Updated: Coaching vacancies open at area schools
Fri. May 24, 2013 at 11:33 a.m. | By Chris Singleton/Staff Writer
With the school year complete, some local high schools have open vacancies for head coaching positions.
Assumption and Central Lafourche are two of the area's public schools with open positions.
Assumption has an open vacancy for its head softball coach, while Central Lafourche is looking to find replacements for its head boys and girls basketball positions.
Thibodaux High and St. James High are two schools with vacant head volleyball coaching positions listed on the Louisiana High School Athletic Association website.
According the LHSAA website, the application process for the Thibodaux volleyball job ended at 10 this morning. Thibodaux athletic director Tony Clark said the school hopes to have a new coach within the next two weeks.
Here's a look at the ongoing searches at Assumption and Central Lafourche.
Assumption is looking to replace former head softball coach Boyd Fussell, who stepped down at the end of the 2012-13 season.
Fussell, 53, has served as a teacher and coach at Assumption for over 30 years. After leading the Lady Mustangs to a 13-16 overall record and a trip to the Class 4A second-round playoffs this year, Fussell said it was his decision to let someone else take over the softball program.
"It was just a time when the program has been doing really good, and I would never leave it in a situation where it would be bad for the next person coming in," Fussell said. "I felt like it was time for me to go ahead and back away. I was tired and ready to move on. It was very difficult, but we were at a time with the program that it was time to bring in some young blood."
Fussell said he will continue to teach at Assumption and help out whenever needed in the athletic program.
"I'm still going to hang around and help out anyway I can," Fussell said. "The school has been so good to me in the last 30-plus years and everything. It's going to be a change, but I think it's a welcome change, and I think it's going to be good for everybody down the road."
Fussell's wife — Assumption athletic director, head volleyball coach and assistant softball coach Sandy Fussell — said she supported the coach's decision to step away from softball.
"Even though it was a tough decision for both of us, we both feel like it is the right one," Sandy Fussell said. "We just thought it was a good time to move on. We have the bulk of our team returning next year. The program is in a really good place, and we just felt this was just a good time to back away and look towards the future."
Sandy Fussell, who started the Lady Mustangs softball program in 1985, said Assumption is accepting applications for the position until June 6. After a final interview process, she is hoping the job will be filled soon after.
"We are looking for somebody with a lot of energy and a lot of knowledge," Sandy Fussell said. "Our softball program, even though we haven't reached that ultimate success in winning a championship, we've always been very competitive and well-respected. We are looking for someone who can continue that tradition and just maybe bring in some new energy and just continue to build on the success we've had in the past."
After losing only one senior this season, Boyd Fussell said the new coach will get a good young nucleus of players.
"We have some girls who we think are ready to step in and help out," Boyd Fussell said. "I think this team we have here, if everything works out, is going to be the one that gets to Sulphur. I really do."
Central Lafourche has two open vacancies to fill the boys basketball coaching spot left behind by Robert Brisco and the girls basketball job by Brett Smith.
Central Lafourche athletic director Travis Douglas said the school decided to part ways with Brisco, who led the Trojans to a 5-22 record and 0-12 mark in District 7-5A play in one season.
When contacted Friday morning, Brisco said the coaching change wasn’t a mutual decision. Brisco said it was the administration’s decision to remove him from the head boys’ basketball coaching duties, adding that the school told him they “wanted to move in a different direction.”
Brisco said he was disappointed about being removed as coach after one season because it “didn’t give him enough time to develop the players and the program.”
Although he didn't agree with the change, Brisco said he has no hard feelings about the decision, and he will still support the players and team as a member of Central Lafourche’s faculty staff as a teacher and assistant track coach next school year.
The new girls basketball coach will replace Smith, who is moving on to a teaching and coaching job at East Thibodaux Middle School.
Smith, who nearly guided the Lady Trojans to a playoff berth last season with a 15-12 overall record, said his decision to leave Central Lafourche was to move closer to his home in Thibodaux.
"It was a great experience. I've loved everything about Central," Smith said. "Going to East Thibodaux was closer to my family, so that's the main reason why I'm moving."
Douglas said the application process for the new boys basketball coach ended on Thursday. Although he didn't have a complete list of applicants as of Thursday, Douglas said he hopes to conduct interviews and have a new coach named by the end of next week.
Douglas said the search for a new girls basketball coach opened on Thursday, and there is no date set yet for an application deadline. For both positions, Douglas said the school is looking to hire coaches who will bring stability to the basketball programs.
"We've had a bunch of changes here in the last three years," Douglas said. "We probably have had four or five basketball coaches. We want that stability. We're looking for someone who can come in and develop a program and build it the right way and see it all the way through."