Twenty years ago, in 1997, Ron Lejeune served as head coach for the East Iberville High Tigers football team, he has come full circle.
Lejeune has officially taken over the head coaching duties at EIHS and will rebuild the program from the ground up.
Another notable addition to the program is non-faculty coach Gary Burnett, who has six state championships under his belt and will serve as a defensive coach for the Tigers.
After his stint in the late nineties, Lejeune took a head coaching position at St. John for two season, four seasons at Belaire, served as an assistant at Brusly and four years at Tara as a head coach.
He then served as an assistant coach at Plaquemine High through the 2016 season.
“It is pretty special to come back and see former students that have grown up, have kids, have a good job,” Lejeune said. “It makes me feel like I had a little something to do with that.
“I just wanted to come back and try to do some good again. We did some good twenty years ago. I see how MSA-West is working with Plaquemine and I said ‘we can get the same thing going here’.”
Lejeune will make an effort to merge both East Iberville and MSA-East on the gridiron this season. According to Lejeune, he has already had 20 MSA-East students try out for the team.
There will also be a few familiar faces donning cleats for Lejeune, including senior quarterback Lyndell Joseph, senior tight end/defensive end Edward Smith and junior running back Keston Johnson.
The Tigers earned their first win since 2012 last year, and Lejeune will look to add to that total early in 2017.
“I started off by scheduling some teams that are just starting football to try to get some confidence going early and build from there,” he said. “It’s a work in progress, but it’s a longterm investment. We’re going to get it going, but it’s going to take a little time.”
Lejeune believes his 20 years of coaching experience will help make the East Iberville football program relevant in 6-1A. During his time here, the team was competitive and made the playoffs on several occasions.
“That was twenty years ago,” he said. “You live and learn from experiences, but now I have twenty years of experience and we’ll have to put it to the test.”
Lejeune is ready to get a jump start on spring training and he already has 42 kids that have tried out for the team. The regular season schedule is set, and so is a spring scrimmage on May 13.
“We’re going to work hard each and every week to get the kids better each week,” he said. “The coaching staff is going to work, the kids are going to work and we’re going to have fun while we’re doing it.
“We’re going to stick to the program and we are going to get better each and every week and each and every year.”