Change is the one thing that is inevitable in both life and high school sports. A little over a month since the end of the 2013-14 seasons, we’re being reminded of that fact almost daily.
Two recent coaching changes figure to alter the landscape of high school basketball in Baton Rouge. A few baseball coaching changes also loom large.
Legendary coach Kenny Almond moved from East Ascension to Zachary last week to do what he does perhaps better than no on else, take on a rebuilding job.
Just two days ago, former Southern Lab star Devan Clark returned to his alma mater with a daunting goal — return one of Louisiana’s legendary programs to glory. Clark was highly successful during eight seasons at Lafayette’s Northside High.
Neither coach faces an easy route to their goals in a Baton Rouge basketball hierarchy that has changed so much during the past decade.
We’ve seen the rise of Scotlandville as a Class 5A power with two state titles and a string of title-game appearances. Christian Life became a 1A power and in the past three years Madison Prep has become a bright shooting star with a Class B title and a 1A runner-up finish.
Zachary’s hiring of Almond is considered a coup by many. Just as significant is University making Justin Morgan its new baseball coach.
While the 32-year-old Morgan has never been a head coach on the high school level, he has coached the highly successful Gauthier & Amedee American Legion team. He also has been the pitching coach for Dutchtown, one of the area’s most consistently successful 5A programs.
There was a great deal of speculation about who UHS would hire to replace Burke Broussard, who retired as a baseball coach after leading the Cubs to a 2A runner-up finish and the 3A semifinals in his last two seasons.
The fact a coach from an Ascension Parish school is moving to a Baton Rouge school has been the norm, but then, considering the recent success and ties to LSU, the U-High job isn’t the norm, either.
Now attention will shift to what happens next at another Ascension school, East Ascension. In addition to seeking a replacement for Almond, the Spartans also must find a head baseball coach after Mike Toups’ resignation last week.
There’s plenty of pressure in both instances. Under Almond, the EAHS basketball program soared to heights not seen in decades, including two Top 28 appearances and berths in the semifinals in 2013 and the quarterfinals in 2014.
Meanwhile, the Spartans baseball program has enjoyed some success, but often wound up in the shadow of others, including parish rivals Dutchtown and St. Amant along with District 5-5A rival Catholic High.
With several coaching openings remaining, there will be more changes before the 2014-15 seasons begin.
Celebrating one of the best
It was great to be in Natchitoches for the induction of Catholic High track and cross country coach Pete Boudreaux into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday night.
Getting a high school coach into the LSHOF is no easy task. Boudreaux is the first high school track coach inducted and if you were looking for a pacesetter, he’s the perfect one.
Boudreaux’s accomplishments speak for themselves. Winning 41 state titles is eye-popping.
What has always impressed me the most isn’t the titles, it’s the person who is humble and as energetic about his craft today as he was when he started coaching more than 40 years ago.