Brusly football coach Erik Willis resigns, will become Plaquemine athletic director: 'It was time for me to make a change' _lowres

Advocate staff photo by LIBBY ISENHOWER -- Brusly head coach Erik Willis paces the sidelines as he watches the Panthers' game against St. Charles Friday at Brusly. MAGS OUT / INTERNET OUT/ONLINE OUT/NO SALES/TV OUT/FOREIGN OUT/ LOUISIANA BUSINESS INC./GREATER BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT/225/10/12/IN REGISTER/LBI CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS/

Erik Willis has resigned as head football coach at Brusly High and will become the Athletic Director and an assistant football coach at his alma mater, Plaquemine High.

“There’s nothing wrong with Brusly High,” Willis said. “In fact, I think the next coach has a chance to go in there and win right away. There are a lot of starters coming back from last year.

“It was time for me to make a change. You know I’m a Green Devil at heart. I’m looking forward to getting to work over there. Paul (Distefano, PHS head coach) and I know each other and have worked together. The program is on the rise and I’d like to help them get to the top.”

Willis informed the Brusly players of his decision during Wednesday morning’s offseason workouts.

The Class 3A Panthers finished 3-8 last fall, including a 2-4 record in the highly competitive District 7-3A that also included Division II select champion University High, runner-up Parkview Baptist and Class 3A semifinalist West Feliciana.

Prior to coming to Brusly for a one-year stint in 2008, Willis compiled a 76-20 in two stints at St. John-Plaquemine, leading the Eagles to two Class 1A runner-up finishes. Distefano was on the SJHS during part of Willis’ tenure there.

A 1984 graduate of Plaquemine High, Willis accepted the job as head football coach/over parish Athletic Director in early 2009 but eventually spent the 2009 season as an assistant coach at Redemptorist. He returned to Brusly in 2011.

Scott Allen, who previously served as AD-baseball coach at Plaquemine, is set to move into administration. Class 4A Plaquemine finished. Plaquemine was 12-2 last fall and advanced to the 4A semifinals.

It marks the second time in two months that Brusly has been forced to fill a major coaching vacancy. The Panthers named Kirby Loupe as its new boys basketball coach in mid-May after Harold Boudreaux accepted the head boys basketball position at McKinley High.

Brusly Principal Walt Lemoine said the school will accept applications for the head football coach with an eye on naming Willis’ successor in early July. Athletic Director Tait Dupont will coordinate the Panthers’ offseason program until a new head coach is selected.

“We wish Erik the best,” Lemoine said. “We’re looking to have someone in place by early next month. We feel like we’ve got a school and program with something to offer.”