Just when Craig LaBorde thought every window of opportunity for him to coach in the Pensacola area had closed, a door opened.
After finishing as a runner-up in the Tate High and Escambia High openings, LaBorde decided to move forward and accepted a position at Baton Rouge (La.) Redemptorist High.
That’s when former Washington High coach Michael Smith turned in his sudden resignation.
At the time, LaBorde was fully committed to Redemptorist, but he was also fully committed to making his family happy.
Knowing that living in Pensacola would ultimately be better for his family, he decided to give it one more shot by applying for the vacant Washington position.
On Thursday, his hire became official as LaBorde was named the new head football coach for the Washington Wildcats. He plans to arrive over the weekend to start his new job Monday.
“It’s hard to express how excited I am right now,” LaBorde said. “It’s unbelievable. Not only am I able to get back to this area, but after meeting with (Washington principal) Dr. (Michael) Roberts and (athletic director) Troy Faucheaux, I can’t imagine a better fit.
“I feel like somebody was looking out for me.”
LaBorde’s wife has family in the Pensacola area, which was the initial reason for LaBorde’s desire to find a job in Escambia or Santa Rosa County.
After he went 0-for-2 in the Escambia and Tate job searches, LaBorde decided to head back to Louisiana, where he has coached for the last five years.
“I had beat the bushes, talked to a bunch of different schools,” LaBorde said. “Nobody could commit to a teaching spot in the fall. I told my wife I really wanted to be here.
“I had reached the end (when the Redemptorist job happened), and it was tough leaving Redemptorist. I had made the commitment there. But this is where we wanted to be. This is where we want to raise our son.”
Because of his late arrival, LaBorde doesn’t plan to make wholesale changes with the Washington football team. The Wildcats will continue to run the spread on offense, and have multiple fronts on defense.
“I want to be balanced,” LaBorde said. “I like to run the spread offense out of the pistol formation because it allows for the downhill running game. It opens the field, but it also allows you to introduce some option into the mix, as well as the short passing game.
“Defensively, we’re going to run multiple fronts. We’ll have the ability to match up against the spread, but we’ll also be able to load the box against the teams in the power-I and split-back veer. The big thing is we want to be physical. I’m not a read-and-react guy. If they make a mistake, they need to make it at 100 miles an hour. I’d rather be caught off guard because I was over aggressive than to be pushed off the ball.”