Less than a month after being hired as an assistant girls basketball coach, Joseph Waller is in charge of the boys basketball program at Beekman Charter School.
Beekman's varsity boys basketball program was briefly without a head coach, but filling the vacancy was no problem. Principal Roy McCoy simply picked up the phone and called Joseph Waller, who accepted the job on the spot.
McCoy confirmed Waller's hiring Monday afternoon following David Patrick's retirement. Patrick, whose career includes head coaching stops at East Union, Prairie View, Kaplan, Epps, Bastrop and Beekman in addition to an administrative position at Delta, is the only coach in the four-year history of the Beekman basketball program.
Having recently accepted an assistant varsity girls basketball coaching position as an assistant to Caroline Oliphant at Beekman, Waller was the logical choice to succeed Patrick.
Like Patrick, Waller was an All-State player at Prairie View and later returned as the school's head basketball coach. Waller began his coaching career with Prairie View's junior varsity (grades 7-9) before being promoted to head coach following the retirement of the legendary Billy Pee.
Waller spent the past four seasons at St. Frederick where he was also head coach of the girls team for two seasons. He was also the sponsor for the tennis team and spent one season as an assistant coach for the golf team.
Both of St. Frederick's basketball programs had fallen on hard times when Waller arrived.
Inheriting a girls team coming off of a 1-27 mark, Waller was named Northeast Louisiana's Small School Coach of the Year by the Monroe News-Star after guiding the Lady Warriors to a playoff berth in 2013-14.
On the boys side, the Warriors went 2-24 in 2012-13, before making four straight playoff appearances under Waller.
Last season, the Warriors notched their first playoff victory in many years with a 53-52 homecourt win over Ecole Classique. St. Fred eventually fell to eventual state semifinalist Houma Christian in the second round.
"St. Frederick is a great place to coach," Waller said. "I had a great job."
However, family ties made the opportunity to coach at Beekman too good to pass up. Waller's wife, Kayce, teaches first grade at Beekman, and his son, Mack, is entering pre-k 4 at BCS. As an added bonus, Waller will no longer have to fight the North Monroe traffic on his morning commute.
"I am excited about the opportunity," Waller said. "It's great to be back home. Bastrop is home for me."
From a professional standpoint, Waller was attracted to Beekman by the opportunity to work with Oliphant. Prairie View's all-time career scoring leader (girls or boys), Oliphant began her coaching career with the Lady Spartans.
"Caroline was helping Mr. (Ed) Bain with the girls when I was there," Waller said. "It's going to be fun working together again.
"It's all kind of come full circle, and it's going to be good."
As was the case at St. Frederick, Waller is stepping into a challenge at Beekman. Although the Tigers made their first postseason appearance last season as a No. 29 seed, losing to Varnado in the first round of the Class 1A state playoffs, the program now faces the daunting task of moving up to 2A. Beekman and former District 2-1A rival Delhi Charter join Ferriday, Mangham, Rayville and General Trass in the 2A league.
"It's definitely going to be tough," Waller said of the new district, "but it's not like I'm coming from a cake district. The 1A district last year — and Beekman was in it, too — was rough."
Indeed, District 2-1A boasted the state runner-up in Tensas, a state semifinalist in Sicily Island, a state quarterfinalist in Delhi Charter and the No. 5 seed in Delhi.
Beekman and St. Fred split two regular season meetings last season with the home team winning both games.
Now Waller is looking forward to getting an up-close look at the Tigers.
"It's going to be hard to get a lot done this summer because most people shut it down in July," Waller said, "but we are going to have to have some workouts and practices so the kids can start learning my system."
In addition to his coaching duties, Waller will teach high school P.E. at Beekman.
Waller holds a degree in business management from ULM.
Joseph and Kayce Waller are the parents of two sons, Mack (4) and Madden (16 months).
HELP WANTED: With Waller moving over to the boys program, the Lady Tigers, once again, have a vacancy for an assistant.
Interested applicants may contact Beekman School at 318.281.1743.
FOOTBALL HIRES: In addition to Waller, McCoy announced the hiring of two football coaches on Monday. Rob Perry and John Nix have joined coach Wade McDonald's staff.
Perry will hold the dual posts of defensive coordinator and strength and conditioning coach. A Neville alum, Perry has coached at Bastrop, Lake Providence (now General Trass), Hamburg and Crossett.
Nix, a River Oaks graduate, will coach the offensive line. He has assisted Robert Hannah at River Oaks, and most recently, Jeff Tannehill at St. Frederick.