The football coaching carousel in St. Tammany Parish has officially begun.
Fontainebleau High coach Chris Blocker recently announced that Phillip Banko is the new defensive coordinator for the Bulldogs. Banko, who coached the Bulldogs offensive line and was the special teams coordinator a season ago, replaces Stephen Gremillion.
“Look at his coaching experience,” Blocker said of Banko’s promotion. “He has extensive knowledge of the sport itself, having worked at the collegiate and professional level. Having that kind of experience and knowledge of the game made this decision very easy for me as the head coach at Fontainebleau.”
Banko’s extensive football resumé includes stints as the head coach and athletic director at East St. John High School, as well as being a member of the coaching staffs of the University of West Georgia, Miami (Fla.), the Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe and serving as the defensive line coach of the Cleveland Browns.
A member of the defensive staff before his promotion to the head coach of the Bulldogs, Blocker said he is confident that Banko will be successful.
“Make no mistake,” he said, “there was a lot of focus on finding the right person for this job. Coach Gremillion did a great job and we wish him luck in the future, but sometimes change is a good thing.
"We were OK on that side of the ball in 2018, but we didn’t have as much success as we were hoping for. Bringing in a guy like Coach Banko is going to be a tremendous amount of much-needed enthusiasm to that unit.”
Banko inherits a Fontainebleau defense that returns five starters from a group that gave up 32 points a game last year.
“He just knows football,” Blocker said of Banko. “Going forward I couldn’t be more excited, and I’m not worried about a thing. Now, we just need to find someone to take his spot on the offensive line.”