By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports
The good news for John Anthony Anglin was that he had finally realized a dream in becoming a head basketball coach at the collegiate level.
The bad news was that he couldn’t do anything about it.
It was March, 2020, and the Bossier Parish Community College men’s basketball team had just lost its coach. Now, think back to the world – not just the basketball world – in March, 2020. Covid-19 had arrived, though most people still called it the coronavirus, as society called it quits for a while.
Anglin, who was the director of basketball operations at the University of New Orleans, was hired as the new BPCC coach. Kind of.
He knew he had to get out and start recruiting. Sort of.
First, he made sure an adjective in his title didn’t slow him down. He was named as the “interim” head coach, which implies that you’ve got the job … at least for now.
And the previous coach wasn’t the only person who left the BPCC program. Anglin basically had to sign an entire new team. Because of the pandemic, he was unable to recruit, so “I brought in 15 new guys from my office couch, on the phone,” he said.
Less than two years later, things have changed quite a bit. First, and most important, the interim tag was dropped before this season began. Anglin has certainly justified that move as the Cavaliers are headed into the final two weeks of the season with a 14-10 record.
Next up will be a Wednesday home game against Trinity Valley and then a huge rematch against Kilgore on Feb. 23. BPCC already has a road win over Kilgore, one of the top junior college teams in the country, on Jan. 29.
“I love being a head coach,” Anglin said. “We are taking the next step this year. We are progressing and moving in the right direction. We just got to keep going and keep fighting. I never thought that when I got a head coaching job I would be fighting all of these things, but it’s been a positive experience.”
In addition to the other obstacles, Anglin and his team had to deal with the death of one of the Cavs’ best players in a car accident just before the season started.
Anglin graduated from Loyola College Prep in 2005, played two years at Northwestern State and then finished his career at LSUS. After finishing his playing career, he has worked under coaches such as Tim Floyd (Texas-El Paso) and Keith Richard (Louisiana-Monroe).
Mike McConathy, his coach at Northwestern State, isn’t surprised Anglin has made his way up the coaching ladder.
“When he was a player, he was always locked in to what was going on,” McConathy said. “He was always prepared and had great work ethic. To me, if you are going to be a great coach, you need to produce the same work ethic that you want out of your players. He has always possessed that.”
That work ethic showed in Anglin having to completely re-make the BPCC roster.
“I got the job in March but didn’t get the chance to actually coach until September (because of Covid),” he said. “That was a little bit of a challenge and didn’t get a chance to meet them face-to-face for a while. And in the first year we only played conference games and finished sixth. That’s not great but it’s still a pretty good accomplishment considering everything.”
“I’ve watched him at practice and he seems to have good rapport with the kids,” said McConathy, who was BPCC’s first coach from 1983-99. “Junior college coaching is a grind. You’ve got kids who are trying to get another shot, and it’s very rewarding experience. From my conversations with him, he’s got a great grasp of what he is trying to do.”
Photo by LEE HILLER