ALEXANDRIA — Incoming Executive Director Eddie Bonine walked toward the group of coaches/administrators who were expressing frustration with specific schools during the LHSAA’s Alexandria area meeting Wednesday morning.
“What school is that you said,” Bonine asked. “This is our third meeting and this is rhe first time the names of schools have been mentioned. If this is the source of our problems, this is where I need to go.”
Bonine listened and wrote down names as coaches/administrators listed private school football powers John Curtis, Evangel Christian, Calvary Baptist, University High and Parkview Baptist.
One voice from the back of the room interjected, “This isn’t just about football. You’ve got Riverside Academy in basketball.” Softball also was mentioned as a sport with “issues.”
With spokesmen from Many High, including Assistant Principal Moses Curtis, on hand there were times when the meeting held at Alexandria Senior High sounded somewhat like the Shreveport area meeting held Tuesday in Bossier City.
The meeting designed to review the agenda and prepare member principals for the vote at next week’s annual convention set for Jan. 28-30 once again added to the education for Bonine, who takes over as head of the LHSAA officially in March.
There were more coaches and athletic directors in the crowd of 57 in attendance because a number of public school principals were in Baton Rouge for a required conference.
Many’s Curtis took more of a low key tone while speaking on behalf of three proposals by MHS Principal Norman Booker III that would extend the current championship split past football to also include basketball, softball and baseball,
LHSAA Interim Executive Director Jimmy Anderson and President Vic Bonnaffee asked those on hand to consider giving Bonine a year to seek solutions before passing any split proposals that might change the make-up of the group.
Anderson again noted that the basketball, softball and baseball changes would lead to logistical site issues. He noted that the softball tourney would expand to 96 schools and the basketball tourneys would include 48 teams instead of 28 as examples.
“Why shouldn’t we do this if it’s what best for our schools and our sudent/athletes,” Curtis said. “I don’t think there’s a principal out there who would have a problem with their softball team playing at 10 o’clock in the morning or needing a couple of extra days just so long as their team is included.
“As for sponsorships, there’s talk of sponsors pulling out. I can’t imagine why? With more schools involved that’s more exposure for their companies.”
Bonine’s impression on the group was a solid one. He talked again about going the source of issues.
“This comes at the worst possible time.” Bonine said of the convention vote with its private/public schools ramifications. “We’re going to get through this. I’ve got a big homework assignment.”
“You know Many was going to push,” Pickering Principal and executive committee member Hub Jordan said. “Until you can sit down with 386 principals and talk to them, I’m not sure how that’s going to happen.”
Alexandria Senior High Principal Duane Urbina added, “This is what I expected. There are some issues that need to be addressed. We still have some questions, like about where we might fall in classification, that hopefully can be answered next week.”
Pineville High Principal Karl Carpenter expressed a different view than many in the room.
“He (Bonine) is pretty much a straight shooter,” Carpenter said. “I look forward to meeting with him and working with him. We have to look at what’s good for our school and what’s good for the entire state. I think we need to do what’s best for the state.”