Stephen Lopinto Picture

Stephen Lopinto helps Ashley Cook light the Olympic torch.The High School Special Olympics Area Track and Field Event at Titan Stadium took place on Thursday with athletes with special needs from all eight St. Tammany Parish Public High Schools. Lopinto was hired as the new boys basketball coach at Pearl River High School on April 15.

The coaching carousel in St. Tammany Parish has started for the 2019-20 school year as Stephen Lopinto has been named the boys basketball coach at Pearl River High School.

Lopinto replaces Dillon Smith, who replaced Rick Spring back on Dec. 7 2018 after Spring was relieved of his duties by Principal John Priola. Smith led the Rebels to an 18-16 record and a berth in the Class 4A state playoffs.

The head coaching spot at Pearl River will be Lopinto’s fourth basketball head coaching position in St. Tammany Parish. He worked in the same position for the Covington boys and as the girls head coach at Lakeshore and Fontainebleau. He also was the head coach at Central Lafourche and Maurepas.

“I never wanted to stop being a head coach and working with (Priola) was simply an opportunity that I didn’t want to pass up,” Lopinto said. “The great thing about Mr. Priola is in addition to being my boss and principal, he has a basketball background.

“Pearl River is a town not a lot of people know about and is full of a lot of untapped athletes. Look at what the football team has done recently, the softball team and the boys basketball team last season.

"There are some good athletes there, and if they can get a coach to come in there, and give some stability to the boys basketball program, they have a chance to have some sustained success. That’s my plan. I’m in for this program as long as Mr. Priola will have me.”