One of the points of emphasis for the future of the Port Allen High softball program during the hiring process for a head softball coach was stability and Port Allen principal James Jackson said he believes the program has that now after the school announced the new coach who should be a familiar face to the PAHS community.
Wayne Conaway was named the head softball coach marking the program’s fourth coach in as many years. Conaway takes over for head girls basketball coach Kim Cox who coached both sports last year.
“Last summer I asked coach Cox really to do me a personal favor and take over our softball program because we had had three coaches in the last three years,” Jackson said. “I knew coach Cox was someone who knew the game, played it at a high level and I knew she would run the program with class and dignity and represent us well and she did that. She did an amazing job.
“It’s A lot to be a head coach of a winter and a spring sport and I guess I didn’t realize that at the time,” he added. “Whenever softball season started, she was still in basketball season. We were making a playoff run. That’s not how coach Cox rolls. She felt like she wasn’t able to give her all to the softball program, she wasn’t able to give her all to those girls and she’s the type of person if she can’t do it 100 percent, she doesn’t want to do it at all.”
Jackson said Cox was willing to coach softball again next season if needed but the school would advertise for the position to get someone in to lead the program.
“We were blessed to find coach Conaway to be interested in the position,” Jackson said. “He’s a port Allen alum. He’s a Port Allen historian. He’s the winningest coach in Port Allen High School volleyball history. He led us to our last district championship several years back. He was the head volleyball coach when I became principal nine years ago. He’s a great guy, comes from a great family. One of the main things we needed to talk about was the stability of the program to make sure he was in it for the long haul, which he is. We’re excited about that.”
Conaway comes back to Port Allen after three years at Family Christian Academy where two of those years were spent as an assistant softball coach.
Conaway also spent two years as a softball and volleyball coach at Baker.
“I’m very excited to be back,” Conaway said. “When I found out the job was available, I called coach (John) Williams and I told him I wanted the job.” After the interview, they called me a few days later and told me I had the job and they asked me if I wanted to think about it. I told them there was nothing to think about. I wanted to come back to Port Allen.”
Conaway met with the players and their parents last week and he said he is hoping to get a chance to have a practice soon if weather permits.
One early goal Conaway has for the program is to emulate the success of another West Baton Rouge Parish softball program.
“Our ultimate goal is to be just like Brusly softball,” Conaway said. “It’s a program that year in and year out is going to state. It may not happen this year for us but that’s the ultimate goal.”