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|Rebels hunt roundball coach|
The search for a new leader of the boy's basketball program at West Monroe High School is set to begin next week after it was announced several weeks ago that Rickie Branch will not return as the head coach of the program.
West Monroe athletic director Don Shows said a search committee has been formed and the process will follow the guidelines set by the Ouachita Parish school system's hiring criteria.
"Of course we are going to follow the policy set forth by the school board," Shows said. "After spring break we will advertise for the job and also start accepting resumes and applications.
"We have a three-person committee that is going to evaluate all the prospective applicants and pick out the ones that are the most appealing to us and set up some one-on-one interviews."
Much like his nationally-renowned football program, Shows said he wants a coach who can develop a solid basketball program at West Monroe.
"What we are looking for is someone that can come in here and do a great job of coaching basketball," Shows said. "We want someone who has a good knowledge of the game that is also a good disciplinarian. We are looking for a coach that can develop a year-round basketball program that involves the kids lifting (weights) and learning the fundamentals of basketball.
Saying that we would also like our coach to encourage our kids to be involved in as many sports as possible as well. Every year we get a lot of kids from basketball for example that help us out tremendously in track. We are basically looking for someone that can fit in with the other programs that we have at our school."
One of the ways the Rebels athletic director believes that can happen is by promoting and building the program at the feeder junior high and elementary schools.
"We want someone that can go out and promote basketball in the community,î Shows said. "We want our new coach to go out and sell the program at the junior high and elementary school levels and organize it from that level all the way up through the high school level.
"Of course we want to build a good and solid team every year, but right now we are looking to build a program. Coach Branch did an outstanding job. We just wanted to change the direction that we were going in basketball and try to enhance it to some degree. Hopefully our new coach is going to be able to come in here and do that.î
Contrary to public belief and rumors, Shows was adamant that no one has been contacted yet regarding the job.
"No one has been contacted," Shows said. "I have not talked to a single coach and I have not called a coach. When the news first broke I have had a couple of coaches call me to inquire about it and all I have told them is that it would begin (the search process) after the spring break."