Joseph "Boo" Waller is the new varsity basketball coach at St. Frederick. In addition to his duties as head coach of the boys and girls hoops teams, he will coach tennis in the spring.
Waller spent the past two seasons as head coach at Prairie View, his alma mater. Inheriting a young squad, Waller's first team went 6-21. Last season, he was named MAIS District 3-2A Coach of the Year after directing the Spartans to a 16-12 mark and a district runner-up finish.
Throughout his tenure at Prairie View, Waller fought a numbers battle. Last year, Waller called up three freshmen in order for the varsity to dress out 10 players.
"I hate to leave Prairie View because I had a great group of kids to work with," Waller said. "At the same time, I had to think about what was best for my family. The way everything fell into place with the St. Frederick job, I felt like it was time to make a move."
A former All-State player and District MVP, Waller helped the Spartans to a Class 2A state runner-up finish as a senior in 2004. Waller helped the Spartans advance to the Overall Tournament in each of his three seasons as a starter.
Upon receiving his degree in business management, Waller returned to Prairie View as the head JV (grades 7-9) basketball coach. One year later, he was promoted to head varsity coach. Waller succeeded his high school coach, Billy Pee, who spent 11 years on the Spartans' bench.
Along with his basketball duties, Waller taught business computer applications and was the head golf coach.
"I appreciate Prairie View for giving me the opportunity," Waller said. "When I first came back, I had no desire to be a head coach, but it turned out to be a great experience. I especially appreciate Mr. Ed Bain (the former PVA principal) and coach Pee for all they have done for me over the years."
Regarding the St. Frederick vacancy, Waller said he was first approached by Jeff Tannehill, the school's new athletic director and head football coach, about two weeks ago.
"I was told St. Frederick was going to be in touch with me, but I really didn't take it too seriously," Waller said. "I was kind of surprised when coach Tannehill called me the next day."
Waller steps into a challenging situation at St. Fred as the Warriors went 2-24 last season, while the Lady Warriors were 1-27.
"I know they haven't had a lot of success lately, but I see a lot of potential at St. Frederick," Waller said. "Academically, St. Frederick is second to none and coach Tannehill has brought a lot of energy to the athletic program. I'm excited about the opportunity."
Page 2 of 2 - Veteran coach Johnny Mercer, a longtime West Monroe assistant, will assist Waller with the Lady Warriors.
"I'm really looking forward to working with coach Mercer," Waller said. "He brings so much to our program."
Waller is married to the former Kayce Sadler, a Prairie View graduate. The couple has one child, three-month-old Mack.