Brusly downs persistent St. John _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Former Brusly football coach Erik Willis

Erik Willis has resigned as football coach at Brusly High and will become the Athletic Director and an assistant football coach at his alma mater, Plaquemine High.

“There’s nothing wrong with Brusly High,” Willis said. “In fact, I think the next coach has a chance to go in there and win right away. There are a lot of starters coming back from last year.

“It was time for me to make a change. You know I’m a Green Devil at heart. I’m looking forward to getting to work over there. Paul (Distefano, PHS coach) and I know each other and have worked together. The program is on the rise, and I’d like to help them get to the top.”

Willis informed the Brusly players of his decision during Wednesday morning’s offseason workouts.

The Class 3A Panthers finished 3-8 last fall, including a 2-4 record in the highly competitive District 7-3A that also included Division II select champion University High, runner-up Parkview Baptist and Class 3A semifinalist West Feliciana.

Before coming to Brusly for a one-year stint in 2008, Willis led St. John-Plaquemine to two Class 1A runner-up finishes. Distefano was on the SJHS staff during part of Willis’ tenure there.

A 1984 graduate of Plaquemine, Willis accepted the job as head football coach/overall parish Athletic Director in early 2009 but eventually spent the 2009 season as an assistant coach at Redemptorist. He returned to Brusly in 2011. Willis has a career record of 103-47, including a 28-27 mark in five total seasons at Brusly. The Panthers were 8-3 in 2012.

Scott Allen, who previously served as athletic director-baseball coach at Plaquemine, is set to move into administration. Class 4A Plaquemine finished 12-2 last fall and advanced to the semifinals of the playoffs.

It marks the second time in two months that Brusly has been forced to fill a major coaching vacancy. The Panthers named Kirby Loupe as its new boys basketball coach in mid-May after Harold Boudreaux accepted the head boys basketball position at McKinley.

Also, longtime volleyball coach Karen Wooley announced she was leaving Brusly after 18 years to be the head coach at Livonia. Kayla Sarradet, previously the Brusly assistant, is the new head volleyball coach.

Brusly Principal Walt Lemoine said the school will accept applications for the head football coach with an eye on naming Willis’ successor in early July. Athletic Director Tait Dupont will coordinate the Panthers’ offseason program until a new head coach is selected.

“We wish Erik the best,” Lemoine said. “We’re looking to have someone in place by early next month. We feel like we’ve got a school and program with something to offer.”

LHSAA sanctions Calvary

Calvary Baptist was fined $200 and placed on probation after a sportsmanship hearing for boys track Wednesday at the LHSAA office.

The sportsmanship violation took place at the LHSAA’s State Outdoor Track meet last month. A competitor for the Cavaliers threw the baton into the stands after a boys relay team was disqualified. Calvary will be not be eligible to compete for championship honors in outdoor boys track in 2015-16.

One of the coaches cited in the sanctions is new Christian Life Academy football coach Ben Palmer, who will be required to take a handbook certification class in the fall.