Bakari Beckwith leaving Zachary to take job at Ruston

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Zachary High School head basketball coach Bakari Beckwith watches his team play against Scotlandville in the championship game of the Bob Petit Coca Cola East Baton Rouge Tournament in Southern University's F.G. Clark Center Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.  MAGS OUT / INTERNET OUT/ONLINE OUT/NO SALES/TV OUT/FOREIGN OUT/LOUISIANA BUSINESS INC. OUT/GREATER BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT OUT/225 OUT/10/12 OUT/IN REGISTER OUT/LBI CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS OUT/MANDATORY CREDIT THE ADVOCATE/ Heather McClelland Show caption
Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Zachary High School head basketball coach Bakari Beckwith watches his team play against Scotlandville in the championship game of the Bob Petit Coca Cola East Baton Rouge Tournament in Southern University's F.G. Clark Center Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. MAGS OUT / INTERNET OUT/ONLINE OUT/NO SALES/TV OUT/FOREIGN OUT/LOUISIANA BUSINESS INC. OUT/GREATER BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT OUT/225 OUT/10/12 OUT/IN REGISTER OUT/LBI CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS OUT/MANDATORY CREDIT THE ADVOCATE/ Heather McClelland

The desire to move closer to home motivated a big change for Bakari Beckwith, who is resigning as boys basketball coach at Zachary High School to take the same job at Ruston.

“I really didn’t see myself leaving Zachary,” Beckwith said. “Everything you hear about it, from the quality of the school to the community, is true.

“But to get the chance to be closer to where I’m from is important for me and my family. I really feel like it’s a calling for me to go there.”

Beckwith, who starred at Monroe’s Ouachita Parish High, said he will be in Ruston on Friday to finalize the details of his new job.

The 33-year-old Beckwith spent two years at Zachary. His 2012-13 team finished 19-14 and lost to Higgins 55-44 in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.

Before coming to Zachary, Beckwith spent one season as an assistant in Longview, Texas, and was head coach at West Monroe for three seasons.

“I’ve got nothing but good things to say about coach Beckwith,” Zachary Principal Wes Watts said. “We’ve developed a great relationship by working together. I wish he would decide to stay, but I do understand the fact that he wants to move his family closer to where they’re from.”