Teams in this post:

St. James searching for new coach


There is a swell of interest gaining momentum as St. James High School steps up its search for it next head football coach.

Former head football coach James Bell was reassigned within the school district after posting an 0-9 record last season.

Bell, who was hired to replace Rick Gaille, did not won a game in two seasons (0-19) at St. James and is now working at Lutcher Elementary.

At a St. James Parish School Board meeting after the end of the football season, Bell's two-year contract was not renewed, signalling the search for his predecessor. Bell's contract expires on June 30.

"It has continued to draw interests. I think we have nearly 30 applicants already, and we intend to leave the window (to apply) open through the week after the state finals," Luce said. "That way every coach interested can apply after their season is complete."

Thanks to the success that Gaille brought to the program, St. James football is well know throughout the state.

However, with a new football stadium under construction and a new school soon to follow, Luce said the new facilities provide an added attraction to prospective applicants.

"We are in the process of building a new stadium. We already bought the turf, and we are in the process of starting the road to get to the stadium," Luce said. "We are in a great location, and we are ready to build that stadium."

Besides not winning a game under Bell, interest in the football program at St. James was starting to slip.

In his first season, Bell had 47 players come out for football, but that number dropped to 31 this year with only six seniors on the team.

While interest in the football program within the school slipped, Luce said there is so much interest from coaches outside of the program that his search committed my start the interview process sooner than scheduled.

A tentative date of Jan. 10 was set to start interviews, but with 30 or more coaches applying, the entire process may start sooner.

"Soon after the applications close we will have a committed go through those applications," Luce said. "We have so many applicants, we want to get it down to a good number. I see us going through that part of the process very quickly. I would think before Jan. 10 we would have already started some of the interview process."