Skeptics wondered how much longer Kenny Almond would keep coaching. Rumors of Almond’s retirement were proven to be premature when the 67-year-old coach was hired as Zachary High School’s boys basketball coach.
Zachary announced Almond’s hiring in an afternoon news release. Almond, who spent the past 10 years as head coach at East Ascension, has a 876-388 career record, a total that ranks seventh nationally.
In 2013-14, Almond led the Spartans to a 24-10 record and a berth in Class 5A quarterfinals where they lost to eventual state champion Natchitoches Central 56-50.
Almond is perhaps best known for his tenure at Woodlawn, where he won three state championships. His Panthers teams won a Class 4A state title in 1999 and the 5A title in 2002 and 2003.
He compiled a 255-103 record at East Ascension, leading teams to the playoffs in eight of his 10 seasons and winning four district titles. Almond, who led EAHS to the semifinals in 2008 and 2013, also has state runner-up finishes at Lee in 1982 and Woodlawn in 1993, 1998 and 2001.
“Coach Almond has been successful everywhere he has led,” Zachary Principal Wes Watts said in the school news release. “His experience and proven record of success make him the right person to bring our basketball program to the level of excellence our players and community deserve.”
Almond, who was honored as Louisiana’s Mr. Basketball (given to someone who has made a significant, long-term contribution to basketball in Louisiana) by the Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches last month, was one of 21 applicants for the job. He replaces Brian Hargroder, who resigned after one season to become an assistant football coach at Central. The Broncos were 9-19 in 2013-14 and did not make the Class 5A playoffs.
“He’s a proven winner,” Zachary Athletic Director Jesse Cassard said. “He’s the kind of guy you want leading your team. He gets people excited about basketball and you know he’s capable of taking a team to that next level based on what he’s done.”
Almond thanked East Ascension for the years spent there.
“I am really grateful to Cornell Bourgeois for giving me the chance to coach at East Ascension. I will really miss kids and all the people in the community and wish them good luck in the future,” Almond said in the press release. “I would like to thank all the assistant coaches who helped build a successful basketball program over the last 10 years.”