Marqus Mitchell new Tara basketball coach

Marqus Mitchell has been an assistant boys basketball coach at three of the Baton Rouge area’s prominent high school boys basketball programs.

The one thing the 31-year-old coach has not done is work as a head coach. Until now.

Tara announced it has hired Mitchell to replace longtime coach Larry Grantham, who announced his retirement after the 2012-13 season.

“We had some good applicants,” Tara Athletic Director Barry Jackson said. “We were very impressed by coach Mitchell and feel like he has a lot to offer our school and program. Coach Grantham was here for a long time, and we feel like we’ve hired a coach who can be here for a number of years.”

Mitchell spent the 2012-13 season as a Glen Oaks assistant. Prior to that, he spent two years as an assistant at McKinley and before that served as an assistant at Istrouma.

“I know I have some big shoes to fill,” Mitchell said. “I’ve always been an admirer of coach Grantham. This past year I really liked the direction the program was going. You could tell the players were really buying into what coach Grantham wanted them to do.

“My goal is to pick things up right where he left off. There are several players coming, and I can’t wait to get started in summer league with them so we can all get to know each other.”

Mitchell was one of 12 applicants for the Tara job. Jackson said six applicants were interviewed before hiring Mitchell.

A former Lee High player and a 2000 LHS graduate, Mitchell played for LSU coach Johnny Jones at North Texas from 2001-05. Mitchell got a chance to meet with Grantham and the Tara players Tuesday.

“My coaching style is a combination of all the coaches I’ve worked with,” Mitchell said. “This last stint with coach (Harvey) Adger at Glen Oaks was very influential. Hopefully, I’ll be able to use what I’ve learned from everyone along the way.”

Grantham spent the majority of his 36-year coaching career at Tara, compiling a 449-443 record that included a trip to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Top 28 Tournament in 1995. The Trojans were the District 6-4A runner-up to Istrouma this spring and lost to traditional 4A power Peabody in the regional playoff round.