Photos: Our best shots from LHSAA girls basketball state tournament Thursday _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --St.Michael's head coach Tami McClure gives instructions to her players in the first half of St. Michael's 44-48 loss to Rayne in the Girls Top 28 Tournament in University Center Thursday, March 3, 2016, at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.

One of the Baton Rouge area’s most prominent girls basketball coaches is changing teams in 2016-17.

Tami McClure is leaving St. Michael the Archangel to become head coach at Zachary High. McClure informed her players of the decision during a Monday morning meeting.

“This is not something I thought I’d ever be doing,” McClure said. “When I came to St. Michael, I figured I’d be here for my entire career. I’m thankful St. Michael was willing to take a chance on a girl from Massachusetts.

“Joy Wagner, Joe Wray and Elmo Fernandez took that chance 16 years ago. What we’ve done wouldn’t have been possible without all the players and wonderful parents we had. All the girls worked extremely hard to put this program where it is.

“This is an opportunity for myself and my family that I could not pass up. It’s the top academic school district in the state. The facilities are fabulous, and I think there’s a chance for some great things.”

McClure compiled a 416-153 record in 16 seasons at St. Michael.

The Warriors (27-9) advanced to the Class 4A semifinals last month. McClure’s teams advanced to the LHSAA’s Girls Top 28 tournament five times and won Class 4A state titles in 2008 and 2009. St. Michael’s other tourney appearances were in 2011 and 2013.

The St. Michael job was McClure’s first. She succeeded Michelle Efferson, now the head softball coach at Central, after Efferson led the Warriors to the 4A quarterfinals.

Zachary won a share of the District 4-5A title under interim coach Mike Stephens and finished 23-11 and lost to eventual 5A state champion Mount Carmel in the second round of the playoffs.

Stephens was named interim coach after April Brown Barnes was relieved of coaching duties in October.

“I personally think we’ve hired the best coach in the state,” Zachary Athletic Director Jesse Cassard said. “You look at her record and see the things she’s done — it’s so impressive. “We’ve always said we want to offer the best coaches and opportunities to all boys and girls athletes. I think hiring Tami shows we’re serious about that. It’s a lot like it was when we hired David Brewerton as our football coach. She’s making a commitment to us and her family is moving to our community.”