Numbers aren’t the only way to measure success.
But with 1,264 coaches registered, the annual Louisiana High School Coaches Association Coaches Clinic is a winner.
“We’re right on what we had last year, which was between 1,200 and 1,300 coaches registered,” LHSCA President Sam Messina of Loranger High said.
“The speakers have been good. It really seems like there’s been something there for everybody.”
The three-day LHSCA clinic ends Thursday with several morning speakers at the Crowne Plaza Hotel & Conference Center. Without a doubt, Wednesday was the key day on the LHSCA agenda.
In addition to the LHSCA general business meeting, coaches on hand got to listen to speakers representing a variety of sports.
The morning started with a series of football lectures, including a standing room only crowd that greeted first-year University of Louisiana at Lafayette football coach Mark Hudspeth.
Texas A&M football coach Mike Sherman, University of Texas-El Paso men’s basketball coach Tim Floyd and Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy were also among the heavy hitters who addressed coaches in individual sessions held in a group of meeting rooms.
“It was very important for us to be at this one,” Hudspeth said of the LHSCA clinic. “Louisiana is going to be the life blood of our program. We want them (Louisiana coaches) to get to know us. We want to be a resource for the coaches in this state.
“Being a new coach, I really didn’t know what to expect when I came. But a standing room only crowd ? that means a lot.”
There were some light-hearted moments. Sherman joked about the Aggies loss to LSU in the Cotton Bowl. Sherman said maybe his team scored too soon, which made LSU angry.
“I think we’re probably second to LSU among BCS schools when you look at the number of Louisiana players on their team,” Sherman said. “These coaches have been very good to me and good to Texas A&M through the years.
“They give us their time and sometimes their players. This is just a way to thank them and share some information.”
Murphy, who briefly accepted the LSU softball job early in the summer before returning to Alabama, was greeted warmly by a large group of coaches who sat in on sessions that covered two topics. Murphy and his associate head coach, Louisiana native Alyson Habetz, are also among Thursday’s speakers.
“We had already agreed to come here in February,” Murphy said. “I almost called and said, ?Do you still want us to come.’ Then Scott (Nielson, St. Amant High coach) emailed and said everyone was looking forward to hearing you. That made us feel good about it.
“I was in Austin last week for the Texas high school coaches. They require their coaches to come and there were like 750.
“This was more one-on-one and people got to ask questions. It’s more fun to be on the floor where they (coaches) can see more.”
Habetz added, “For me, it’s about giving back. It’s not like what we’re doing is original. We learned things from other people and then pass it on.”
Floyd, a former University of New Orleans and New Orleans Hornets coach, had the busiest day, doing three consecutive sessions for basketball coaches.
“This will be the first year in my career - 35 years - when I won’t have a Louisiana player on my roster,” Floyd said. “I’ve got two assistant coaches who have never recruited Louisiana and I wanted them to come down and spend some time with these coaches and get to know them.
“People here have been great to me. In addition to building new relationships, we want to take care of the ones we already have.”
Messina credited Louisiana High School Athletic Association assistant executive director Rhonda McCullough Dreibelbis for her work in organizing the clinic and its speakers.
As Wednesday’s sessions ended, several coaches left with notebooks full of material they plan to use.
“You know, none of us know it all,” Scotlandville High boys basketball coach Carlos Sample said. “None of us are too old to stop learning.”
LHSCA elects Williams
Donaldsonville High head football coach-athletic director Terence Williams was elected as the second vice president of the LHSCA during the general business meeting.
Former Central Lafourche-St. James coach Randy Breaux and Independence coach Keith Carona were among those receiving 25-year plaques.