(The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)
Stroud discusses plans for MCHS football program
New Morgan City High School football coach Chris Stroud had considering leaving coaching for a year after helping lead Hahnville High School to a Class 5A runner-up finish a year ago as the team’s defensive coordinator.
Stroud, a St. Mary Parish resident who had moved back to the area last August due to family reasons, commuted daily to the St. Charles Parish school during the last year.
“It (commuting) was just a chore, so I was leaning towards getting out for one year to catch my breath, figure out what I was going to do,” he said.
However, an opportunity at Morgan City High School arose when head football coach and athletic director Ferrante Dominique resigned his post in June, just months after taking the position in January. Dominique replaced Eric Howard, who led the Tigers for one season.
With the help of a friend, Franklin High Principal Ty Burdette, Stroud is back leading Morgan City High School as its head football coach and athletic director after directing Morgan City High School from 2001-2004 as head coach.
Stroud said it is “God’s plan” that he is back at Morgan City, because he never would have dreamed he would have returned.
“But here I am, and ready to go,” he said.
In his second stint, Stroud will have a lot to get done in a short period as he will take over the program roughly two months before week 1 of the high school football season.
He said Thursday morning his to-do list would start with a meeting he held later that evening with players and parents.
“I’ve seen a handful of players in the weight room, but to be honest, they haven’t been showing up, and I understanding why,” Stroud said. “There’s been some change and chaos, so I’m here to solve that problem for them.”
Now that there will be a new head coach in charge, the players need to come back to the weight room and practice, Stroud said.
Stroud said he already has met with some of the Tigers’ assistant coaches and will have to put a staff in place.
Another step will be to “change the culture in the community,” he said.
“I’m going out, again, hoping the community welcomes me back, meeting the community again, but changing the culture and having a culture of excellence,” Stroud said.
He said three areas of importance for him are the classroom, the weight room and the locker room.
One of Stroud’s former players, ex-NFL wide receiver Brandon Stokley, is being inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Saturday.
Stokley learned that Stroud got the job when calling to thank Stroud for helping shape his career during Stroud’s time as an assistant at Comeaux High School.
Stokley said he wouldn’t have had the success he had without Stroud’s help.
“He was a guy that stayed on me,” Stokley said Thursday. “I wasn’t playing football, and he stayed on me about coming out to play.”
Stokley went on to play college football and eventually in the NFL.
“I think that’s a great hire, and I’m excited for him and his opportunity,” Stokley said of Stroud’s new position.
At Morgan City, Stroud will have additional practice time this fall as Dominique elected to forgo the Tigers’ spring practice and instead use that extra time in the fall.
From his limited talks with the coaches thus far, Stroud said he has heard the Tigers have been down offensively and have had offensive line issues.
“We’ve got to find some linemen,” he said. “We’ve got to get good in the trenches, and that’s the tough part.”
Stroud said once he sees the personnel he has, then he can make a decision on the type of offense Morgan City will run. He noted at Destrehan, a spread offense was used, while at Hahnville, the school utilized power football.
On defense, Stroud said he likes to run a 50-defense, but he said the last few years he has run a 3-3 stack look.
“We’re probably going to start teaching out of the 3-3, but when we’ve got to stop the run, we’ll probably morph down into the 50 a lot,” he said.
Asked how as athletic director he would help stabilize the department, which has had coaching turnover annually, Stroud noted that during his last tenure, he thought Morgan City had a good athletic department.
“Now part of that is we had some great coaches in place. … All of these sports, you need good people in place to get them running, but you also need community support,” he said.
Stroud said they had “great” community support, something he plans on drawing on.
“I think that from everything I’m hearing, the community is hungry for athletic success,” he said. “They want that, and they’re talking about problems that Morgan City hasn’t been focusing on athletics enough. To me, that’s music to my ears, because now you’ve got a community that’s hungry for athletics, and they want success, they want excellence, they want to win, they want championships, and that’s what you want to hear as a coach.”