Minton to leave Patterson
Tommy Minton, currently St. Mary Parish’s longest tenured high school head football coach, announced Friday afternoon he will retire from the St. Mary Parish School system March 1 with an eye toward a football coaching job in the private school system.
Minton, who has coached the Lumberjacks for the past 16 years, beginning in 1998, has compiled a 138-51 record during his time in Patterson. He said that he has a couple of options right now but “no done deals” and he isn’t in a rush.
Wherever he ends up, Minton said he wants be a head football coach.
“I just feel it’s the best thing for my family,” said Minton, who has 25 years in the public schools system. “I need to be there for them more; this is strictly a personal decision.”
He said he will step down as head football coach and athletic director at the end of February.
During his tenure at Patterson High School, Minton has made the playoffs in 14 of his 16 years, including the last 12. His teams finished as Class 3A state runners-up in 2002 and 2010.
This past fall, his team finished with a 10-3 mark and advanced to the Class 3A quarterfinals where it fell to Jennings High School.
Patterson Principal Rachael Credeur said Minton kept her informed throughout the process.
“I understand the need to do things for one’s family,” Credeur said. “I’m saddened by it, but I wish him the best in all of his future endeavors.”
Credeur said advertising for a new coach will begin as soon as possible.
“We would like to have a qualified coach in place by the spring so we can keep the program in a solid position,” Credeur said.
Whoever the next Patterson coach is, they will have some talent to work with, including offensive playmakers, wide receivers Daylon Charlot and Mykel Jones. Both are receiving national recruiting attention. Charlot will be a senior this fall, while Jones will be a junior.
Minton, who informed his players and coaches of his decision Friday, said it was emotional when he informed his colleagues and players.
“It’s one of those things that it hadn’t really been talked about so it caught the coaches and players by surprise … When you put 16 years into a place, you build a lot of great relationships and to me, those everyday relationships are the things that are going to be missed the most,” he said.
Minton said he decided now was the right time to step down because it will, ideally, enable next year’s Patterson football team to know who their coach will be by the time Minton leaves and the current coaching staff to plan for themselves.
With his departure, Minton will be leaving a program that he has brought stability to since he was hired.
Stability was something he said early in his first year that he hoped to bring for a program that had gone through a coach a year for about five years.
“There’s an enormous amount of talent at Patterson High School,” he said at the time. “It’s a place, I think with some stability can win year-in and year-out.”
During his time at Patterson, he suffered just one losing season, a 4-6 mark in 1999 after the squad had moved from Class 2A to 3A that season.
The four wins that year were the fewest he had earned during his tenure at the school. He won the most games during his Patterson tenure in 2010 when his team notched 12 on the way to the Class 3A title game.
Now, at the end of his tenure, he said, “I think we’re leaving the program on real solid ground. We created a program that has high expectations now. Those expectations weren’t there 16 years ago. … I think there’s a good talent base there. I think there’s a lot of coaches there that take pride in what they do and will continue to do that.”
Minton has had several players move on to the collegiate level, including a record six who signed in 2012.
Among his former players currently in college are LSU’s Kenny Hilliard and Lorenzo Phillips and Houston standout Trevon Stewart.
Others, including Tank Calais, C.L. Grogan and Paul Cox advanced past the collegiate level to professional football ranks. Grogan has been a member of Minton’s coaching staff in recent years.
Another former player, Blair Irvin, played pro baseball before turning to the gridiron at Kansas State.