LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine has been on the job for less than five months. He’s getting high marks from some who acknowledge there are still key issues to approach. The Advocate asked the coaches to rate Bonine’s performance and the direction the LHSAA is headed. They were also asked what key issues must be addressed next.

Ted Davidson, football coach/athletic director Acadiana

“I’m really happy that the officials’ thing got solved. That was an issue that had clouded us over the summer. There’s a tendency to say ‘That’s not my problem’ as a coach. As it got closer to the clinic, we thought we’d have to meet and do something. (Officials) deserved the raise and hopefully that will continue to work out.

“I think Mr. Bonine is a strong leader. I think we’re going in a good direction, but there are a lot of issues. Of course, getting football situated and the select/nonselect deal is big. And I think outside influences are a big issue, like travel teams, AAU teams and people that are making money off of kids. The LHSAA deals with the schools, and these influences are beyond that, so I’m not sure what role the LHSAA can play. I don’t know how the jurisdiction will work.

“Rules enforcement ranks high too. I think that’s what led to the split we have now. I’ve seen a couple of news reports about guys in the New Orleans area being ruled ineligible. It looks like things may be changing.”

Tim Detillier, football coach/athletic director Lutcher

“Well, I felt that we would settle with the officials, but I believe it was more heated than we all knew. Based on what I’ve heard, it was handled well. (Bonine) did what had to be done and showed his leadership.

“I’ve heard a lot of positives when the task force finally met. The officials deal, dealing with the legislature and officials have been handled well. I think you would have to be pleased with the direction we’re heading. (Bonine) hasn’t even been here a year.

“The big issue … it’s still nonselect/select. Whether we like it or not, regardless of which side we’re on, the legislature will get involved in this. I don’t say that out of fear, but I do see that coming. We need to solve it the best way we can.

“I include enforcement of our rules along with the select/nonselect thing. There are still people out there trying to get an advantage. We didn’t get here overnight, and I don’t think we’ll get out of it overnight.

“There’s so much apathy. Some people don’t care for a solution because they want it split, and that’s tough to see. We’ve got to do what’s best for our sport and the association overall for the future. In 10 years, I can’t see dividing sponsorships and playing on separate weekends as being the best thing.”

Elmo Fernandez, basketball coach/athletic director Woodlawn

“As far as Mr. Bonine is concerned, I think the idea was we let him take the reins and go with it, follow his lead and hopefully he’ll lead us in the direction that would put us back together and stop the split from growing. I’m pleased so far.

“I’m concerned that people are still caught up in their own little world and are only worried about what’s best for their school or their area. We have to look at what’s best for the whole state.

“I understand some people will not follow the rules. I know some will cheat. Most public schools and private schools. … We want to do the right thing. There’s cheating on both sides. I do think we do need to be more aggressive in going after people who don’t follow the rules.

“The officials were trying to twist ours arms on their deal, and I didn’t like the way they handled it. I’m still a little bitter about the way we were treated four years ago when they left us without officials for a game. They need to understand that a school like Woodlawn won’t get hurt by having to pay more, but others will. They need to understand our costs too.”

Benny Saia, football coach/

athletic director Dutchtown

“I think everything is pretty positive right now. I’m glad the thing with the officials was solved because that was a lot of ‘what ifs’ working toward the season. It’s good to know we’re going to have a season. We just want the kids to play.

“This year compared to years past is more positive than it’s been regarding the LHSAA. I just think that based on what (Bonine) said, they are going to enforce the rules in the rulebook. What everybody wants is to see is that enforcement fairly across the board.

“I think (rules enforcement) would sooth a lot of hard feelings and eliminate the distrust and anxiety out there. I don’t think that can go away overnight, but day by day it can get better.

“Let’s face it, 2014 is a lot different than 1976. You’ve got more private schools, charter schools, and the way parents choose to move and do things these days, it’s just different.”