Zachary High announced Friday it has hired Live Oak High coach Brian Hargroder as its boys basketball coach.

The 40-year-old Hargroder spent the past nine seasons as head coach at LOHS, a District 4-5A rival of Zachary in recent years. Hargroder also served as the Live Oak Athleic Director for six years.

“I always said that if the Zachary job came open it was one I would apply for,” Hargroder said. “It’s a great school system with some of the best facilities around.

“I’d like to thank Mr. (Wes) Watts (ZHS principal) and Mr. (Scott) Devillier (Zachary superintendent) for hiring me. And I also have to thank Mrs. (Tracy) McRae (Live Oak principal) for the support I received at Live Oak.”

Zachary received 23 formal applications for its head basketball job, Watts said. Bakari Beckwith resigned as the ZHS coach last month to accept the head job at Class 5A Ruston, which is located closer to his hometown of Monroe. Beckwith led the Broncos to the playoff both years he coached at the school.

“Just as it was the last time we hired a coach, this was a process,” Watts said. “And as we went through it, we saw that coach Hargroder was the right choice for us. He’s coached basketball on every possible level.

“There’s not a doubt in my mind that he’s the right fit not only for our program, but also for our school. It was a tough process for me, because there were a lot of friends I had to say no to. But in coach Hargroder, I feel like we have the total package.”

Hargroder met with Zachary players Friday morning and will conduct the Broncos’ first summer workouts Tuesday before the start of the Madison Prep-based summer league.

“I got a chance to meet with the guys (ZHS players), and we’ll try to hit the ground running,” Hargroder said.

A 1990 Catholic High graduate, Hargroder also spent six years as an assistant at Redemptorist before going to Live Oak. He helped coach RHS teams that won a state title in 2003 and three district titles.

While at LOHS and Redemptorist, Hargroder coached against Watts, who was previously the Central boys basketball coach.