Last Modified: Thursday, June 07, 2012 8:17 PM
After losing previous boys basketball head coach Billy Dreher to his alma mater, St. Louis is bringing a native son home.
Former Sulphur head coach Rick LeBato, who led Northside to a state championship in 2006, will take over for Dreher, who resigned to take the job at his alma mater in Colorado.
LeBato, older brother of current Sulphur head coach Clint LeBato, left Northside to become an assistant coach at UL-Lafayette. He then retired after UL-L changed coaching staffs in 2010.
He said he was hoping to get chance to return to Southwest Louisiana.
“I came back to attend the funeral of a friend of mine, and that kind of got the wheels started” he said. “I didn’t think I would get an opportunity, but then Billy went back home and several of my friends let me know this job was open.”
St. Louis athletic director Jason Oertling said LeBato is a perfect fit.
“We are very lucky, we feel like we had some great applicants and Coach LeBato is what we were looking for,” Oertling said. “He has great experience and will set a great example for our kids.”
Oertling siad 14 people applied for the job. Dreher resigned in May to take the head coaching job at Monument High School in Fruita, Colo.
“He played there and his parents and family are still there,” said Oertling. “His coach became athletic director and Billy is the new coach there. It was the kind of deal where he wanted to go if the job ever came open, and it came open.”
LeBato said he received interest from a few colleges about taking another college job in the past year, but had his heart set on being a head coach again.
“Now I get to do more teaching, which is what I prefer where I am at now,” LeBato said. “I am going to come in a do a good job of teaching. It is a tough district with Washington-Marion, Opelousas and Beau Chene. The good thing is that I have two months to see what we have. We will try to play up-tempo this summer, but I will see what we can do and go from there. We are going to play in the Barbe summer league and that will give me a chance to figure out what we can do.”
LeBato was head coach at Northside from 2000-06, and won the Class 4A championship his last season there. He also served as head coach at Grand Lake, Vinton and Sulphur and was an assistant coach at University of Texas-Arlington. His career record as head coach is 622-157.
Posted By: Dwght Myers On: 6/10/2012
Welcome back although I live in your future.