St. Mary’s coach Charlie Cryer said he couldn’t have asked for a more enjoyable time in Natchitoches, but now that time has come to an end.
Cryer accepted the head coaching position at Class 3A St. Louis Catholic in Lake Charles after five seasons at St. Mary’s.
“I love St. Mary’s; it’s been good to me and I hate to leave,” Cryer said. “But I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to return to South Louisiana and coach a Class 3A school.
“It was just a good time for me,” Cryer said. “I have a daughter (Kacie Cryer) in Lake Charles that’s an assistant basketball coach at McNeese, and my son is getting married there this weekend, too.”
Cryer went 43-16 in five seasons at St. Mary’s, reaching the playoffs each season.
The Class 1A (Division IV) Tigers had their best playoff run under Cryer this season when they reached the quarterfinals, losing to one of Cryer’s former teams in Vermilion Catholic, where Cryer won a state title in 2003.
Cryer’s 2011 team had an undefeated regular season and a No. 1 seed before losing in the second round after a rash of injuries.
“I’d never done that before (go undefeated) … and I have so many good memories here,” Cryer said. “These kids are special because I’ve known most of them since the sixth and seventh grade, and it’s hard to leave because of all the support.
“I grew up in Shreveport, but I’ve also spent a lot of time in South Louisiana. St. Louis has 106 kids on the roster for next season, and St. Mary’s has a total of 119 girls and boys in the entire school.”
St. Louis finished 3-8 this past season and lost to eventual Division II runner up University Lab in the first round.