One day and two meetings were more than enough to give the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s executive committee plenty to think about.
LHSAA President Vic Bonnaffee of Central Catholic confirmed the executive committee spent the majority of Monday interviewing candidates for the organization’s vacant executive director post. At 4 p.m., the committee tackled a proposed agenda for its January convention in an open session. The agenda included two items aimed at limiting or eliminating the current split for select and nonselect schools along with three proposals by Many Principal Norman Booker III that would extend the split to basketball, baseball and softball.
The committee is set to conclude its two-day meeting with a session set for 8 a.m. Tuesday at the LHSAA office.
“I told you over and over it was a process, and it would be one step at a time,” Bonnaffee said. “Today you did a step. The search committee worked very hard since (Nov. 21). They came up with some potential people for us to interview, and we conducted those interviews (Monday).
“I would not disclose anything. This is a private organization; we do not have to disclose names. We do not have to disclose numbers. We do not have to disclose anything. The reality of the situation is there will only be one, the right one. But we had a very good day today.
“We fit in as many people as we could today. This was not the conclusion.”
Bonnaffee would not say if others would be interviewed but did say there likely would be an executive session Wednesday that would allow the committee to discuss the hiring process. Bonaffee also wouldn’t confirm a final time line for the hiring process to be completed.
The LHSAA’s top job opened in late October when the organization and its executive director of seven years, Kenny Henderson, mutually agreed to part ways. There was speculation that Lutcher football coach/Athletic Director Tim Detillier had been hired. However, a source close to the situation confirmed Detillier was one of the applicants interviewed but was not offered the job.
Another source said there were 14 applicants and said former LHSAA President William Duplechain of Port Barre High, former Assistant Executive Director Rhonda Dreibelbis and Haughton High Principal Gene Couvillion were also among those interviewed.
Interim Executive Director Jimmy Anderson, Bonnaffee and School Relations Committee Chairman Mike Boyer of Teurlings Catholic played roles during the review of the agenda items that was open to the media.
Boyer came to the committee with only one agenda item to recommend, but it was a crucial one. The School Relations Committee’s proposal would reunite select/nonselect football teams in Class 5A and 4A. It would divide the remaining select schools into two groups: one that would consist of 3A and 2A schools and the other made up of 1A schools.
Committee members questioned where some charter schools and magnet schools would fall in this equation. Boyer is scheduled to make a second presentation Tuesday.
A proposal put up by executive committee members Todd Guice of Ouachita and Ricky Durrett of Ruston would create a 6A class for the top 32 schools enrollmentwise and unite the select/nonselect schools in all classes.
Durrett said one of his coaches helped develop the idea that he and Guice chose to put on the agenda as member principals, not executive committee members. The Guice/Durrett proposal would include a multiplier, which would require select schools, most of which are private schools, to multiply their enrollment by 1.5 to determine their classification.
Guice said he and Durrett will study the multiplier option, which is expected to be met with opposition. One private-school coach on the committee, Redemptorist’s Terence Williams, voiced his concerns.
“It’s an idea that’s been kicking around for a while,” Guice said. “We actually started talking about it a couple of weeks ago. There’s such a disparity in 5A between the big schools and the little schools. We were also looking for a compromise to bring the nonselect and select (schools) back together.
“I think if you look at the numbers, it really divides out the classes equally. And it brings back some equality within the classes.”
Booker’s proposals to split in other sports did not come as a surprise. The Many principal lobbied openly for a split in sports other than football at last year’s convention.
With the agenda now nearly finalized, Bonnaffee noted that the next major step, once an executive director is hired, will be area meetings before the Jan. 28-30 convention at the Crowne Plaza.
Executive committee member Jane Griffin of Winnfield, whose 2013 proposal brought about the football split, declined comment on the items but acknowledged there is much to consider.
“We have had a very long day and I have not had time to digest everything,” Griffin said. “I’ve got to do some thinking. I’ve got to look at it all and I’ve got to think about it. I’m very deliberate.”