Two of the Baton Rouge area’s most successful high school coaches, Parkview Baptist football coach Kenny Guillot and East Ascension High boys basketball coach Kenny Almond, are revising their respective game plans as they battle different types of cancer.
Almond is recovering from cancer-related surgery earlier this week and is preparing to start chemotherapy in the weeks ahead with an eye on returning to the bench some time in January.
Guillot, whose team won the Class 3A state title last Saturday in New Orleans, told his players earlier this week that he has been diagnosed with a form of lymphoma. Guillot, who also serves as the school’s athletic director, is scheduled to have six rounds of chemotherapy treatment, which will begin next week. He hopes to return to work full time before spring practice.
“I’ve got a friend who’s going through the same thing I am and he had surgery in October,”Almond said. “Based on his experience, I’ve got an idea what to expect. I’ve already done the chemo pills and radiation, but this next chemo is supposed to be more aggressive.
“There are some goals I have. The good news is the holidays are coming up, and I won’t have to miss as much school time. We start district around Jan. 11, and that’s a goal for when I’d like to get back.”
Almond won his 800th career game last season. EAHS is 11-1 on the season including a Thursday win over Denham Springs. Travis Uzee is serving as the interim coach for the Spartans.
Guillot said he had a series of tests run during the fall season, but did not get the lymphoma diagnosis until last week, days before the Eagles (13-0) took a 42-7 victory over Notre Dame-Crowley in the 3A title game.
It PBS’ fourth state title since Guillot became the school’s head football coach. PBS has won 3A titles in 2001, 2007, 2010 and 2012.
“The important thing for me was to make sure the season was all about the kids,” Guillot said. “I do plan to be at school when I can, but there will also be some times when I’ll miss school over the next couple of months.
“I’m very optimistic. I like the approach the doctors are taking. They tell me this is a very curable and that there’s a 95 percent cure rate. There’s a chance it can come back, but that’s not something to consider right now. I told our players my goal is to be out there with them in spring.”
Coordinators Jay Mayet and Scott Dieterich will hand other day-to-day duties. Dieterich is also recovering from blood pressure related issues that prevented him from coaching in last Saturday’s title game.