Not too many schools embraced powerlifting when Brian Bizette became the program’s head coach, but times have changed.
The sport has become popular at schools statewide, and he has seen the program grow in his 14 years with the program. At the same time, he has gained respect from his peers.
Bizette was named to the Louisiana High School Powerlifting Hall of Fame, an honor he received during the meet March 19 after his girl’s squad won the school’s eighth state title at Fant Ewing Coliseum in Monroe.
Bizette garnered the Hall of Fame induction off of eight state championships.
He led the Pelicans to the 3A title in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. PAHS won the 2A state title in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
PAHS finished runner up in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 (boys) and 2017.
The resume also includes one American Powerlifting Federation Championship runner-up spot in 2013 and two third place finishes (2008, 2014).
He led nine boys to individual boys state championships, eight state runners-up, seven boys third place finishes and 24 boys who landed spots in the Top 3.
He took on the coaching job when very few Louisiana high school athletic programs included powerlifting among its sports.
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association has since made it one of its sanctioned sports.
“It was considered a club until the LHSAA adopted it’s a few years ago,” Bizette said. “It’s a grind, and it’s involved big sacrifices with the family.”
He took the sacrifice one step further when he put his hair on the line to motivate his team to win the state championship in 2012.
The team won the bet. The fourth state title win meant the loss of his hair shortly after the championship win.
“I was bald for Easter, but it was worth it,” he said.
The intricacies of the sport have appealed most to Bizette.
It goes far beyond lifting weights, he said.
“It’s about strategy, execution and self-motivation,” he said. “When you have three judges looking at everything you’re doing wrong just as you’re trying to achieve a max, that’s not just lifting weight – it’s a sport.”
“I get so mad when people say it’s just weightlifting,” Bizette said. “In powerlifting, you have to be a good listener, concentrate on your technique and make sure everything is perfect and you’re totally focused on that moment if you want to be successful. Until you experience it, don’t call it weightlifting.”