What the story with Istrouma’s new football coach? He calls it a homecoming

What the story with Istrouma's new football coach? He calls it a homecoming
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He’s back on the north side. Or as Sid Edwards puts it, the 70805.

Four months after being fired as Central High School’s football coach, Edwards was hired as Istrouma’s coach.

“As strange as it sounds, I was praying not for a job, but for God to put me where he most needed me most,” Edwards said. “I really believe that is what happened here.

“No. 1, I’m excited because I am going home … back in the 70805. That’s where I was raised. My dad graduated from Istrouma and so did my wife’s siblings. There is work to be done and I am excited about it.”

The 59-year-old Edwards was 104-52 at Central but was not retained after the Wildcats finished 4-6 and failed to make the Division I nonselect playoffs.

Central hired Catholic High coach David Simoneaux, a former assistant to Edwards at Central, a few weeks later. At Istrouma, Edwards replaces Jeremy Gradney, who rebuilt the Indians’ program when the school reopened after being shuttered because of low academic ratings.

Gradney served as Istrouma’s coach for six seasons. The Indians finished 4-5 last fall and did not make the Division II select playoffs.

The move brings Edwards in the community where he led his alma mater, now-defunct Redemptorist, to football prominence two decades ago.

Edwards will enter the 2023 season as the Baton Rouge area’s winningest active coach with a record of 188-81. He said a meeting with Istrouma principal Yolanda Lankford and athletic director Latoshia Clay was pivotal in his decision-making process. He said he also spoke with Gradney.

“I want to credit coach Gradney for all the work he did to get this program off the ground when the school reopened,” Edwards said. “That was not an easy thing to do. I get to meet with the team (Friday) and that will be the starting point.

“From what I understand, the roster has 30 players. Istrouma has a rich tradition that goes back decades and I’m not just talking about the Fuzzy Brown era. You had Tack Jackson and Mac Evans who had success here.”

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