Robin Fambrough’s article of Nov. 7, regarding coach Kenny Almond’s retirement, was as well-written as it was appropriate.
A member of the dying breed of “old school” coaching (minus mental and possible physical abuse) fits his philosophy. Tough but fair, kind and unassuming, devoid of ego yet well-respected and possessing genuine compassion for his players not simply as a means to an end, are only a few qualities describing a high school coaching legend. His character is only rivaled by his basketball acumen.
During my high school coaching career, teams I coached never had the privilege of sharing the court in competition with his teams (thank goodness, because of an assured embarrassment it would have been regarding my ability to coach). He raised the bar high and demonstrated (not discussed) a model of professionalism the current young coaches in all youth sports should study and emulate.
His model included teaching his courses with vigor and raising a beautiful family.
I have been part of high school athletics for 30 years as a player, coach, scout and radio analyst.
A cadre of coaches during my time elevated the level of basketball coaching and statewide success in Baton Rouge: Almond, Gary Duhe, Rick Huckaby, Joel Hawkins, Harvey Adger, Glen Randow and Gerald Furr. All, considered “transformational” coaches, used coaching power to teach life lessons providing society with young men of substantive character; sadly too rare in today’s world.
John Wooden often said the best coaching can be viewed at the high school level.
Kenny is the example; making kids believe they possessed certain traits they only wished they had, a rare lucrative trait thus enhancing the confidence of his players and students.
Perhaps the paramount lesson he passes to educators is to treat everyone as if they belong and matter regardless how insignificant they might appear.
Enjoy the retirement, Kenny, but do not vanish — high school athletics needs your influence and continued mentoring of those within the profession of education.