Two large dry erase boards were situated on opposite sides of the long hallway at the Crowe Plaza Hotel & Conference Center.

One had listing for schools with job openings for the 2011-12 school year. The other listed open playing dates.

Both boards are fixtures at the annual Louisiana High School Coaches Association Coaches Clinic held last week.

And both are yet another reminder that the start of 2011-12 high school sports season is only days away. The official date for the start of fall football practice is Aug. 8. Many teams will be heading off to preseason camps before then.

The LHSCA clinic gave coaches one last chance to get away and to do a little career development work.

Give credit to Louisiana High School Athletic Association and its assistant executive director Rhonda McCullough Dreibelbis for the work done to attract an outstanding group of guest speakers.

It has been difficult, at times, for the LHSCA Clinic to find a following of its own since it is no longer joined at the hip with the LHSCA all-star games for football, basketball and volleyball.

After back-to-back years in which speakers have brought in about 1,300 coaches, a new identity is emerging.

Coaches packed practically every meeting room where there was a speaker.

First-year University of Louisiana at Lafayette head football coach Mark Hudspeth was among those genuinely surprised by the standing room only crowd on hand for his lecture session.

Basketball coaches weaved their way in and out of the three sessions held by former New Orleans Hornets and University of New Orleans coach Tim Floyd. LSU women’s basketball coach Nikki Caldwell also was a key draw.

Though head coach Mike Sherman and a group of his Texas A&M assistants were the headline speakers for football, the group of other head coaches on hand for at least one session included McNeese State’s Matt Viator, Southeastern’s Mike Lucas, Hudspeth and Louisiana Tech’s Sonny Dykes were also guest speakers. Of course, the annual coaches barbecue at LSU gave football coaches a chance to listen to LSU assistants Steve Kragthorpe and Brick Haley.

Other notable speakers included Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy and ULL men’s basketball coach Bob Marlin.

Some coaches sat and listened. Others were busy scribbling notes and/or diagramming plays.

All the while, the coaches too were aware that the end of the summer is coming soon.

Just enough time to pick up a few more plays to squirrel away in a playbook. Or to find a much-needed opponent — or perhaps a staff addition.

Now that the LHSCA Clinic is clicked off the to-do list, it’s time for the coaches and players to start doing what comes naturally — start another high school season.

Questionnaires needed

The Advocate is still seeking football questionnaires for a number of schools in south Louisiana.

Just as the season draws closer, so does the deadline for our Football 2011 issue. Expect a phone call from our staff in the days ahead.