee guy, but when you have a committee you’d better use it.”
Interim Executive Director Eddie Bonine thanks coaches for their service. He tells them he doesn’t know how much time he’ll have but says, “The bottom is to find out how ‘we” got to this point. Note I said we.”
Bonine restates his belief that athletics are like the front porch of the school and the preception of that being a mess can taint the perception of other parts of the school.
Anderson tells the Monroe group that Many Principal Norman Booker III still plans to keep his split proposals on the agenda and plans to come to Thursday’s BR meeting and also plans to meet with Bonine.
Anderson adds, “My voice is one of serious concern depending on what happens with these (Booker’s proposals).”
Ouachita’s Guice explains Anderson’s role as the interim executive director and with the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame. Anderson gets a round of applause.
More than 90 coaches/administrators attended Shreveport meeting. A total of 57 came to Monroe meeting.
Principals Todd Guice of Ouachita, Mickey Merritt of West Ouachita and Ricky Durrett of Ruston say their 6A proposal is designed to bring schools back together.
Durrett noted that the multiplier he included of 1.5 for enrollment of private schools is based on what Arkansas has.
Interim Executive Director Jimmy Anderson said that the proposed splits by Many’s Booker would include 12 title games and cited softball, noting that 96 teams would advance to the state tourney instead of 56. “Some venues won’t be able to handle that many games,” Anderson said.
Guice noted that the group would be willing to table its proposal to give Incoming Executive Director Eddie Bonine a chance to find a solution.
Anderson tells the group that is Guice, etc., keep their 6A proposal on the agenda and it passes, the LHSAA/School Relations Committee proposal that would unite 5A/4A schools but allow for select/nonselect in the other classes would become moot because it will be voted on first in the agenda.
The LHSAA area meeting in Shreveport has begun
Bonine ends meeting with “Are we good? The proof is in the pudding.”
10:47: Bonine notes he plans to go to sources of problems. “If we can hold off on some of this,” I’ll manage it.”
Evangel Principal Bud Dean says he hopes Bonine’s message to me is the same as it is to public school principals or anyone else.
Bonine notes his email address is email@example.com
10:35 a.m.: For principals. “I believe athletics are the front porch of your house. If people perceive that as being in disarray they believe other areas are too. We will always be an educational organization and that won’t change. The two things do go together.” Bonine notes that he will also be a teacher and a coach.
10:30 a.m.: Bonine says, “I want to find out how we got here. Is it seven schools, 20 schools? Is it public or select? Is it charter schools.
I heard someone say “I’m tired of waiting and I get that. I’m not sure why you’ve been waiting. I want a solution we can live with for a while and not something we have to keep going back over.
Bonine uses white board analogy, saying don’t use a permanent marker because that’s can leave a mess. If something doesn’t work, try something else.
10:20 a.m.: Break over. Anderson notes that if the 6A proposal passes the other proposals will be moot.
Bonine begins to speak. He tells group, “I’m one of you. I’ve been a coach. I’ve been an athletic director. Notes that he taught P.E., science and was AD. He notes he was an administrators. Tell principals, “I couldn’t do what you do now. Things have changed in the academic world and the athletic world.
“I’m honored to stand before you today. You are the LHSAA. I have the priviledge of leading you. Notes his ties to Louisiana and says he understands the pure traditions in Louisiana.”
He asks for schools to work together. Says he wears a size 13 school and weighs 300 pounds and that his feet or on the ground.
10:09 a.m.: Bonine to speak. A 10-minute break is called for.
10:05 a.m.: Anderson notes that Booker’s proposal for softball could pose a logistical issue for Sulphur as the host site if there would be an increase to 12 state champions.
9:58 a.m.: Anderson tells the group that the LHSAA proposal from the school relations committee proposal that calls for seven football classes could be amended to integrate the Louisiana Football Coaches Association’s proposal that would include seven divisions where select/nonselect schools would be united.
The school relations committee proposal calls for select/nonselect would play together in 5A and 4A and schools in 3A and below would be divided into select/nonselect groups to bring the total of championships to seven.
9:49 a.m.: Benton Principal Mitch Downey asks the most questions the fairmess of why public schools are at the mercy of legislators who represent private schools dictate what the LHSAA even though public schools make up the majority of LHSAA schools.
Bonnaffee points out that the arbitration issue was based on one school, which had a graduate in the legislature. He notes that all member schools need to do a better job of making their voices heard. He notes that legislators work based on what they hear from all constituents.
9:43 a.m.: Bonnaffee tells the group that the lobbyist tells them the LHSAA can keep the football split, but expanding the split could cause problems with legislators. Bonine to meet with legislative leaders on Monday, according to Anderson.
9:36 a.m.: Anderson gets to Booker proposals that would split baseball. basketball and softball, noting that it would create 12 championships in those sports, while it is nine for football. Notes that venues would be needed for extra days and a lot of added games. Anderson says this “I’ll tell you this is something we don’t need right now.”
“We’ve alienated some people. We need to go back and mend some fences with people. This can cause major problems with the legislators and our sponsors. We need to keep those people on our size.”
Parkway football coach David Feaster notes that “This is the same thing that was said about football. Anything that those other sites don’t want, Shreveport will be happy to take on. Shreveport would love to take on any football that New Orleans might not want or appreciate.
Feaster also notes that the original football split was supposed to be seven championships but was adjusted to nine. Bonnaffee said the constitution allowed
9:26 a.m.: Not much discussion on 6A proposal. Anderson said he can’t detail any amendments.
Evangel’s Bud Dean asks if classification would be delayed with Bonine coming in. Anderson notes the importance of not tying Bonine’s hands and let him put his thumb print on things. Anderson notes that Bonine likes to go to the source of the problem, not put a bandage on it.
9:17 a.m.: Anderson notes that people talk about developing a leader and says the LHSAA has hired one in Bonine, who takes over full time in March. Bonine chimes in notes that certification for coaches might be handled through a webinar. Bonine says it’s important to work smarter, not just harder.
9:09 a.m.: Anderson explains proposal involving third-party arbitration. He notes the arbitration involving Episcopal’s Clement Mubungirwa last falls and says there is now a second case set to through arbitration but did not go into specifics.
9:00 a.m.: Anderson has started a review of the LHSAA agenda.
8:57: Interim Executive Director Jimmy Anderson notes that area meeting held Thursday in BR will be recorded on video and placed on the LHSAA website to give principals who couldn’t attend area meetings a chance to see the review of agenda items.
8:50 a.m.: Bonnaffee said the LHSAA has to be able to refinance itsd building. And he says LHSAA needs to keep all its sponsors, who cover approximately 50 percent of the organization’s expenses.
Bonnaffee says investigations have to lead to sanctions and penalties and says incoming Executive Director Eddie Bonine has been told that.
Bonnaffee closes by saying its important to restore trust between the LHSAA and member schools.
8:45 a.m.: LHSAA President Vic Bonnaffee tells the principals that the role of executive director needs to be a leader, a decision maker and a person with ideas. Not a facilitator.
Bonnaffee also tells the member principals that the LHSAA has spent nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in legal fees in recent years, including $400,00 in a case that has been going on for the last few years, meaning the Varsity Event Management lawsuit.
LHSAA President Vic Bonnaffee of Central Catholic is speaking now. He tells principals/coach that he sees the LHSAA as a student/coach organization, not a principal’s organization, which was the contention under previous executive director Kenny Henderson.
Bonnaffee talks about wanting to be transparent and up front. As a side note, Many Principal Norman Booker III is not in attendance. Booker has proposals on the agenda that would split the LHSAA in baseball, softball and basketball in addition to football. Assistant Principal Mason Curtis is representing Many.