After weeks of waiting, Donald “Que” Berniard is officially a head football coach for the first time.
Istrouma High Principal Robert Webb Jr. announced Berniard was approved to take over the Indians’ program by Louisiana’s Recovery School District.
Berniard, 40, has a wealth of youth football experience and also was an Istrouma assistant in 1993. Two notable prep players, Catholic High running back Derrius Guice and University High linebacker-running back Dylan Moses, are among the players the former Tara High quarterback said he has mentored.
“It’s official,” Webb said. “We’re very excited about having coach Berniard as our head coach. I think you will see our team display great character and dignity on the field.”
A year ago, Berniard served as the offensive coordinator for Catholic’s freshman team. He also had one-year stint as an assistant at Desire Street Academy in addition to spending the 1993 season at Istrouma.
Berniard was originally set to be the Indians associate head coach. When Justin Joseph resigned in July, Berniard emerged as the frontrunner for the job. He has worked with the Indians throughout the summer and will teach physical education at the school.
Joseph recorded a 2-7 in his only season at Istrouma and is now an assistant at Redemptorist. Transitions for Istrouma involve more than just coaches this fall. Traditionally, a Class 4A school, Istrouma drops down to Class 2A for 2013-14 and 2014-15.
“I think it’s no secret that Istrouma has athletic talent,” Berniard said. “Even though we lost a number of kids for various reasons, I still believe we have enough talent to be successful.
“The thing I’m trying to change here is the culture and the mental approach to the game. We want them to work hard and believe in themselves.”
Berniard is a 1991 Tara High graduate. He has undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Phoenix.