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"Off-season" brings coaching changes at STA, Holy Ghost, SLU

Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 | Views: 3515

"Off-season" brings coaching changes at STA, Holy Ghost, SLU

The “off-season” is rarely quiet in local sports, and a number of local teams have been making big moves this spring to help them gear up for their fall competitive season.

From the elementary/middle school level to the secondary and post-secondary programs, several local athletic teams have spent their off-season building their talent roster with new leadership for the 2019-2020 coaching class.

Among the latest coaching changes in our area are:

St. Thomas Starlettes
St. Thomas Aquinas Regional Catholic High School Alumna Lauren Daniel has accepted the position of Head Coach of the STA Starlettes Dance Team. Daniel, a 2014 graduate of STA, was a four-year member of the Starlettes and captain of the team her senior year.

Daniel continued her dance career as a member of the LSU Golden Girls from 2014-2018. She was captain of the team from 2016-2018. She graduated from LSU in 2018 with a degree in Communication Disorders. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Speech Language Pathology at SLU.

She has been the head coach of the Holy Ghost Catholic School Sparklers from 2015-2019. She is also an instructor at Lemoine Academy of Dance in Hammond and a staff member of the Universal Dance Association.

Daniel said “I am both honored and excited to embark on this new journey as the head coach of the STA Starlettes. I look forward to the opportunity to share my passion and love of dance with this team, while maximizing expectations and results.”

St. Thomas Cheerleaders
Laureen DiGiovanni has accepted the position as the new head coach of the STA Cheerleaders. DiGiovanni is a native of Louisiana graduating from Southeastern Louisiana University in 2004. Laureen has been a coach for 18 years with various schools throughout Tangipahoa Parish, and most recently lending her talents to Holy Ghost Catholic School as the cheer head coach. In just four short years, she led her team to two National Championships and a World Championship.

“I’m eager to start working with these young ladies and continue to build on the success they had this year as National Champions.” DiGiovanni said. “St. Thomas Aquinas has a reputation as an excellent cheer team and I am blessed to be a part of it. After their performances in Orlando, this team has put St. Thomas Aquinas on the map. I’m excited for what the future holds for both me and this program.”

DiGiovanni and her husband Joseph, are owners of The Gym in Independence and have three children.

Holy Ghost Catholic School Sparklers
Emily Owens has been named the new head coach of the Holy Ghost Sparklers. A 2012 graduate of Holy Ghost and a 2016 graduate of STA, Owens was a member of the STA Starlette dance team and served as a captain during her senior year. She then continued to dance for the Ole Miss Rebelettes and served as captain her senior year. Owens will be attending LSU in the fall pursuing her degrees in Political Science with a concentration in Public Policy and Public Relations. She is also a staff member of the Universal Dance Association.

SLU Volleyball
After six seasons as an assistant coach at Louisiana Tech, Gabryel Ording has joined head coach Jeremy White’s volleyball staff at Southeastern Louisiana.

Ording will serve as the program’s recruiting coordinator, in addition to coaching duties on both the indoor and beach courts.

“Gabby is a good person and a great fit for our student-athletes, owing to her ability to both compliment and drive home the same message I’m after,” White said. “She has a ton of experience at the Division I level, brought a lot of good athletes to Louisiana Tech and looks for the right attributes in the players we’re recruiting.”

During her time at Louisiana Tech, Ording helped manufacture a revival of the Lady Techster volleyball program serving as both an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.

After joining the program in 2013, she helped Louisiana Tech improve its win totals in five of the next six seasons. In 2015, Ording helped guide Louisiana Tech to more conference wins than the program had in the previous four seasons combined.

Improvement came not just on the court, but also in the classroom. Following the 2015 season, five Lady Techsters were named to the Conference USA Commissioners Academic Honor Roll and one, Jacie McClure, was selected to the 2015 Conference USA All-Academic Team.

“She provides a lot of balance,” White said. “Having been a Division I volleyball athlete, as well as six years of experience coaching in a tough conference, Gabby brings a different perspective. She is a phenomenal communicator, both with me and our student-athletes, and brings a calm on-court demeanor.

A four-year volleyball letterwinner at Louisiana Tech, Ording also served as the program's SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee) representative.

Ording earned her bachelor's degree from Louisiana Tech in kinesiology in November 2012 and a master's degree in Exercise Science with an emphasis in Sports Performance in 2015.

SLU Football
Joe Scelfo, a former standout offensive lineman at North Carolina State and South Alabama, has joined the Southeastern Louisiana football staff, SLU head coach Frank Scelfo announced.

Scelfo’s hire is pending approval of the University of Louisiana System’s Board of Supervisors. The Bogart, Georgia native will work with the team’s guards and centers.

Scelfo got his start in the collegiate coaching ranks at NC State, where he was an offensive graduate assistant for the 2018 season. Scelfo was the Wolfpack’s starting center in his lone season in Raleigh, as he started all 13 games, led the team with 51 knockdown blocks and was tabbed the team’s Most Valuable Offensive Lineman.

Scelfo began his collegiate playing career at South Alabama, where he earned first team All-Sun Belt Conference honors in 2015. All told, he started all 49 games he played in during his collegiate career. He earned his bachelor’s degree from South Alabama in 2016.

He was the nation’s No. 12-ranked center by coming out of North Oconee High School, where he was a first-team all-state performer and the school’s all-time leader in pancake blocks. His father, Chris, is a former head coach at Tulane with more than three decades of collegiate and professional coaching experience and is currently the offensive line coach and run-game coordinator for the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football.

“Joe was born and raised into this profession, so what he lacks in coaching experience he makes up for that he’s been around the game at every level his whole life,” Frank Scelfo commented. “We’re excited to add someone with Joe’s energy to our staff and the knowledge he can pass on to our guards and centers, having played the positions at a high level, will be valuable.”

Southeastern Football will also welcome Kerry Joseph, one of the most accomplished players in the history of the Southland Conference, who has joined the Southeastern Louisiana football coaching staff, Scelfo announced.

Joseph is currently the interim running backs coach and passing game coordinator. His hire will be pending the approval of the University of Louisiana System’s Board of Supervisors.

Joseph opened his coaching career at his alma mater, McNeese, where he spent the past three seasons as co-offensive coordinator. In 2016 and 2017, his duties included working with the team’s wide receivers, while he coached quarterbacks in 2018. He also served training camp internships with the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Joseph, a native of New Iberia, Louisiana, joined the coaching ranks after a near two-decade professional career that saw him play in the NFL, CFL, NFL Europe and World League.

He spent the majority of his NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks, playing in 56 games at safety from 1998-01. He made 14 starts in Seattle and intercepted three passes during the 2009 season.

His highest point as a pro came during the 2007 season as a member of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. Joseph, the CFL’s Outstanding Player that season, helped the Roughriders to their third Grey Cup in school history.

As a quarterback at McNeese from 1992-95, Joseph led the Cowboys to 41 wins and three Southland Conference titles as a starter. During his time under center, McNeese won its first playoff game in school history (1992) and advanced to the national semifinals for the first time in 1995.

The Southland Conference and Louisiana Player of the Year as a senior, Joseph helped that 1995 Cowboy squad to a 13-1 record, as McNeese spent the majority of the season ranked No. 1 nationally. A 2012 Southland Conference Hall of Honor inductee and a member of the McNeese Sports Hall of Fame, Joseph threw for 7,874 yards and a school record 67 touchdown passes during his four years in Lake Charles.

“We’re fortunate to add one of the greatest Southland Conference players of all time to our staff,” Scelfo commented. “His extensive experience as a player and coach in this league will allow him to be a valuable mentor to our student-athletes. We want to build our program with Louisiana players and coaches first, so to add another native of our state to the family is an added bonus.”

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