Eddie Bonine ready for area meetings _lowres

Advocate photo by VERONICA DOMINACH -- Incoming LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine speaks at a news conference in November.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association began its new year on Monday without its new executive director, Eddie Bonine, at the helm.

LHSAA President Vic Bonnaffee of Central Catholic-Morgan City said former LHSAA President Jimmy Anderson will continue to serve as the organization’s interim executive director while Bonine concludes contract obligations with the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association.

Though his official start has been pushed back to early March, Bonnaffee said there is a “window” that will allow Bonine to attend the LHSAA’s area meetings Jan. 20-22 and the LHSAA convention set for Jan. 28-30. Bonnaffee said Anderson will preside over the convention and the LHSAA’s classification process that is set to begin Feb. 11.

“I think it’s very important to say how grateful we are that Mr. Anderson has agreed to continue to serve as the interim director,” Bonnaffee said. “That was a decision he made with his wife and family and we’re thankful for their support.

“Something everyone needs to understand is that the LHSAA staff continues to work and function at a high level. The staff is busy getting ready for the convention and the other challenges we face. This may turn out to be the best thing. Eddie will be able to go around the state, meet people and observe what happens.”

Bonine was introduced as the LHSAA’s executive director Dec. 13 and had hoped to join the LHSAA staff fulltime this month. Bonnaffee said Bonine’s Nevada contract did include a clause has delayed his official start date.

“Ever since Eddie agreed to come to Louisiana he has been engaged in the things we’re doing,” Bonnaffee noted. “He gets copy of all the emails and communications I send out and he has been communicating with the staff.”

Bonnaffee said there are three key tasks ahead: the area meetings, convention and two-year classification process that will be determined by how member principals vote on several key agenda items later this month.

Proposals that could reunite member schools or widen the select/nonselect split to include baseball, softball and basketball are among the items on the agenda.

“I understand that there are schools out there with questions about how the proposals we have might impact (them) and the association,” Bonnaffee said. “That makes the area meetings a very important part of this.”

Area meetings scheduled

The LHSAA’s area meetings will be on Jan. 20 with an 8:30 a.m. meeting at Bossier City’s Airline High and a Monroe meeting at Neville High set for 1 p.m.

On Jan. 21, the central Louisiana meeting is set for 8:30 a.m. at Alexandria Senior High; the Lafayette meeting follows at 1 p.m. at the Chenier Center.

The Baton Rouge meeting is set for 8:30 a.m. at the LHSAA office on Jan. 22.

The Doubletree is the site of the 1 p.m. New Orleans area meeting.