Those much-anticipated workshops with LSU football coach Les Miles and defensive coordinator Ed Orgeron were well attended.
So were several other Tuesday workshops that helped open the Louisiana High School Coaches Association’s annual Coaches Clinic at the Crowne Plaza.
The biggest revelation of the day may have come for LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine, who spoke during the LHSCA’s general business meeting.
Miles’ use of family photos during his presentation displayed something about the man and his desire to remind coaches of their impact on athletes. What Bonine didn’t say may surprise some.
He didn’t address the LHSAA’s recent labor pains with the Louisiana High School Officials Association. There was no talk of select or nonselect schools or the LHSAA’s split football championships.
Bonine told LHSCA members he wasn’t going to talk about what was “trending” in the LHSAA. He said he didn’t want the LHSAA-LHSOA conflict or the split to dominate the talk at the clinic.
There was no getting into the “weeds” regarding the LHSAA-LHSOA agreement hammered out last week. Instead, what Bonine offered the coaches was his own grass roots view of what high school athletics mean to him, especially as it relates to his role in the LHSAA’s top job.
The Eddie Bonine who has gotten fighting mad about some issues already sees some battles ahead for high school athletics. And he wants the coaches to be in the battle.
He talked about the LHSAA’s status quo and wondered whether it would be best to keep it or push toward some new horizon.
Bonine ventured toward other horizons, noting last week’s announcement that heralded quarterback Shea Patterson of Calvary Baptist was transferring to Florida-based IMG Academy.
Yes, Bonine said he made it clear he sees the individualized training, independent teams and player transfers to far away programs as issues to address.
As usual, Bonine was quick to cite numbers, pointing out 7.7 million teens competed in high school athletics in the most recent national survey compared with less than 450,000 possible college scholarships.
Those are long odds for the parents who pump money into private lessons and independent teams as their children chase scholarship dreams. Bonine wondered what a difference it would make if at least some of that money and support stayed at home with high school programs. Hmmm.
Bonine acknowledged there are no easy answers. He said he doesn’t fault coaches who offer their own teams/training.
Remember the days when high school sports were the only game in town? Bonine does, and he asked the coaches to recall those times, too.
Of course, both sides know a return to those “good old days” isn’t likely. Bonine reminded the coaches it’s their job to make the eight-semester athletes compete to the best of their ability.
In other words, make the best of a new day. Sounds like Bonine’s plan.