Tracking head coaching changes in Louisiana high school football

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Jay Roth
(Photo: Stephen Lew)

Almost a month has melted away since the end of the school year and football programs are deep into football drills, summer lifting, conditioning, 7-on-7’s and camp life.  Another month will melt away and the end of July will appear with coaches and players on the doorstep of yet another high school football season.

Like every year, the 2019 prep football season is highly anticipated and communities and their fans are already exchanging banter on social media about their favorite programs, players and coaches.  Speaking of coaches, there will be at least 48 grid leaders stalking the sidelines for new programs as head coaches in 2019.  We allow you to keep up-to-date on the coaching changes including who is new in head coaching jobs and who they are replacing.

One of the biggest differences on the sideline in 2019 will be at Archbishop Rummel.  After 24 years and 228 wins, longtime coach Jay Roth decided to step down from the position at his alma mater and focus on duties as Athletic Director.  Surprising to some as the move was, the decision to immediately name his successor was not.  It was easy for Roth to appoint Nick Monica, a trusted member of his coaching staff for 14 years and defensive coordinator for the last three seasons.  Monica inherits a squad of immense talent and a transfer quarterback and the Raiders should be one of the top teams in Division I along with John Curtis and Catholic.

Another notable local coaching change was at Landry-Walker, where former New Orleans Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis has been given the reins of the program.  The position opened when all jobs at Landry-Walker were opened for application by Algiers Charter, the company that operates Landry-Walker.  Lewis, an O. Perry Walker alum, takes over after serving as a defensive assistant on the Sophie B. Wright in 2018.  Emanuel Powell won 81 games over the past 10 seasons and led the Charging Bucs to a Class 5A state title in 2016.

Chad Mahaffey led University High to two consecutive undefeated seasons and consecutive Division II state titles in 2017 and 2018.  Overall, he coached the Cubs to three state titles in nine seasons at the school on the campus of LSU.  A 102-15 record was enough to attract attention from many state schools over the last years, but only Walker High School was able to land the popular coach.

Mahaffey takes over a program at Walker High that has risen quickly over the last two seasons and whose campus has been transformed with new buildings and facility upgrades.

Like at Rummel, it was not hard for the University High administration to find its next head football coach by staying in the building and tapping longtime defensive coordinator Andy Martin to lead the program.  Martin has been with the Cubs for all three state championships, and Mahaffey would be the first tell you that his defensive boss was a huge key in the program’s success during their nine year run.

Like Monica at Rummel, Martin will continue to call the defense even with the promotion.

The Walker job became vacant when Cecil Thomas left Livingston Parish for Sulphur High.  Thomas had a meteoric rise in 2018 when he went from assistant coach to interim head coach in week two of the season, to head coach after leading the Wildcats to a 7-2 record and an 11 seeding in the 5A playoffs.

Thomas’ predecessor was former Tulane and NFL quarterback Lester Ricard, who abruptly resigned after one game in the 2018 regular season.  Ricard has resurfaced as the head coach at Division I Scotlandville.  The Hornets were uncharacteristic 4-6 in 2018 and were bounced from the post-season in round one by Brother Martin.  Ricard has local experience as the head coach at St. Martin’s and as offensive coordinator at Hahnville and De La Salle.

Another part of the coaching domino effect is Jeff Wainwright.  Wainwright was the head coach at Sulphur for six seasons, leading the Tors to victories over Acadiana and Barbe during his tenure.  Wainwright will now be the head coach at 1A Grand Lake, who was 2-8 last season.  The veteran head coach will earn career victory #100 with his first win at Grand Lake.

Staying out in the southwest corner of the state, another recipient of the coaching domino effect is Cody Gueringer.  Gueringer has been the offensive coordinator at Welsh since 2014 and has helped the Greyhounds to consecutive Dome appearances the last two seasons.  Welsh won a state title in 2017 in Class 2A.

Who left Welsh for Gueringer to rise up the ladder to head coach?  Six-year Welsh head coach John Richardson departed shortly after leading his team to a second consecutive trip to the Class 2A state finals.  Welsh won a 2A title in 2017 and lost in the Dome to Amite in 2018.  Richardson led the Greyhounds to 64 wins in six seasons and heads west down I-10 to Westlake.  Richardson will have a rebuilding project at Westlake, as the Rams have struggled in recent memory.  However, tradition and facilities are on Richardson’s side at Westlake.

Some other head coaching changes of note:
Kyle Lasseigne is back for his second stint as the head coach at E.D. White in Thibodaux.  Lasseigne was the head coach at EDW for a decade from 2005-2014 and compiled 66 wins in that time frame.  The Cardinals went to the Class 3A semifinals in 2009……Further “down the bayou”, Vandebilt Catholic has a new grid boss in Lance Ledet.  Ledet, a graduate of E.D. White and Nicholls State, served as the defensive coordinator at Brother Martin most recently.…..Drey Trosclair led Division IV Ascension Catholic to state runner-up titles in 2017 and 2018.  The young coach decided to move on and up in class to program re-start Lee Magnet in Baton Rouge.  The program has been dormant for a decade and the Patriots will play junior varsity the next two seasons before their varsity unveiling in 2021……Veteran football coach Benny Saia took over the program at Ascension Catholic and has replaced Trosclair.  Saia started the Dutchtown football program in 2002 and served as its head coach through 2016.  The Griffins won 110 games in Saia’s tenure and the longtime coach brings years of experience as a head coach to the table……Dennis Dunn is a recognizable name in Louisiana prep football lore.  Dunn was the co-architect of the Evangel dynasty in Shreveport and left the Christian school after the 2005 season for Louisiana College.  After a stint in the college ranks and at Pineville High, Dunn is back in the Shreveport area, now in charge of Class 4A North DeSoto…….One of the heroes of “The Bluegrass Miracle”, Marcus Randall, is the head coach at Woodlawn of Baton Rouge.  Randall was the head coach at The Church Academy (formerly Christian Life), but the school shut its doors.  A former Woodlawn assistant, Randall is familiar with the East Baton Rouge Parish school as it moves back to Class 5A……Parkview Baptist found its new leader in Stefan LeFors, a graduate of Christian Life and former quarterback at the University of Louisville.  LeFors led the Christian Academy of Louisville to two state championships and 87 wins in Class 2A in eight seasons.  LeFors succeeds Jay Mayet, who has been with Parkview Baptist for two decades and served as head coach the last five seasons.  Parkview won a Division II state title in 2015 under Mayet……Robert Arvie resigned after a six year tenure at Richwood in the Monroe area.  Arvie led the Rams to the 3A state title game in 2017 and has been a veteran coach in the Monroe area.  Former LSU and Grambling linebacker Marcus Yanez will be the new coach at Richwood……..And to close things out, in an eye-popping move, Northlake Christian hired former college and NFL assistant James Willis as its head coach.  Willis takes over for Tony Agresta, who had a 68-43 record over ten seasons at Northlake.

Willis recently coached on Sean Payton’s staff with the Saints in 2017…..As of June 20, only Thomas Jefferson and Slaughter Charter were still searching for their football coaches.

2019 NEW HEAD FOOTBALL COACHES   
SCHOOLNEW COACHPREVIOUS POSITIONPREVIOUS HEAD COACH
Archbishop RummelNick MonicaRummel defensive coordJay Roth
Ascension CatholicBenny SaiaRetired Dutchtown head coachDrey Trosclair
BastropCedric SherrodBastrop OL coachAdrian Burnette
BR CollegiateKinte HillBR Collegiate Dean of StudentsVACANT - New Football Playing School
BroadmoorCyril CrutchfieldWest Jefferson head coachElliott Wilkins
DelhiStorm RidgwayLee Junior High Athletic DirectorToriano Williams
Delhi CharterJerry FooteDelhi Charter spec teams coordBrett Raley
East BeauregardRonald SimmonsEast Beauregard assistant Gordy Glaser
E.D. WhiteKyle Lasseigne (2nd stint)E.D. White assistantChris Bordelon
Grand LakeJeff WainwrightSulphur head coachMike Robinson
Glen OaksSean BeauchampMcKinley def coordJack Phillips, Jr.
Grace KingChadwick LewisPort Allen offensive coordinatorBryant Holmes
Hamilton ChristianJules SullenScotlandville head coachVaughn Eggleston
HigginsTom LavigneWest Jefferson HS teacherKenneth Bush
Highland BaptistRick HutsonNew Iberia head coachScottie Williams
LakesideMichael SantelicusMinden OL coachJason McClendon
Landry-WalkerKeenan LewisSophie B. Wright assistantEmmanuel Powell
Lee HighDrey TrosclairAscension Catholic head coachVACANT - New Football Playing School
Magnolia CharterAndy ModicaCalvary Baptist Dline coachVACANT - New Football Playing School
ManghamScott WilcherMangham def coordinatorTommy Tharp
McKinleyRichard OliverSumter HS (GA) def coordRobert Signater
McMainShan WilliamsWhite Castle assistantTori Dennis
New IberiaCurt WareRayne head coachRick Hutson
North DeSotoDennis DunnPineville head coachScott Abernathy
Northlake ChristianJames WillisFormer New Orleans Saints asstTony Agresta
NorthshoreJosh BuelleNorthshore def coordMike Bourg
OakdaleDestin DieterichAbbeville def coordinatorRandall Gordon
Parkview BaptistStefan LeForsChristian Academy Louisville head coachJay Mayet
PickeringRyan RussoLeesville assistantEddie Thomas
PinevilleDarrin MoorePineville OL coachDennis Dunn
RayneKaine GuidryCrowley assistantCurt Ware
RayvilleJoseph PurvisFranklin Parish defensive coordinatorLent Bursey
RichwoodMarcus YanezOuachita def coordinatorRobert Arvie
ScotlandvilleLester RicardWalker head coachJules Sullen
Slaughter CharterDevyn Baker
SulphurCecil ThomasWalker interim head coachJeff Wainwright
Thomas JeffersonKevin Kelly
Thrive AcademyBrian GloverSt. Helena Central assistantVACANT - New Football Playing School
University HighAndy MartinUniversity High def coordChad Mahaffey
Vandebilt CatholicLance LedetBrother Martin def coordJeremy Atwell
VarnadoMilton GreenVicksburg (MS) def coordinatorAnthony Hicks
WalkerChad MahaffeyUniversity High head coachCecil Thomas
Washington-MarionToriano WilliamsDelhi head coachDeCarlos Holmes
WelshCody GueringerWelsh off coordinatorJohn Richardson
West JeffersonBryan CraytonLandry-Walker co-def coordCyril Crutchfield
WestlakeJohn RichardsonWelsh head coachPhil Fontenot
Woodlawn-BRMarcus RandallChurch Academy head coachDaniel Luquet
Woodlawn-SVC.J. ByrdBelaire offensive coordinatorJerwin Wilson
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