Prep notebook: Istrouma’s Duncan to coach three sports

Budget cuts and sudden resignation have put Istrouma High in position to have one coach — Johnny Duncan Sr. — serve as the head coach for three major sports — football, boys basketball and track.

Duncan served as the Indians’ interim football coach last Friday, one day after first-year head coach Donald “Que” Berniard abruptly submitted his resignation. Duncan had added to the boys basketball job to his duties three weeks early due to budget cuts within the recovery school district.

The pervious Istrouma basketball coach, Aaron Pearson, led the Indians to their first semifinal berth since the 1960s in 2012-13, his only year at the school.

“We’ve had some situations that have developed within the recovery school district,” Istrouma Athletic Director Damian Gordon said. “We’ve had some budget cuts, which is how coach Duncan became our basketball coach. He was already scheduled to coach track.

“Coach Berniard’s resignation was unexpected. We have confidence in coach Duncan carry out the duties he has. I’m an assistant coach for football and we have a group of coaches who are still dedicated to making this season the best it can be.”

Berniard said he not sure what his next career move will be.

“I have nothing negative to say about Istrouma,” Berniard said. “I still have friends there. It (resigning) was a decision I felt I needed to make.”

Pearson, who is now teaching, but not coaching in the Easton Baton Rouge Parish School System, said he surprised by the budget cuts.

“I had no idea until Mr. (Robert) Webb (Istrouma Principal) called me in and told me my position was being eliminated,” Pearson said. “It’s tough because we worked so hard over the summer. My hope is that I can get back into coaching.”

Though unusual, Duncan’s situation is not unprecedented. A year ago, Claude Coleman took over head football coach for Capitol High midway through the season and also served as the school’s boys basketball coach. Coleman is still the Capitol football coach; the school hired another basketball coach.

Silliman loses two

Silliman Institute’s dream of a Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Overall Class 2A softball title evaporated Monday, thanks to back-to-back losses in Pearl, Miss.

The Wildcats (35-8-1) lost to top-seeded Bayou Academy 2-1 in a semifinal played early Monday afternoon. Silliman then lost to Leake Academy 2-1 in an elimination game at Center City Park.

Brooke Watts took the loss in both games but struck out 22 in 23 innings pitch, along with yielding 13 hits in four tourney games. Taylor Rogillio was 4-for-8 at the plate with four runs scored. Allie Delee was 3-for-6 with two RBIs, while Callie Venable finished 5-for-12 with two runs scored.

Ex-ZHS assistant hired

Former Zachary High assistant baseball coach Greg Williams has been hired as the head baseball coach at Shreveport’s Byrd High.

Williams was part of three straight 4A titles at ZHS. He succeeds Al Cantwell, who is now head coach LSU-Shreveport. Byrd was 16-18 last season.

3-on-3 benefits

Two local schools, Baker High and Live Oak High, are set to host 3-on-3 basketball fundraisers, on Saturday.

The Live Oak “King of the Court” 3-on-3 tournament is set to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at the school. Cost is $20 per player with a limit of four players per team. The deadline to enter is Wednesday.

There will be divisions for adults 19-and-over, boys in grades 9-12 and junior high boys in grades 6-to-8. Contact LOHS coach Cary Verges to register via email at

Action at Baker will begin at approximately 11 a.m. Saturday. Cost is $40 per team with a maximum of four players on a team.

Teams can register early by contacting BHS boys basketball coach Raeshawn Williams at (225) 329-6660 or by email at

Shawn Bradford can also be contacted at (225) 754-2918 about registration. Teams also can register between 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.

DSHS benefit

The Denham Springs High Athletic Association will host a fundraising golf tournament on Sunday, Oct. 13, at Greystone Golf and Country Club.

Registration begins at noon for the four-person scramble that begins with a shotgun start at 1:30 p.m. The cost is $125 per player or $500 per team which includes a lunch before tee time and an awards dinner at 6:30 p.m.

There also will be a $600 Purple and Gold sponsorship that incorporates a team entry, team mulligan package and a team par-3 card/club game. Businesses can sponsor a hole for $100.

Contact Les O’Neal at (225) 235-6197 or via email to