Security measures, future agenda topics, chalk talk, awards close out LHSCA event

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Game security and what looms next for the LHSAA are topics that sometimes get talked about in between seminars at the LHSCA Coaches Clinic.

Both topics got their own space on Wednesday, the final day of the LHSCA event held at the Crowne Plaza.

Jefferson Parish athletic director Carl Nini and Jefferson’s Department of School Safety Director David Malveaux led a seminar on fan management and sportsmanship. Both men talked about their procedures and the decision to use metal detectors at all their prep sports events.

Nini and Malveaux told the group that a gun was found on a nonstudent the first night the metal detectors were used. They said hundreds of knives have been confiscated. Jefferson is adding a clear-bag policy for 2023-24.

In addition to searching fans, coaches for both teams are required to search their players’ bags.

“We do get negative comments, as you might expect,” Nini said. “But we also have people who thank us.

“Look, we understand this is Louisiana. Some of us do carry pocket knives and don’t think about it. Now you do have to think about it. The coaches have adjusted too.”

Catholic High athletic director Ben DiPalma then led a discussion about some planned items for the January agenda, including a revamped baseball playoff structure that would allow teams in divisions I-III to play best-of-three games through the semifinals and finals.

Teams in Division III-IV would still play single-elimination games throughout the playoffs. DiPalma said Sulphur and the LHSAA say the logistics can be worked out.

Options for handling subvarsity eligibility for transfer students who come from another attendance zones were discussed.

“My experience is that the kids who have to sit out a year are the most likely to quit sports,” DiPalma said. “I’ve always thought we should find ways to keep them involved.”

By the numbers, etc.

Just under1,200 coaches/administrators registered to attend the LHSCA clinic — a total that is nearly 300 higher than the 2022 attendance.

LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine addressed the group and praised their work and dedication to their athletes.

• St. James football coach/athletic director LaVanta Davis elected as the second vice president of the LHSCA.

Davis, who served as head football coach at Scotlandville previously, beat East Ascension boys basketball coach Troy Green in the vote held at the LHSCA general assembly meeting.

“When I found out there would be an opening, I decided to go for it so I can be of service to the all the schools and coaches,” Davis said. “I also see this as a way to build more relationships with fellow coaches across the state.”

• LHSCA director Eric Held announced that the dates for the 2024 clinic are July 16-17 at the Crowne Plaza. The LHSCA golf tourney will be July 15.

Frank Daggs of McDonogh 35 completed his term as president of the LHSCA with Wednesday’s general assembly.

East St. John football coach/AD Brandon Brown moves from first vice president to president. Carencro basketball coach Christopher Kovatch moves to first vice president, making way for St. James’ Davis to take on the second VP role.

25-year awards

Two Baton Rouge area coaches, Bonita Johnson and Lafayette Duhe, received 25-year service plaques during the LHSCA general assembly.

Johnson is the head volleyball and girls basketball coach at University High. Duhe is the freshman football coach at Denham Springs.

• U-High offensive coordinator Aaron Vice was the clinic’s final football speaker late Wednesday afternoon.

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