Brett Beard quickly built a reputation by turning the Woodlawn High football program around in just two years. Now the former Vanderbilt and Southeastern Louisiana offensive lineman is turning his attentions to another local Class 5A school.

Beard was named head football coach at Live Oak High on Wednesday, ending a two-week search process.

“It’s really hard to explain, but Live Oak has always been a place that has intrigued me,” Beard said. “I’ve enjoyed competing against those guys in the offseason, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about the school and the Watson area. The athletic facilities rival anything you see around the state.

“This is a family decision because the school is located closer to where we’ll be living. I’m always up for a challenge, and I’m excited about this one. But I also have to thank Woodlawn for the opportunities I had there. I’ll love those kids regardless of where I am, and I expect them to continue to be successful.”

There were 51 applicants for the Live Oak job, principal Tracy McRae said.

“We were fortunate to have a large number of applicants and some very good applicants,” McRae said. “We were so impressed with coach Beard, and he’s very excited about coming in to take over our program.

“He sees the benefit of having the new school and the facilities we have along with a school that performs on a high level academically. We think he’s the right person for our school.”

Beard inherited a Woodlawn team that finished 1-9 in 2012. His first team was 4-7, losing to District 5-5A rival Dutchtown in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Panthers got off to a hot start in 2014, winning four of their first five games, including a 28-21 win over eventual Class 4A runner-up Warren Easton. Woodlawn finished 6-5, losing to another local team, Denham Springs of District 4-5A, in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.

Beard came to Woodlawn after a stint as an assistant coach at 5A power Destrehan High. He succeeds Barry “Tut” Musemeche, who resigned after three years at the District 4-5A school.

Meanwhile, Woodlawn High is beginning its search for a new head coach immediately. Those interested in applying should send resumes by email to Woodlawn Athletic Director Elmo Fernandez at efernandez@ebrschools.org and Woodlawn Principal Scott Stevens at sstevens1@ebrschools.org.