How do you replace the best head basketball coach your school has ever hired?
If you’re Joe Hines, Athletic Director at Archbishop Hannan High, you hire a coach with even better credentials than the one you just lost.
Following a season in which the Hawks posted a record of 28 wins, 3 losses, a district championship and an overall record of 74-17, Michael Senna resigned as the boys’ head coach.
This came on the heels of Senna being recognized as the Clarion Herald Elite Basketball Team’s Coach of the Year.
Senna’s decision to move was a family decision to relocate their residence to another state.
Hines didn’t waste time filling the vacancy with a quality coach.
Errol Gauff had recently resigned as head women’s basketball coach at Southeastern Louisiana University after holding that post for the 2016-17 season. He was apparently experiencing shortness of breath and an irregular heartbeat, reasons for his departure.
While his SLU women’s team went 5-24, when healthy, Gauff is an excellent coach at the high school level. His résumé gives testament to that statement.
In 15 seasons (1999-2014) as the head coach at St. Thomas Aquinas in Hammond, Gauff’s teams won eight district titles (mostly in Class 1A) and two state championships in 2007 and 2008.
He was named his district’s coach of the year five times, and it’s no wonder. In watching his team compete in the CYO Tournament and other local tournaments, one saw a well-prepared, well-disciplined team on the court. And although they did not win against schools of larger classification, they were not embarrassed, either.
Gauff’s hiring comes at the right time for Archbishop Hannan, which is about to reach Class 3A status because of its rising enrollment on the northshore.
Senna, a former assistant at Brother Martin, did a fine job developing Hannan’s boys’ basketball program.
A healthy Gauff can take it to the next level as the school continues to grow.
Five for sure to Sulphur
At least five softball teams from schools in the Archdiocese of New Orleans have the opportunity to make it to the LHSAA softball championship tournament for select schools. Two will be among the quarterfinalists.
And the odds are that two others will join them.
Two of four local Catholic schools will have gained their berth on April 19 when the Division II quarterfinal round was scheduled to begin.
At that time, Ursuline will host De La Salle in a 4 p.m. game. At 4:30, across the river, Academy of Our Lady will be home to face St. Scholastica.
The two winners of these regional-round games will have their invitations to Sulphur.
Mount Carmel, the No. 2 seed in Division I, has qualified without having to swing a bat.
Because this division has just eight teams, the whole bracket automatically advances to the quarterfinals on April 28. That includes No. 5 Dominican and No. 6 Archbishop Chapelle.
Mount Carmel will face No. 7 Byrd; Dominican’s opponent will be No. 4 St. Joseph Academy; and No. 6 Chapelle will meet No. 3 John Curtis in single-elimination games.
In the Division III tournament, No. 4 St. Charles Catholic needed to beat No. 13 Thomas Jefferson on April 19, and No. 5 Archbishop Hannan had to get past No. 12 Runnels on April 17 to make it to Sulphur.
And should No. 10 Cabrini win at No. 7 Teurlings Catholic on April 22, the Crescents add to the possibility that the archdiocese will have as many as 10 teams in the state tournament.
The end is near
The LHSAA will announce its (split) playoff brackets following the end of the regular baseball season on April 22.
The track and field campaign will also come to an end on April 22, with most of the local district championship meets set for April 19-21.
The regional meets will be April 28, and the Allstate Sugar Bowl Championship Meet will be held May 4-6 at LSU.
Ron Brocato can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.