Eric Held

LHSCA director Eric Held

It is perhaps the most famous line from “The Wizard of Oz.”

However, the phrase “There’s no place like home” has special significance for the Louisiana High School Coaches Association next week.

For the first time since 2017, the LHSCA’s annual Coaches Convention returns to the Crowne Plaza in Baton Rouge. The two-day event is set for Monday and Tuesday.

The LHSCA convention also returns to its traditional late July dates. In 2018 and 2019, it was held in Shreveport in June. The LHSCA event was set to bounce back to Baton Rouge and July in 2020. The coronavirus pandemic made it a virtual event instead.

“Just to be back in person is the biggest, (is the) most significant thing,” LHSCA director Eric Held said. “We were looking forward to last year, but we adjusted, went virtual and offered as many speakers as we could.

“We got a lot of great feedback last year. Obviously, we can’t have as many speakers in person, but we are excited about the speakers we have. I have talked to a lot of coaches who are ready to have an in-person event.”

If the the sentimental pull of the LHSCA event returning to Baton Rouge in person is not enough, there are buzz-worthy factors.

For example, new LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson is among Monday’s featured speakers. So is LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade. UL football coach Billy Napier is among Tuesday's speakers.

Johnson has seemingly been everywhere since being hired a couple of weeks ago. Monday’s 10 a.m. session introduces Johnson to another demographic — Louisiana’s high school baseball coaches.

LSU passing game coordinator D.J. Mangas and defensive backs coach Corey Raymond are Tuesday speakers, along with former LSU and WNBA coach Pokey Chatman.

But the LHSCA event isn’t all about football, basketball or college coaches. A key Monday session offers health and safety training for coaches that is now mandated by both a new state law and Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Despite the positive vibes, Held is not making lofty attendance projections.

“People are very excited about coming back for an in-person event after a rough last 18 months,” Held said. “There were valid reasons to try putting the event in Shreveport and in June. It looks like everyone is comfortable to see it back in Baton Rouge and in July.

"But I know some coaches may have vacations planned. Others may still be hesitant because of COVID. I am curious to see how many coaches do come.”

Golf scramble

The LHSCA’s golf scramble is set for Wednesday at Beaver Creek Golf Course.

Tee times start at 8 a.m. and cost is $150 per team. Contact Held at eheld@lhsaa.org to reserve a spot in the event.

LHSCA Convention agenda

At Crowne Plaza

Monday

9 a.m. — Southern offensive coordinator Zach Grossi (Premier I); Ross Jenkins, SLU special teams coordinator (Cypress 2); Robbie Dauterive, Mindset Sports (Cypress 1); Patrick Mahoney, East Ascension wrestling (Bayou/Levee); Seb Furness, LSU women’s soccer assistant coach (Creole Queen/Riverboat); Krisi Gray, UL volleyball (Clemens/Natchez).

10 a.m. — Jay Johnson, LSU baseball coach (Mississippi Queen/Delta Queen); Madison Prep football coach Landry Williams (Premier I); Byron Dawson, Tulane defensive line coach (Cypress 2); Bo Browder, Xavier women’s basketball coach (Cypress 1); Patrick Mahoney, East Ascension wrestling (Bayou/Levee); Jesse Zabal, Loyola volleyball (Clemens/Natchez)

11 a.m. — LeKeitha Poole, LSU adviser to AD for equity, diversity, inclusion (Premier I); Jason Robinson, Paybook Five, Inc. (Cypress 2); Will Wade, LSU men’s basketball coach (Cypress 1); Robbie Dauterive, Mindset Sports (Bayou/Levee).

Noon — Lunch

1:30 p.m. — Health and Safety Education for coaches with St. Amant’s Scott Arceneaux, LSU’s Ray Castle, LHSAA’s Lee Sanders (Premier I).

3 p.m. — Brice Brown, Edna Karr football coach (Premier I); Wayne Stein, St. Charles Catholic football coach (Cypress 2); John Aiken, McNeese men’s basketball coach (Premier 1); John Parker, Ouachita Christian baseball coach (Mississippi Queen/Delta Queen); Mark Bently, Appalachian State wrestling coach (Bayou/Levee); Christopher McBride, SLU women’s soccer coach (Creole Queen/Riverboat); On court volleyball presentation by Central High at St. Joseph’s Academy.

4 p.m. — Lee Roussel, Nicholls State offensive line coach (Premier I); Devon Wilson, McNeese defensive coordinator (Cypress 2); Jamie Gonzales LSU-Eunice women’s basketball coach (Cypress 2); Jeremy Kennedy, Loyola baseball coach (Cypress 1); Mark Bently Appalachian State wrestling coach (Bayou/Levee); Josh McReynolds LSU-Eunice men’s soccer coach (Creole Queen/Riverboat); Jeremy White, SLU volleyball coach on court presentation at SJA.

5 p.m. — Southern football staff meet and greet/recruiting (Premier I); Basketball speaker, TBA (Cypress 1); Soccer coaches business meeting (Creole Queen/River Boat); Volleyball coaches business meeting (at SJA).

Tuesday

9 a.m. — Tony Courville, Carencro football coach (Premier I); Stacy Ballew, C.E. Byrd football coach (Cypress 2); Basketball coaches meeting (Cypress 1); Sandra Simmons, LSU softball assistant coach (Mississippi Queen/Delta Queen); Chris Carrier, Zachary track coach (Bayou/Levee); LHSADA meeting (Library).

10 a.m. — D.J. Mangas, LSU passing game coordinator (Premier I); Corey Raymond, LSU defensive backs coach/recruiting coordinator (Cypress 2); Pokey Chatman, former WNBA coach (Cypress I); Bailey Landry, former LSU softball All-America (Mississippi Queen/Delta Queen); Bennie Brazell, LSU assistant track coach sprints, hurdles, relays (Bayou/Levee); Gary Frank, world’s strongest man (Creole Queen/Riverboat)

11:30 a.m. — Billy Napier, UL football coach (Premier I); Pokey Chatman, former WNBA coach (Cypress I); Softball coaches meeting (Mississippi Queen/Delta Queen); Jermisha Frazier, UNO throws coach (Bayou/Levee); Barrett Murphy, strength coach/LHSAA Hall of Fame (Creole Queen/Riverboat)

12:30 p.m. — Lunch

1:30 p.m. — LHSCA business meeting (Premier I)

2:15 p.m. — Head, Heat, Heart, education management and best practices (Premier I)

3:15 p.m. — Thomas Bachman, Alexandria Senior High football coach (Premier I); David Blackwell, Louisiana Tech defensive coordinator (Cypress 2); Basketball consultant Jimmy Tillette on court demonstration at St. Joseph’s Academy; Craig Snider, Texas A&M hitting coach (Mississippi Queen/Delta Queen); Johnny Giordano, St. Louis Catholic track (Bayou/Levee); Matt Bruce, Catholic High strength coach (Creole Queen/Riverboat).

4:15 p.m. — Sanders Davis, Rice offensive line coach (Premier I); Darren Drago, Southern defensive line coach (Cypress 2); Basketball consultant Jimmy Tillette on court demonstration at St. Joseph’s Academy; Craig Snider, Texas A&M hitting coach (Mississippi Queen/Delta Queen); Powerlifting coaches business meeting (Creole Queen/Riverboat).


Email Robin Fambrough at rfambrough@theadvocate.com