Bourgeois walks away from EA

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
East Ascension went 31-25 with three playoff wins during Paul Bourgeois' five-year tenure. Photo by DKMoon Photography.

Paul Bourgeois enjoyed the five years he spent as East Ascension's head football coach, but he felt it was time for him to go.

Less than a week after the Spartans were eliminated by ninth-seeded John Ehret in the first round of the playoffs, Bourgeois surprised the school and his team by announcing that he was resigning.

The decision wasn't just about wins and losses for Bourgeois. He felt it was high time that he addressed some health concerns that have plagued him over the years.

"I just thought that we had reached a lot of the goals we had set as a program when I got to the school," Bourgeois said. "I also felt it was time to take a step back because of some health issues. I'm a diabetic, and having your numbers increase and coaching at the same time, it's not a good combination. I just felt this was the best time to step down."

Bourgeois amassed a 31-25 overall record during his five-year tenure with the Spartans. When he arrived from Sulphur, East Ascension was coming off of two straight 4-6 seasons and a crushing 45-17 defeat to archrival St. Amant.

The Spartans instantly improved upon his arrival. They went 7-3 in his first season and reached the second round of the playoffs.

Overall, East Ascension made the postseason in all but one year under Bourgeois. They also won three playoff games.

His best season came in 2013 when the Spartans finished the regular season 8-2, earned a No. 3 seeding and reached the regional round.

"When I got there, the program was on the down side. I felt that when we made it to the second round of the playoffs that first year that it gave the kids the opportunity to believe," Bourgeois said. "It gave them confidence that they had the ability to compete. We were able to finally beat Dutchtown after a long string of defeats. We had a winning record against St. Amant."

The Spartans had tremendous success against the rival Gators with Bourgeois at the helm. In his five years, they went 3-2. Bourgeois' only regret is that they weren't able to earn more victories against the Griffins--who they went just 1-4 against.

"I wish we could have had the same kind of success against Dutchtown," Bourgeois said. "They have a great athletic program with so many great athletes. They've sent so many players to college and the pros. It was a challenge to coach against both programs. You have to put in a lot of extra time to prepare."

He certainly enjoyed his time in Ascension. Bourgeois said that the parish's rivalries were some of the best he has had the pleasure of being a part of in his 27 years of coaching.

"I've been blessed to have been able to coach all over the state and in places that had great rivalries. I really thought these rivalries here in Ascension were the greatest in the state," Bourgeois said. "It was a lot of fun to coach here. It was a great experience, and whomever takes my place will have a lot of fun as well."

As he walks away from East Ascension, Bourgeois is uncertain about his immediate future.

He said that for now, he would like to take some time off from coaching and get healthy. When he's in a better place physically, he would like to get back to patrolling the sidelines.