Busby settles in as Trojans’ new head coach

Published 11:41 am Tuesday, July 26, 2011

TALLULAH — Before his first practice as Tallulah Academy’s football coach even began, Chris Busby had to deal with a crisis.

An errant football hit a sprinkler valve, causing a torrent of water that created a small pit and threatened to erode a bigger chunk of the practice field. It took about 30 minutes to get the valve shut off and call a plumber, one of the many minor headaches a coach has to deal with.

On some level, it also brought a smile to Busby’s face.

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Busby began his first season as a head football coach with Monday’s start of two-a-day practices. He took over at Tallulah in April after spending most of the previous decade as an assistant in a half-dozen sports at Porters Chapel Academy and St. Aloysius.

“Being an athletic director, football coach, baseball coach, it’s never ending. But I love it,” said Busby, who is also Tallulah’s athletic director and baseball coach. He served as an assistant football coach and head baseball coach last year.

Busby’s job at Tallulah will not be an easy one. The Trojans went 4-7 last season under Nick Evans, who was their fifth coach in five years. Seventeen players have returned, but the revolving door at coach has forced them to learn a new system every summer.

Busby worked with some of his current players during baseball season and said the familiarity will help ease the latest transition.

“Getting to know the kids and having a relationship with them, they know I’m not leaving like coaches in the past. I told them you might tick me off, but you won’t run me off,” Busby said. “That is one of the main things is getting that stability back and a work ethic of don’t quit. No matter how long it takes, finish what you started.”

Another familiar face at Tallulah is Busby’s lone assistant, Gerald Mims. Busby coached Mims — and for his father, Bubba Mims — at Porters Chapel. The younger Mims will be Tallulah’s defensive coordinator and also coaches the school’s track team.

“At heart, I always wanted to coach. It makes me proud to follow in Bubba’s footsteps. I think I’m doing a positive thing for me and these boys,” Gerald Mims said.

As they huddled up at the end of Monday morning’s second practice, many players seemed at ease with their new leader. Some cracked jokes and others asked semi-serious questions — all with respect, but also a comfort level that suggested a strong bond.

“We’re just trying to stay loose and get your head on straight. I’m looking forward to playing for Busby,” sophomore tight end Wade Grady said.

Tallulah opens the season Aug. 19 at Park Place Christian. It hits the field for the first time on Aug. 5 with a preseason scrimmage at Porters Chapel.

In the next three weeks Busby will have to put his stamp on the Trojans. There’s a new offensive and defensive scheme to install, and strengths and weaknesses need to be determined. There’s also a flood of distractions ahead — not just from broken sprinklers, but also pictures and pep rallies.

All of it will be a new challenge for Busby, but it’s one he’s eager to tackle.

“This is a little different. High school football, especially in Louisiana, can be stressful, exciting, humbling and rewarding,” Busby said.