Mention the name Pam Slayton, and you evoke memories of a legendary girls basketball coach who helped Salmen become one of the best programs of the 1990’s.
Now, after 16 years away from St. Tammany Parish, Slayton has returned home, but this time to her alma mater.
Slayton was officially named girls basketball coach at Slidell High on Monday afternoon. Previously the coach at Hancock County High School in Mississippi, Slayton coached in Mississippi for 16 years, capturing a state title in 2004.
More known for her run as the coach at Salmen, Slayton coached the Spartans for 20 years, leading them to back-to-back state championships in 1996 and 1997. Slayton led Salmen to Sweet 16 state tournament berths for eight consecutive seasons (1992-2000).
Now, the 1973 graduate of Slidell High is returning home to lead her alma mater.
“I want to finish my coaching career at home,” she said. “I feel like (taking the job at Slidell High) is me coming home. I was away for 16 years at Hancock. It is a community that I have a tremendous amount of respect for.
“When I graduated from Slidell High, there were no girls sports. I loved playing sports and couldn’t understand why girls couldn’t play. By the time Title IX had taken effect, I was in college. I knew I wanted to coach because I loved sports. Not given the chance to play put the fire in me to coach to try and give girls the chance to play. That brought me to Salmen High School. Now I’ve come back full circle being back at Slidell High.”
Slayton takes over a Slidell High team that went 18-10 last year and 6-6 in District 6-5A. Slidell was defeated by Ponchatoula in overtime in the bidistrict round of the playoffs 59-57. Raymond Winzy was fired in March after one season.
“I had some tremendous players during my time at Salmen and Hancock County,” Slayton said. “But you have to have good players to enable me to be successful as a coach. I’m about hard work and not looking at ‘Can you win this or can you win that?’ It’s a day-to-day process. We want to win, but the pleasure is the day-to-day grind. I’m eager to build a program that the girls at Slidell High are proud about and excited to come to.
“I’m in this thing for as long as I’m blessed with good health and energy to coach. I’m ready to go. It’s an honor to come home, and I’m ready to come home and restore and build this program.”
Slidell High Athletic Director George Herdliska also announced that Kristen Snyder, formerly of Chalmette High School, will be joining Slayton’s staff.