Lutcher High offensive coordinator Dwain Jenkins has been hired as the football coach at rival St. James.

The 33-year-old former Lutcher quarterback learned he had been hired late Tuesday, and spent part of Wednesday making plans for what will be his first head coaching job. He officially joins the SJHS staff Jan. 22.

“I was anxious to get over there today and get things going,” Jenkins said. “St. James is a program with a rich tradition, and I want to work to restore that. There are probably people who are worried about having a Lutcher guy take over at St. James. There will be challenges. It all has to start with working to unite the community. I want the community to understand I’m embracing the St. James traditions and want to make the program the best it can be.”

Jenkins takes over the Class 3A St. James program that went 0-19 over the past two seasons under James Bell, who was reassigned within the St. James Parish school system after the 2012 season.

There were 44 applicants for the St. James job. Former L.B. Landry and O.Perry Walker coach Derek “Skip” LaMothe and Belle Chasse assistant Daron Franklin were reportedly the other finalists.

Jenkins was Lutcher’s starting quarterback in 1996 and is a 1997 LHS graduate. He has been an assistant at Lutcher for 11 years and served as the Bulldogs offensive coordinator since 2006.

During Jenkins’ tenure as offensive coordinator, Lutcher recorded a 78-12 record and won two Class 3A state titles. The Bulldogs won the last two District 6-4A titles and were a semifinalists in 2011, utilizing a spread offense Jenkins installed.

“I’m so happy for Dwain. He’s like a son to me in a lot of ways,” Lutcher coach Tim Detillier said. “He was a great coach for us from Day 1 when he joined our staff and has handled everything we’ve asked him to do. Along the way, I think some other schools missed out on the chance to hire him. He’s more than ready to be a head coach.”