Donnie Russell steps down as baseball coach at Edna Karr
Donnie Russell has resigned as head baseball coach at Edna Karr, citing family reasons.
Russell spent eight seasons as the head coach of the Cougars, presiding over an excellent, consistent program which he grew and developed.
In 2014, Russell led Karr to a 22-2 record, the 10-4A district championship and the state playoffs. The Cougars became the first Orleans Parish public school to win a baseball playoff game since the 1989 when McDonogh 35 and Booker T. Washington each won a playoff game. The Cougars beat Plaquemine 5-4 in the opening round of the 2014 playoffs.
“My wife is the head of the sewerage and water board in New Orleans,” Russell said. “Dealing with that in Hurricane season is very tough. With her there and my daughter, Jadon, whom I help coach with the 12-year-old softball program, it was too much to bare. I don’t want to hurt the kids at Karr. It is tough getting kids to come to you to play baseball here. Every year is tough. It’s hard to have a summer program because you don’t know who the kids are going to be. It’s a tough situation.”
Russell reiterated why he made the move.
“My daughter is doing well and I want to be part of her life,” Russell said. “She attends Patrick Taylor and is going into seventh grade and may start on varsity soon. I won’t be coaching forever. I want to devote my time to our family. Our daughter is very good, a phenomenal kid, and I want to be there for her.”
Russell feels you have to be fully committed or not committed at all.
“I never want to miss practice at Karr,” Russell said. “We don’t have an assistant coach, with our budget. It requires the head coach being there and being hands-on at all times. We put a band-aid on things frequently. I love the school and want to do the right thing by Karr. My wife’s term will be up in late August but she is staying on to help the new man taking over at the sewerage and water board.”
Russell is thankful to three individuals who made his job at Karr a pleasant one.
“We always try to compete and win at Karr,” Russell said. “That has always been the case and I believe it will continue. My run at Karr has been great with Tonya Allen, Brice Brown and Coach Taurus Howard. They understand the move. I wish nothing but the very best for the Cougars. It is a great school and place.”
Russell won the prestigious Eddie Robinson award from the Allstate Sugar Bowl in 2014 for doing superb work with fewer resources than most.
In the eight seasons at Karr, Russell guided the Cougars to a 151-62 record, reaching the state playoffs the last four seasons. Russell guided Karr to winning seasons in seven of his eight seasons.
Russell grew up in New Orleans, attending St. Augustine before attending Grambling. Russell is going to teach at St. Augustine, and will help with baseball with Al Robinson.
“I’m not finished with coaching, we’re not closing the book yet on being a head coach,” Russell said. “This is all about supporting my family, whom I love most. I love coaching as well, though.”
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