Southern Lab seeking new basketball coach _lowres

Advocate staff photo by John Oubre -- Southern Lab coach Lonnie Machen.

The possibilities loom large for Southern Lab Principal Ronnie Harrison, who is seeking a new boys basketball coach.

Harrison said he has interviewed 12 candidates to replace Lonnie Machen. Machen resigned, Harrison said, last month after a tenure that included leading the Kittens to a Class 1A runner-up finish in 2011 and the 1A semifinals in 2012.

Southern Lab finished 13-13, losing to eventual runner-up and District 6-1A rival Madison Prep in the regional round of the playoffs.

“We had a conversation at the end of the basketball season.” Harrison said. “After that, (Machen) felt it was best to resign. Coach Machen had some success and he’s a superb math teacher. There’s a chance he could remain on as a teacher, but I believe he’s looking for whatever is best for him.

“Because the Southern Lab program has such a rich tradition, we’ve definitely been in touch with people who are interested in the job. So far, I guess I’ve talked to 12 people. We’re going to take a little more time with this before we make a decision on who to hire. I’d like to have somebody in place in the next two weeks.”

Southern Lab has one of the state’s richest boys basketball traditions that includes 15 state titles and two runner-up finishes in 27 appearances in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s state tournament. The Kittens last won a state title in 2005.

Celebration in the grass

Fans driving past East Ascension’s Spartan Stadium and The Pit at St. Amant Middle School should not be alarmed by signs of dead grass or no grass at the two prominent high school football stadiums.

It’s all part of a plan by the Ascension Parish School System to upgrade both fields with a newer version of the popular Bermuda grass used for most natural grass stadiums.

“I guess it’s been maybe seven or eight years since the grass was planted on both fields,” East Ascension coach Paul Bourgeois said. “Since then a lot has changed with grass. They’ve developed a kind of Bermuda that’s called Celebration. It’s a lot sturdier than the Bermuda everybody used before. It’s better.

“First, they had to kill the existing grass and then they have to scrap the fields. They’ll start planting the seeds next week. My understanding is that if everything goes well we should have a solid field of grass in about six weeks.”

Bourgeois said Dutchtown had the same grass put on its stadium surface last summer and that it is comparable to the surfaces at Baton Rouge’s two BREC stadiums, Olympia and Memorial.

While the grass grows, crews also will be busy replacing two older sections of stands on the home side of EAHS’ Spartan Stadium, Bourgeois said.

Scholarship winners

Dutchtown’s John Talley III, Zachary’s Morgan Lumpkin and Brusly’s Carlie Comeaux are among the graduation seniors set to receive scholarships through the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s scholarship program.

Talley, the son of DHS coach John Talley, claimed a Louisiana High School Coaches Association scholarship. LHSCA scholarships go to the children of LHSCA member coaches.

Lumpkin is set to get a Piccadilly/David Green scholarship, while Comeaux is one of 10 State Farm scholarship winners.