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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Coaching carousel spinning at SL, CL

Coaching carousel spinning at SL, CL

School is out for summer in the area, and kids are finally able to sleep late for a couple weeks before we do it all over again next fall.

When the first bell sounds in the 2015-16 academic year, it will mark the beginning in the head coaching careers of a couple folks at South Lafourche and Central Lafourche high schools.

Both the Tarpons and Trojans have been making moves in recent weeks to get themselves ready for the new year by filling coaching vacancies within the schools’ athletic departments.

South Lafourche has a new volleyball and softball coach – each who will be head coaches for the first time at the prep level. Central Lafourche has a new girls’ basketball coach, who lands with the team after working with the school’s boys’ team.

For South Lafourche, two jobs became open at once when volleyball and softball coach Brittney Rogers decided that she’d step down from her positions at the end of the past academic year.

To replace Rogers in volleyball, the Tarpons will turn to Jamie Lerille, a faculty member at the school, who worked as an assistant coach with the girls’ basketball team last season.

The volleyball job will be Lerille’s first as a head coach at the high school level. But she’s no stranger to Lady Tarpons’ volleyball. She was an assistant coach with the team from 2006-07, leaving the program at that time to follow her daughter Sierra’s athletic endeavors. Since then, Lerille said she’s helped create and maintain the Tarpon Volleyball Summer League, which fosters 80 players in our area.

Lerille said changing the local landscape of volleyball at the youth levels is key for a turnaround at South Lafourche – a program that has never been to the playoffs in the history of its volleyball program.

“We have some returning players from last year, who will be key players,” Lerille said. “We also have a few younger players who will make a big difference on the court. I’m ready to mix them together and watch them grow as a team. It will be exciting to watch.”

Lerille said Tarpons girls’ basketball coach Rainie Terrebonne and former Lady Tarpons’ volleyball coach Lonnie Rousse will be her assistant coaches. Together, the staff will work to challenge the team’s players to be better daily to create a more effective product on the floor.

“We will work really hard to prepare the players for some competitive game play,” she said.

While Lerille gets ready to try and turn around Lady Tarpons’ volleyball, it will be Pete Melancon staked with the same job for South Lafourche softball.

Like Lerille, Melancon has been active in local youth sports for several years, working with countless young players throughout his many years as a coach.

This will be Melancon’s first crack at being a prep head coach – an honor that he said intrigues him.

“It feels good,” Melancon said. “I’ve always enjoyed building world-class, high-performance teams. This is another challenge I look forward to.”

Like in volleyball, the Lady Tarpons’ softball team is in need of an overhaul. South Lafourche has struggled to gain steam with its softball program throughout school history, often fielding a team that’s not competitive with like-sized schools in Southeastern Louisiana.

But Melancon thinks that’s about to change.

By providing stability and his experience to the team, the new coach said he plans to take young players in the area and mold them into being the best talent that they can be. After that, the coach plans to create a working relationship with parents to build a program that he wants to be “transparent” and “defined.”

“As a team, we have to embrace and develop the skills of our players and acknowledge and consider the thoughts of our parent group, as well,” Melancon said. “We may not always have 100 percent agreement on how we run softball operations, but I think you’ll find that we’ll all agree that we are a holistic team, one that realizes that coaches, players and parents are all important factors in this formula and gives all an appropriate venue to express their thoughts.”

Melancon said he returns a lot of his core players, which he will mix with a talented younger group that he expects to contribute right away.

Central Lafourche is making some moves, too.

The Trojans announced that they’ve hired boys’ basketball assistant coach Benton Ford to take over the school’s girls’ basketball team as head coach.

Ford’s first season in Mathews was the past year. He was an assistant coach for one of the most successful basketball years in the past 30 years – a season that saw the team win a district championship and advance to the Class 5A State Playoffs.

Ford will replace outgoing coach Arien Fawcett, who didn’t have much luck recently with the team.

The Lady Trojans were just 2-24 last year, including 14-straight losses in district play.

But Ford is ready to attempt to change that – much like the Trojans’ boys were able to do.

“I think we can get it back,” Ford said. “We will work hard and do the best that we can to put a winning team on the floor, a quality club that the community can rally around and support.”