Last year, David George returned to his alma mater, Parkway High School, as an assistant baseball coach.
When Rick Bryant stepped down following the 2016 season, he was named interim head coach. The interim tag no longer applies.
George, 54, is the new head coach of the Panthers, according to Bryant, who resigned to focus on his duties as athletic director and to pursue a masters degree.
George played baseball at Parkway and graduated in 1980.
“It really is pretty cool to get my dream job,” he said in an email message. “Everyone in my family graduated from Parkway so it really feels like a homecoming for me.”
Parkway has struggled in recent years. The Panthers haven’t made the playoffs or had a winning season since moving from Class 4A to 5A in 2012. Parkway’s best record during that stretch was 16-18 in 2014.
Last season, Parkway finished 7-19. The lineup in the Panthers’ final regular-season game, a 5-1 victory over Evangel, included six players who were either freshmen or sophomores. Four of those — Derious Bradford, Amani Larry, Caleb Reese and Eric Brown — played for the Bossier All-Stars team that won the 2014 Dixie Jr. Boys World Series at Tinsley Park.
That’s a big reason George is full of optimism about the future.
“We’ve got a lot of young talent coming up, and there’s a good class we had this year of freshmen that will be sophomores,” he said in a phone interview. “That and the combination of the other ones we have. Plus, there’s a good system going on right now. We’re having a good group of kids come up here.”
George’s assistant coach will be Eddie Pentecost, a teammate of his at Parkway.
“I’m excited about that, too,” George said.
George spent five seasons as the head baseball coach at Bossier before coming to Parkway as an assistant to Bryant.
His wife has been a teacher for 27 years, but George was a latecomer to the education profession.
He said he always wanted to be a high school coach and spent summers coaching American Legion and other high-school age teams. He helped coach the 2007 Legion state championship team, the first from Northwest Louisiana to win a title since 1954.
Currently, George is coaching Parkway’s Dixie Majors and Pre-Majors teams.
“I’m looking at summer ball as more or less — and this is what I told the kids — their chance to show me what they can do,” he said. “We’re looking at everybody and seeing what they can do and things like that, moving them around in various positions.
“It’s kind of like their tryout, getting an opportunity to play. You want to win — don’t get me wrong — but it’s not about that. It’s more about development than anything else in the summer time.”
Coaching runs in the George family. His son, Bryan, is an assistant baseball coach at Benton along with being the head soccer coach.
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org