One basketball coach who helped a team win a state title last spring and two others with past state runner-up finishes are starting the year with new jobs.
Former Central High and Nicholls State player KJ Lee is the new girls basketball coach at Class 3A Brusly. Lee was an assistant coach Ponchatoula for two seasons, including the Green Wave’s run to the Class 5A title in the spring.
James Holmes, who led Family Christian to a Class C runner-up finish in 2011, is now the boys basketball and baseball coach at 3A Baker. Meanwhile, David Castillo, previously an assistant and head baseball coach at FCA, takes over for Holmes. Castillo’s 2004 Bethany Christian team was the Class B runner-up.
“I wanted to be a head coach, and I really like this team and possibilities,” Lee said. “I was part of teams that did some great things the last two years at Ponchatoula.
“Now I get to see if I can lead a team to a state championship. We’re in the district with U-High, the team that won the last two titles. In order to be the best you have to play them, so I’m excited about that too.”
Lee replaces Shaeeta Williams, who led the Panthers to back-to-back Class 3A playoff berths. There also another notable connection for Lee. His coach at Central, Wes Watts, is now superintendent of the West Baton Rouge Parish School System that Brusly is part of.
Holmes spent seven seasons as coach at Family Christian, and advanced to the quarterfinals three other times. Holmes’ Flames also won five district titles. The previous Baker coach, Raeshawn Williams, is now an assistant basketball coach at McKinley.
“It all happened this week,” Holmes said. “There are some great people at Family Christian, and I loved my time there. But I’ve always wanted the chance to be a head coach at a school in a larger classification. Now I have that.”
Castillo, a head boys basketball coach at Barbe in Lake Charles for 18 years, is in his 41st year of coaching. The 1974 Episcopal graduate moved from Bethany to New Iberia’s Assembly Christian before returning to Baton Rouge and FCA. Castillo is the son of Morning Advocate high school sportswriter Ted Castillo.
“We’ve got some great kids at Family Christian,” Castillo said. “And I love to coach. I think it’s a great situation.”