Once the softball coach at Captain Shreve, then the softball coach at Centenary College, and now the coach at C.E. Byrd, Mark Lambert is enjoying the transition from college athletics back to the high school level.
“It’s not difficult at all, because my coaching philosophy is the same regardless of the level I’m coaching,” Lambert said recently. “The biggest difference is not having to spend time on the recruiting trail.”
That’s especially significant for Lambert, who has three children attending LSU at various stages, and he plans on seeing most of the LSU home games so he can visit with the brood.
Byrd principal Jerry Badgley was glad to get a coach in place about the time school started.
“We’re happy that it worked out as quickly as it did,” Badgley said. “I think he’ll make a strong impact and we’re glad to have him.”
Byrd held a workday on Saturday and Lambert liked what he saw out of the effort of both parents and athletes.
“I’ve been over there about two weeks and I’m pretty excited,” Lambert said. “We had great support at the workday and it looks like the girls are really working hard. I’ve been impressed so far.”
Junior third baseman Tia Timerding said her new coach has hit the ground running on Line Avenue.
“So far, so good,” Timerding said Saturday. “Coach Lambert didn’t waste any time getting things going and has us conditioning five days a week. We believe his college coaching experience will be good for us. All the girls like him.”
During his six years as the head coach at Shreve, Lambert directed his Lady Gators to four playoff spots, while competing in heated battles with the Lady Jackets for supremacy in District 1-5A. After a year as an assistant to Mark Montgomery at Centenary, Lambert took over the Ladies program as it was transitioning from Division I to Division III athletics. His teams were 18-102 there.
“I’m still at Centenary and I’ll help them through the fall until they hire a new coach,” Lambert said. “In a few weeks, I’ll be teaching at Byrd.”
The Lady Jackets finished 16-10 overall and 8-4 in District 1-5A last spring under former coach Emerald Doria, advancing to the LHSAA state playoffs three times under Doria. Byrd lost in the first round in 2011 and in 2013, while advancing to the second round in 2012 after defeating Carencro 3-2 in the opening salvo.
Lambert inherits four returning Times All-City players in Shelby Spruiell (.456), Tara Schuler (.452), pitcher Sarah Long and Timerding.