Loyola names Leaven new girls basketball coach

JOURNAL STAFF

Loyola College Prep has named Jaila Leaven as its next head girls basketball coach.

Leaven will be the first female head basketball coach in the school’s history and mark the first time in 13 seasons Kyle Tanner will not be leading the girls program at Loyola. Tanner, who has led the program the past 12 years after spending the previous nine seasons as an assistant, is stepping down from his role as the Lady Flyers head basketball coach.

“It’s a great feeling to be the first female basketball coach at Loyola,” said Leaven. “We need more women to take the leadership roles to show young girls that they can do it too. There is a long history of great coaches here at Loyola, especially in basketball and I am grateful to be among them.”

Leaven joined Loyola as a physical education teacher and assistant basketball coach in 2020.

Prior to joining Loyola, Leaven was a student basketball coach at East Texas Baptist University and has coached basketball for Thrive 360, a nonprofit organization that helps at-risk teens. She also played college basketball at LeTourneau University.

With a record of 241-150 as head coach, Tanner is by far the winningest coach in school history for girls basketball. He led Loyola to the 2011-12 Class 2A state championship. Leaven said she is grateful for the opportunity to learn from Tanner during her time at Loyola.

Coach Tanner has definitely left some big shoes to fill, which I don’t have a problem doing the work to fill them,” she said. “He is such a selfless person that always puts the team’s needs first no matter what. I am blessed to have in my life on the court and off.”

While Tanners is retiring as a coach, he will continue teaching speech and media arts at Loyola.

“I am grateful for Kyle and the many years he has given to the girls basketball program at Loyola,” John LeBlanc, principal at Loyola, said. “I know Jaila will take what she has learned under Kyle’s leadership and continue to improve on it and make it her own. We are looking forward to a great season next year, and I am excited about what she and the girls are going to achieve.”


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