Whenever an assistant coach is hired to take over as the head coach, skeptics call the process an “inside job.” Brandon Lawley sees it as an inside out job.
Lawley, a former Parkview Baptist player and assistant coach, was hired as the head football coach at Walker High School on Tuesday. The 27-year-old Lawley was the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator this fall.
“This has got to be a total transformation,” Lawley said. “It really is about changing the culture and that’s something I know about from when I played at Parkview.
“I was in the seventh grade the year before coach (Kenny) Guillot came in. Parkview didn’t win a game and my parents were thinking about moving me to another school. When coach Guillot came in everything changed. The work ethic and the expectations changed. I know Walker is a public school, but it’s possible to do a lot of the same things to bring about change.”
Lawley was one of 11 applicants for the job, according to WHS Principal Jason St. Pierre, who announced last month that Dwayne Severio would not be retained as head coach of the District 4-5A Wildcats.
Walker finished 0-10 last fall with a lineup that included 15 sophomores and three freshmen. The Wildcats have never had a winning season since joining the Class 5A football ranks in 2003 and are 7-33 over the last four seasons.
Some notable names were reportedly attached to the job in recent days, including Woodlawn coach Brett Beard, who said he was contacted by officials at Walker, and former East Ascension coach John Lambert, who is now an assistant at Hahnville.
“I guess the thing that I like the most is he has a plan for what he wants to do,” St. Pierre said. “When Brandon came here he was originally supposed to coach on the defensive side and he wound up being our offensive coordinator.
“He was able to take the offense and mold it to the point that we had a quarterback who threw for 3,200 yards and we had two sophomore receivers with over 1,000 yards. Most importantly, I can see the kids trust him and want to play for him.”
Lawley spent the 2013 as a coordinator at The Dunham School. A PBS player from 2001-04, Lawley also coached for the Eagles from 2007-10. He also was a graduate assistant at Arkansas-Monticello before moving to Dunham to coach with current Livonia coach Guy Mistretta.
Lawley’s has a parents meeting set for 6 p.m. Wednesday in the school’s cafeteria. Among his goals are to organize a Walker High booster club and work for added ways to include the community in the program. Lawley’s also scheduled an alumni meeting for Sunday at the Walker Fire Station and hopes to attract key alumni, including former LSU players Lionel Turner and Chris Hawkins.
“Another key part of this will be getting involved with the junior highs,” Lawley said. “We need to work with the middle school coaches and get those players involved with our program.
“This year we dressed out 54 varsity players. We need to have 50 players on every freshman team and 105 in grades 10 to 12. Those are our goals.”
Austin commits to Nicholls
Dutchtown offensive lineman has committed to Nicholls State, according to DHS coach Benny Saia. The 6-foot-2, 295-pound Austin joins the first recruiting class of new Nicholls coach Tim Rebowe.
Austin helped lead the Griffins to the Class 5A playoffs and becomes the 30th Dutchtown player to move onto the college ranks in the last decade.