St. John hires new head football coach, AD

Andrew Green
New St. John head football coach James Piker (left) and Athletic Director Dale Creamer.

St. John School recently added a pair of new faces to its coaching staff after hiring a new head football coach and Athletic Director.

James Piker, of Maringouin, will serve as the new head football coach for the St. John Eagles and Dale Creamer will serve as Athletic Director for the school.

Piker recently finished two years as the offensive/defensive line coach at Catholic P.C. under David Simoneaux. Before that, he served as defensive line coach at University High and was a part of the 2014 state championship team.

Piker’s coaching journey began in Iberville Parish, however, when he served as the offensive line coach at Plaquemine High under coach Bob Howell from 2009-11.  After, he served as a student assistant coach and graduate assistant coach at Southeastern before working at U-High.

Piker has fond memories of coaching for an Iberville Parish team, which is part of the reason why he wanted to return.

“My three years here when I was at Plaquemine High, I just remember the support and the pride from the people that went to St. John had, and from the parents and the community,” Piker said.

“The dynamic has shifted, and I remember what it was when I was at Plaquemine and the idea of being able to take it back to that level and return the pride and support to the community seemed like a great opportunity.  I didn’t want to pass that up.

“The idea of coming back here seemed really special.”

Piker was hired on June 5 and had the opportunity to work with members of the Eagles football squad for the past two weeks.

Piker looks to instill the “hard-nosed mentality” he taught to his young offensive and defensive lines at schools in the past into the St. John football program.  Piker took the vacant position after former coach “Woody” Cagnolatti transferred.  In the 2016 season, the St. John Eagles went winless.

“The kids have a lot of enthusiasm,” Piker said. “They’re awake and they want to be here.  The football culture is already in place here.  There is a lot that’s in place already that we will build upon and try to right the ship.”

The Eagles currently attend workout on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays while running drills on Wednesdays and Fridays.  Piker will work with his new team throughout the remainder of summer in preparation for the start of the season in August.

St. John School also recently named its new Athletic Director.  Dale Creamer, a Bossier native, was hired June 15, 2017 and brings 25 years of experience with him.  Creamer will also don an assistant coaching role under Piker.

In the late ‘90s, Creamer served on the Evangel Christian Academy staff as the defensive coordinator.  He also served as the offensive and defensive line coach at Calgary Baptist in Shreveport where his team earned two state championships and one runner-up title from 2011-13.

From 2014-16, Creamer served under coach Thomas David at St. Edmund’s in Eunice as offensive coordinator and spent the 2016-17 season at Hanson Memorial in Franklin as the head football and track coach.

Creamer was a candidate for the vacant head football coach position at St. John, and, according to Creamer, because of his age and experience, the school decided for him to serve as its new Athletic Director.

Creamer is no stranger to small town football and serving in the Catholic Diocese, however. He spent 18 years coaching in public schools the state over and seven in parochial.

“I came here because I’m accustomed to small towns like Eunice, Franklin and Plaquemine,” Creamer said.  “And also to continue to serve in the Catholic Diocese and minister to young people through sports and activities.

“In a small school, few people wear many hats, and we want everybody to buy into our philosophy to get St. John back on to a higher level in all sports.”

Creamer is taking over for former AD Chris Harrell who transferred to St. Michael in May.