Plaquemine High didn’t have to look far to find its head boys basketball coach.

Assistant Donald Ray Johnson, a former Green Devils standout who earned All-America honors at Brescia College in Kentucky, is moving into PHS’ top job.

“It’s the job I’ve always wanted,” Johnson said. “I applied last time and didn’t get it and when it opened up again this year, I applied again.

“My goal is to help get Plaquemine basketball back to where it was a few years ago. And I can’t wait to get started.”

The 28-year-old Johnson has been a Green Devils assistant for six years and will be the team’s third head coach in three years. He replaces Kirby Loupe, who resigned after one season with the Class 4A Green Devils. PHS finished 19-11, but finished lower than 32nd in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s power ratings and did not advance to the playoffs.

“We had some good applicants, but we just felt like Donald Ray was the best fit for us,” Plaquemine Athletic Director Scott Allen said. “He’ll be a new head coach, but he won’t be a new coach at the school.

“Donald Ray played at Plaquemine and then came back to coach here. I think his ties to the school and community are important. And this is an opportunity he really wanted.”

Johnson, who earned collegiate All-America honors in 2005-06, originally came in to assist his PHS coach, Denny Wright, who was transferred to another position in the parish after the 2011-12 season and is now head coach at Grand Isle. Wright led the PHS to 10 playoff appearances and three berths in the Top 28 tourney.