At this time next year 50-year-old Burke Broussard will be giving away his oldest daughter’s hand in marriage. He will also have had the opportunity to travel and watch his son play college baseball.
In order to reach such milestones Broussard realized several years ago a change in his professional life would be needed to further enhance his family life.
During a baseball career as both a player and coach, one that’s spanned more than three decades, Broussard finds himself at peace with his decision to walk away from the game that’s provided him with such a lifetime of cherished memories and achievements.
So what better backdrop for the end of a journey than No. 4 University High (25-9) meeting No. 1 John Curtis in a Class 3A state semifinal at 3 p.m. Friday at McMurry Park in Sulphur.
Broussard has never won a state championship during his 26-year coaching career that includes a 487-284 record with three schools. He’s also sent 40 players onto to play college baseball.
“I’m a pretty spiritual person and have been praying on it for about three years,” Broussard said. “I’ve been around it for so long. You hate to throw out the word burnout but with the way I am, I burn the candle at both ends.
“Mentally and physically I’m just drained and teaching’s also challenging, too.”
Broussard said he first broached the subject of stepping away from his duties as baseball coach last summer with U-High principal Dr. Albert Camburn and Athletic Director Jill White.
Before the start of the season Broussard finalized his decision with Camburn and White that the 2014 campaign would be his last, but the former LSU infielder held onto the news until the start of District 7-3A play last month.
“It was starting to kind of get out, so I just decided to tell them so it wouldn’t be a distraction,” Broussard said.
“I decided it was best to tell them and get it out of the way. I think it ended up being a good thing.”
The choice didn’t affect Broussard’s teaching status at the school or his desire to remain on U-High’s football staff, where he’s coached running backs and assisted with special teams.
“It was important for me to go out on my own terms, and this way they allowed me to do that,” Broussard said. “I’m excited for what the future holds. I don’t have any regrets.”
Broussard, who prepped at Crowley High, was a two-year letterman at second base for coach Skip Bertman and was a part of LSU’s first College World Series team in 1986.
Three years later Broussard was the baseball coach at St. John of Plaquemine before moving to Plaquemine High, leading the Green Devils to the state playoffs in five of his eight seasons.
Broussard won the first of his two state Coach of the Year honors in 1988 after directing Plaquemine to a 20-8 record and Class 3A state championship game.
Broussard returned to LSU’s campus in 1999 to direct U-High’s baseball program, and over the next 16 seasons has enjoyed an exemplary run.
The Cubs are participating in their 16th consecutive state playoffs, have enjoyed eight 20-plus win seasons, have won five district championship and garnered state runners-up finishes in 2000 and in 2013.
Moreover, last year’s U-High club set a record for wins (29) complete with a 12-1, five-inning semifinal victory over top-seeded Calvary Baptist — a run that ended with a 2-0 loss to Evangel in the final.
“All of them have been special in their own right,” Broussard said of his teams. “I know we haven’t won one (state title), but I know I’m fortunate to even have the chance to coach in one of them. Some guys never get that opportunity.”
Not long after Broussard’s announcement, which elicited an outpouring of emails and texts from many of his former players, U-High found itself with a 3-2 district record following a pair of close losses to Parkview Baptist.
The next league game out, though, the Cubs defeated fellow state semifinalist Brusly in a 4-3 game that sparked an 11-game winning streak and another deep postseason run that’s enabled Broussard to possibly conclude his career at the zenith of his profession.
“We’re one of the last four teams playing, and that’s all you can ask for, to play for the next game,” Broussard said. “It would be special if we could actually win one and not just for me, but the school community and for the kids to experience something like that.”