Some coaches track every career milestone. Catholic High wrestling coach Tommy Prochaska is not that guy.
That is why colleagues and other coaches were surprised when Prochaska started shaking hands and thanking those who had contributed to his career after a dual match win during the Christmas Holidays.
It was dual win No. 350 for the 45-year-old Prochaska, who has spent 23 years as head coach at Catholic.
“I was going through some stuff in my office and found the numbers by accident,” Prochaska said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. More importantly, what that number means is I’ve been fortunate to coach a lot of great kids and work with some other great coaches.”
The culture of high school wrestling is special by nature. In addition to coaching the Bears, Prochaska lends a hand to elevate the sport.
That factor will be in evidence this week when Prochaska coordinates the Louisiana Classic, an annual tournament that brings Louisiana’s top competitors and teams in all divisions together. The meet set for Friday and Saturday at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center also attracts teams from other states.
Work will begin Thursday when local teams get together to set up multiple competition mats for the meet, relying on the nearby Ascension Parish Schools to provide their mats.
Though the Bears are among the top Division I contenders, others note that Prochaska plays multiple roles in the local wrestling community, which will be showcased this week.
“Tommy is always that guy … willing to help and give advice when you ask him,” Brusly coach Jimmy Bible said. “It’s never just about his team or his kids. He is an advocate for this area and the sport of wrestling.”
SMHS McCord scholarship
St. Michael has opened a memorial scholarship fund in honor of Carley McCord. A 2007 St. Michael graduate, McCord was a member of the Warriors’ powerlifting team, school ministry and choir. A prominent local/regional broadcaster, McCord remained active at SMHS. She died in a plane crash on Dec. 28.
“We feel blessed to be able to honor Carley’s memory with a scholarship for students at St. Michael. She gave so much of herself to her alma mater,” St. Michael principal Ellen Lee said in a news release.
Contact SMHS advancement director Josh Galasso at
JGalasso@smhsbr.org with any questions about the scholarship fund. Here is a link to the school’s giving site: http://www.smhsbr.org/giving/carley-mccord-memorial-scholarship/
SJA Hall of Fame
St. Joseph’s Academy will induct two former athletes, Linda McCall McCann and Stephanie Dellocono Osorno, and former coach/administrator Kathy Saichuk into its Athletic Hall of Fame at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at the school’s Student Center. Tickets are on sale at www.sjahalloffame.org.
McCann, a 1961 graduate, played basketball for the Redstickers and went on to teach, coach and serve as a guidance counselor in East Baton Rouge Parish. Osorno, a 2006 graduate, won regional and Division I state singles titles as a tennis player. She went on to Southern Mississippi and excelled as a singles and doubles player.
Saichuk coached track, cross country and basketball at SJA, starting in 1987 and was named athletic director a year later. She supervised a period of major sports growth.
Elks Hoop Shoot
Former Capitol High and LSU star Seimone Augustus will again host the Elks Hoop Shoot Contest for boys/girls ages 8-13 on Saturday at Baton Rouge Community College. The competition is open to the first 72 youngsters who register.
The top finishers in each age group have the chance to advance to regional and national competitions. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and competition starts at 9 a.m. One of Augustus' early accomplishments was winning a national Hoop Shoot competition. Those who wish to register online can do so at www.seimone33.com.
Congratulations to St. James football coach Robert Valdez on being the New Orleans Saints’ nominee for its Don Shula Award given a top high school football coach.
Each NFL team nominates a coach from their area. Valdez led the Wildcats to a 15-0 title and their first Class 3A title since 1979 last month.
• Former Denham Springs standout Abby O’Donoghue of LSU cleared the 6-foot high jump barrier for the first time in her LSU career at the Purple Tiger Invitational on Friday at LSU’s Carl Maddox Field House.
She cleared 6-0½, which ranks fifth on the all-time list for the LSU women. The mark snapped a tie for the No. 5 spot with her mother, Kelli Flynn O’Donoghue that was set in 1991.
• Cristo Rey seeks a nonfaulty baseball coach for the spring. Candidates should contact principal Claire Willis at email@example.com.