Different Paths, Same Result For Boudreaux, Carpenter

Different Paths, Same Result For Boudreaux, Carpenter

NEW ORLEANSPete Boudreaux and Jeff Carpenter took different routes to become coaches, but they both ended the 2016 track & field season on top of their profession as the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National High School Track & Field Coaches of the Year.

“I’m thrilled that my team got recognized — and that’s the way I look at it — because I wouldn’t be here without them,” said Boudreaux, the Boys Coach of the Year for his efforts at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “I never looked at myself as anything special or spectacular. I’m just someone that enjoys coaching day in and day out.”

Carpenter, the Girls Coach of the Year, was quick to praise his coaching staff at Bishop Kelley High School in Boise, Idaho for his continued success.

"I wouldn’t be here without, what is in my opinion, the best coaching staff in America," Carpenter said. "We’re very blessed to have Cindy Greiner, a three-time Olympian (fourth place in the heptathlon at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games), and other extremely talented former athletes that provide a wealth of information to our kids and get the most out of them."

Boudreaux, the 1965 SEC indoor pole vault champion, knew for a long time that he wanted to be a coach.

"I didn’t know what sport, but coaching had my heart," said Boudreaux, who just entered his 49th year at Catholic High. "I had no idea I’d take this path as a track coach. I just wanted the opportunity to coach."

Passion often begets success as in Boudreaux’s case, it’s no different.

Catholic High has been a juggernaut at the district, regional and state level. The Bears have won 16 consecutive district titles, four consecutive regional titles and eight of the past nine Class 5A state titles (16 overall).

This past outdoor season, Catholic High outscored runner-up Archbishop Rummel 96-42 at the state meet. The Bears tallied points in every event in which they entered athletes and what’s even more impressive is that only the top six places score in Louisiana’s Class 5A (10-8-6-4-2-1).

"At most state meets, if you score 50, you have a chance," Boudreaux said. "When you push 100, it’s ridiculous. I didn’t see that coming.

"We had a special group of kids this year. We were pretty good in 2015, but we lost half of them. Those new kids stepped up and that’s really rewarding to see."

Like Boudreaux’s Bears, Carpenter’s Knights cruised to a state title.

Bishop Kelly scored a whopping 164.5 points, 82 more than the runner-up. The Knights qualified athletes in every individual event as well as each relay and scored in all. Bishop Kelly’s athletes won two individual state titles and added two relay crowns to go along with it.

"We were cautiously optimistic about our chances," Carpenter said. "You never want to count your chickens before they come home to roost, but after prelims and with how the score set up, we knew we were in a good position."

Carpenter enters his sixth year as the leader of the Knights in 2016 and if it weren’t for a decision he made while running a private training program in Birmingham, Alabama, chances are this success would have never happened.

"I had a moral dilemma," Carpenter said. "We were charging parents 75-100 dollars for training they should be getting from their coaches. That didn’t sit well with me. I couldn’t do it any more."

Carpenter and his family eventually moved back to Boise, where he played football from 2001-05 as a member of the blue-turfed Boise State Broncos. Football actually got him into coaching (JV head coach), then track & field called his name.

"The great thing about track & field is that we have all levels of athletes," Carpenter said. "Elite athletes that are state champions and athletes that might not ever win a heat in their career. It’s all about seeing their improvement and helping them believe in themselves that makes it extremely rewarding. I wouldn’t trade the feeling I get from coaching for the world."