Jeptha Wall, Kyron Benoit to join Crowley coaching staff
CROWLEY – Josh Fontenot has had some huge decisions to make since taking over as head football coach at Crowley High just over a month ago.
From whether or not to make changes in offensive and defensive schemes to filling voids on the coaching staff, it has been one decision after another for the Gents’ new head coach.
His latest task: filling the voids on the staff left by the departures of former head coach Tommy Tate and wide receivers coach Wes Jacob. Tate resigned in December and Jacob was notified that he will not be a member of Fontenot’s staff.
In their places, Fontenot has hired Church Point defensive coach Jeptha Wall and former Crowley High quarterback and UL-Lafayette linebacker Kyron Benoit. Benoit was the quarterback on the Gents’ 2006 team that posted only the second 10-0 regular-season record in school history.
Both will work on the defensive side of the ball: Wall will assume the duties of defensive coordinator and Benoit will work under him.
“Jeptha will be our defensive coordinator and our head track coach,” said Fontenot. “He was at the top of my list. Over the years, we’ve gotten to know each other real well and he has the same kind of approach to dealing with athletes as I do.
“We sat and talked and met with the other coaches and I thought that he would be a good fit with us.”
With the addition of Wall also comes a change in defense. Rather than stick with the 4-2-5 that the Gents ran in 2011, CHS will now run out of a 3-4 set.
“The second thing that sold me (on him) is the type of defense that they run in Church Point,” said Fontenot. “As an offensive staff, when we see that (3-4), it gives us the most trouble; it’s can be a very tough defense to go against.
“And, I think that type of defense fits the personnel that we have here at Crowley High. We’re more capable of running that three-down linemen front than we are with a four-down linemen front.
“When you run a four-man front defense, you really need six defensive lineman to really do it well. We have a hard enough time finding three big, good defensive linemen. But we do have the outside linebacker/defensive end type of kids that the 3-4 kind of asks for.”
Wall brings a wealth of experience on defense with him. The Egan native spent the first six years of his coaching career at Church Point, four as the defensive coordinator, before heading to Iota where he was the DC for two years and head coach for two more. After his stint at Iota, Wall spent the last five years as a defensive coach back at Church Point.
“I’m excited about it,” said Wall of joining the CHS staff. “It was a tough decision to make to leave Church Point. I have a lot of roots here now with knowing a lot of people in the community and the booster club....and the kids themselves.
“It’s always hard leaving the kids because you just spend so much time with them and you become closer to them. The coaches, the administration, everyone has been so good to me over here. “
But the opportunity at CHS was one he could not pass up, he said.
“I’ve always been interested in going there (Crowley) and now this opportunity is even grander because I have the chance to become a defensive coordinator again.”
For Benoit, the opportunity to coach at his alma mater was also one that the former standout quarterback could not let go by.
“I’m real excited about this opportunity,” said Benoit, who volunteered as a coach at Crowley Middle School this past year. “I just want to help the kids because some of them are so misguided right now. Being that I’ve been in their shoes not that long ago, maybe I can be that one to kind of bring them back to where they need to be because I was in that same place a few years ago.”
Benoit was a four-year starter for the Gents and won the prestigious Gardiner Memorial Award following his senior year. He was a member of the Gents’ 2006 team that went undefeated and advanced to the second round of the Class 3A playoffs before falling to Catholic High of New Iberia in a 4-overtime thriller.
From there, Benoit signed with UL-Lafayette where he switched to the defensive side of the ball and logged significant time at linebacker before suffering a career-ending injury last year. He is set to graduate in the fall.
“To be honest, when I was there (CHS) at quarterback, I didn’t have a full knowledge of the game,” said Benoit. “But after going to college and learning to play the linebacker position, you pretty much have to know what everybody is doing in order to call the defense correctly.
“So I have a better concept of the game and understand the game a lot better now to take control of a defensive- minded style of play.”
Bringing in Benoit, someone who is not that far removed from the CHS program, is a plus for Fontenot.
“I’m as excited about Kyron as much as I am about Jeptha,” said Fontenot. “When you mention the name Kyron Benoit at this school and amongst the teachers and the faculty and the community, people light up. We’re not even paying him yet and he’s been here at workouts every day since I approached him.
“It’s great for our players because they know who he is. He’s a great leader, he was a great player and he was on the last 10-0 district championship team so he knows what Crowley High can be.
“He’s been through a successful program here at Crowley High and he’s been through a very successful turnaround in college at UL. He’s very well respected amongst our players, our faculty and our community so to me, he was a must have. As soon as I got an opportunity to get a hold of him and ask him if he’d be interested, I jumped on it. I didn’t want him to go anywhere.”
Jacob ponders future
Former Crowley High coach Wes Jacob says he is considering other offers after being informed he will not be retained by new CHS head coach Josh Fontenot.
Jacob taught and coached at Crowley High for four years before he was moved to the Acadia Parish Alternative School, where he remains today.
“I am still at the Alternative School so I am not going anywhere,” said Jacob. “I have received a few coaching offers, but right now I’m just going to take some time and think about what I want to do.”
During his tenure on the CHS staff, Jacob served as Gents’ wide receiver’s coach and he also served as head track coach.
After taking over the track program, Jacob led the Gents to two district titles, two regional runnerup spots and a fourth-place showing at the state meet two years ago.
Last year, his squad finished seventh at the state meet.
“I have enjoyed my time here,” said Jacob. “I still love Crowley High.”
Jacob was a four-year letter winner and three-year starter at LSU, where he recorded 38 receptions for 511 yards and two touchdowns during a senior year in which he was named the Tigers’ offensive MVP.
Void in Church Point
With Wall leaving Church Point, the Bears are left with a void on the defensive side of the ball.
“That leaves some big shoes for us to try to fill,” said Church Point coach John Craig Arceneaux. “Jeptha has been a big part of our success here. He’s a big part of what we’re trying to build. It will be hard to replace him. He’s a quality coach with a vast amount of knowledge and he’s going to do a great job over there at Crowley as the defensive coordinator.”
Wall’s slot is the only void on Arceneaux’s staff and the CPHS coach has already begun the process to fill it.
“We’re trying to find somebody and I’ve interviewed about three or four different people already,” said Arceneaux. “With it being so early in the year, we’re going to try and find the right guy. We’re not just going to jump on the first thing that comes around.”
Although the school board would like Arceneaux to get the slot filled as soon as possible, there is no timetable for him to make a hire.
“They want it filled, but they also told me to make sure we get somebody we want.”