Louisiana high school football up to 63 head coaching changes in 2020 offseason

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Tad Gormley

Three weeks have come and gone with prep football summer drills returning after things “opened up” again with the LHSAA mandated June 8th return of summer rules.

Head coaches are leading players and staff through unprecedented times and adaptations this summer. Lifting and conditioning are common place at schools in every corner of the state and in between.

How those agility drills, position specific conditioning drills, and lifts inside a weight room or even outside on an athletic field look are completely different from previous summers. Moving forward will probably look different when football season comes around, but it is commonplace with new head coaches dotting high school programs throughout Louisiana.

Like every season, communities and fans are getting excited about the start of the football season. While there are questions moving forward, coaches, student-athletes, and fans alike are hopeful of beginning football sometime in August based on what Governor John Bel Edwards mandates on where Louisiana is with the Coronavirus in mid-July.

Speaking of coaches, there will be at least 63 new grid bosses stalking the sideline for the 2020 season. 55 are in place with another eight schools continuing its search for a head football coach.

Of the 55 head coaching hires made as of June 26th (eight jobs are still vacant), 16 are head coach to head coach moves.

Two college coaches moved to the Louisiana head coaching ranks in Justin Charles (Louisiana College to Holy Savior Menard) and Chris Towery (Tyler JC of Texas to Sulphur)

Three coaches returned to the sidelines after being out of coaching for a brief period: Emanuel Powell to Helen Cox; Bruce Hoffman to Hanson Memorial; and Maurice Pollard to Wossman.

One coach moved up from the junior high level to return to the high school head coaching ranks in Tawaskie Anderson, now at H.L. Bourgeois.

13 new head coaches were promoted from within and two will lead programs with the “interim” tag this year in Jesuit’s Scott Bairnsfather and Eunice’s Andre Vige, a former legendary quarterback for the Bobcats. Vige moved into the head coaching role when long-time coach Paul Trosclair stepped down last week after 25 years on the job. Trosclair, in remission from multiple myeloma, made the tough choice to step down due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

Three schools are hiring new head coaches for the second year in a row in West Jefferson, Baton Rouge Collegiate, and Thrive Academy. The latter two are still searching for new football bosses.

Two coaches move in from out-of-state high school jobs, but are no stranger to Louisiana head coaching jobs in Lark Hebert (Vinton) and Sonny Nason (Franklin Parish).

Of the 34 new head coaches that were not in a head coaching role or were out of coaching last year, 23 came from offensive backgrounds and 11 bring defensive backgrounds to the table.

Bairnsfather will be in his third head coaching stop in the Catholic League, serving Holy Cross, alma mater Archbishop Shaw, and now Jesuit in the interim role for the 2020 season. Bairnsfather was elevated from offensive coordinator recently when head coach Mark Songy moved into administration as the prefect of discipline at Jesuit.

Long-time coaches that retired or stepped down from coaching since the 2019 season ended include Steve Robichaux at Destrehan, Trosclair at Eunice, Songy at Jesuit; Brent Indest at Catholic-New Iberia; Don Jones at Patterson; Jim Gatlin at Northwood-Shreveport, Richard Curlin at South Terrebonne; Terry Washington at Tara, Rob Odom at West Feliciana; Freddie Hallman at Grant and Doug Guillory at Opelousas.

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