Warren Easton names Kartisia Esco as new athletic director, Derek Hale as boys basketball coach

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Esco, Hale

Warren Easton has turned to a pair of Eagles alumni to fill its athletic director and boy’s basketball coach positions.

Kartisia Esco, Class of 2003, has been promoted to athletic director while Derek Hale, Class of 1998, takes over as the boys basketball coach.

The combination of Esco and Hale replaces Neil McKendall, who held both positions. McKendall retired at the end of the 2019-20 school year after 21 years at the school. He served as the athletic director for the last five years.

A New Orleans native who prepped at John F. Kennedy before attending Missouri and SUNO, McKendall, who spent 40 years coaching at SUNO, Xavier and Warren Easton, is now at Garyville Magnet Math and Science School teaching physical education and coaching middle school boys basketball.

“I was ready to move closer to home and Garyville is where I am,” McKendall said. “It will not be a long commute every day.”

McKendall remembers how it all got started for him at Warren Easton.

“Ron Gearing came to Xavier, where I was coaching intramurals,” McKendall said. “Another guy refused it and they offered it to me. We made the playoffs 14 out of 21 years and four good runs in the playoffs and reached the quarterfinals most recently in 2018. We put at least one or two kids at the next level every year. Kendall Dykes (UNO) was one of those.”

McKendall is proud of what his program represented.

“We taught basketball to good kids who worked hard,” McKendall said. “I loved every one of them. We had a really good time in 21 years. It’s been a blessing.”

McKendall is high on the hire of Hale.

“Derek is going to good a good job,” McKendall said. “He was with us, left to go to California and he came back. He is an Easton graduate. He got certified and I knew he wanted to focus on coaching basketball. He coached the ninth-grade team and coached the junior varsity team the last two years. He’s excited and he loves the school. I’m happy they hired an Easton guy.”

McKendall is enthused about Esco as well.

“Kartisa was in track and field at Easton, went to SLU and she has done an excellent job as a trainer,” McKendall said. “She wanted to learn about athletic director requirements and she prepared. She is very prepared in analytical fashion and will do a great job. She is ready for the responsibility.”

Esco obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees from Southeastern Louisiana.

She served as an athletic trainer for the North Oaks Healthcare System before serving for a year as a Sports Medicine teacher at Hammond High.

Esco went to Warren Easton as head athletic trainer and teacher in 2013, serving through 2018 before going to the University of Nebraska for a year as the Injury and Care Prevention Coordinator. Esco returned to Warren Easton as the head athletic trainer and CTE instructor in July of 2019.

Hale earned his undergraduate degree from Southern University (Baton Rouge). He has been working at Easton since 2017 as a teacher.

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