Retirements, other departures lead to many changes in Louisiana prep head coaching ranks

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It has been a month since the LHSAA’s Prep Classic closed the high school football season, but the coaching carousel is always spinning and keeping prep football in the new cycle after the calendar turns to the new year.

The major moves of the coaching off-season have been the retirements of Catholic High-Baton Rouge’s 300 win club member Dale Weiner as well as Bill Stubbs of Riverside, who capped his career with a state title before hanging up his whistle. Sonny Charpentier also stepped down after a two decade career at the helm of the Teurlings Catholic program and turned things over to his son, Dane.

Catholic offensive coordinator Gabe Fertitta succeeds Weiner, and Riverside defensive coordinator Chris Lachney ascends to the throne at the Reserve school.

Calvary Baptist’s job opened with John Bachman, Sr. leaving after leading the Cavs to two state titles. Longtime Shreveport area coach Rodney Guin was promoted from receivers coach to head coach at Calvary after leading the Haughton program from 2000-15 and coaching a pretty good quarterback named Dak Prescott. It appears Bachman, Sr. will land on his feet at Winnfield in central Louisiana.

Speaking of Central Louisiana, Holy Savior Menard principal Joel Desselle stepped down as head football coach to concentrate on his administrative duties. Desselle led the Eagles to a 8-2 record in 2016 and a berth in the Division III playoffs. Former Winnfield head coach Andy Pyles and Marksville head coach J.P. Dunbar are mentioned as possibles for the Menard job.

Port Allen has a football vacancy when the school parted ways with Nick Mitchell, who coached their for two seasons after leading Southern Lab to the Division IV finals in 2014. Berwick head coach Eric Holden, the Port Allen defensive coordinator in 2015 for Mitchell, could be the leader to take over next. Holden led Berwick to the Class 3A playoffs for the first time since 1996.

Livonia assistant Mike Todd, the Baton Rouge area’s Coach of the Year at Tara in 2007, and current Port Allen defensive coordinator Richard Oliver, previously a head coach at Istrouma and Baker, are said to be others in the running for the Port Allen job.

St. Michael the Archangel is open in Baton Rouge after four year head coach Paul Varnado stepped down to concentrate on his administrative duties as Dean of Students and supervisor of buildings and grounds. The Warriors were the No. 2 seed in the 2014 playoffs under Varnado after a 9-1 regular season mark.

An in-house candidate at St. Michael could be offensive coordinator Chad Davis. Does a “select” school assistant in the Baton Rouge area emerge for the position or will a retired public school coach apply for the position? Maybe the Warriors will go with a young “up-and-comer” here.

Walker High is looking for a new football boss since Brandon Lawley stepped down after two season. Lawley led the program to a 12-9 record and a playoff berth in the 2016 playoffs. It was Walker’s first post-season appearance since 2001.

Differences with the administration were the impetus for Lawley’s departure.

Former Denham Springs head coach Dru Nettles is thought to be a big name of note for the vacancy right away. Catholic-Pointe Coupee head coach David Simoneaux was a finalist two years ago when Lawley was promoted to head coach. Walker alum Daniel Desselle, a longtime assistant in Livingston Parish at Walker and Denham Springs, is another possible candidate.

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