Former Bastrop High state champion and Tennessee All-American LaTonya Loche is the new head coach of the Louisiana College men's and women's track programs.
PINEVILLE — Louisiana College President Dr. Rick Brewer and Athletic Director Reni Mason announced the hiring of LaTonya Loche as the next men's and women's track and field coach. Loche will be the third head coach in the program's history.
At Bastrop High, Loche earned seven individual Class 4A state titles in the 100 and 200-meter sprints. Following her prep career in North Louisiana, Loche enrolled at the University of Tennessee graduating in 2008 with a degree in sociology and criminal justice. She obtained her master's in criminal justice from the University of Central Florida while serving as a graduate assistant for the UCF track teams. After receiving her degree from UCF, Loche returned to Louisiana to work and coach at Richwood High School until accepting her position with the Wildcats.
"LaTonya is an energetic, passionate and hungry young coach," Mason said. "Her pedigree speaks for itself as a former sprinter at the University of Tennessee in arguably the best track conference in the country. Her youth and experience as a high-level track athlete will serve her well with our student-athletes. I look forward to watching her develop professionally and helping our athletes reach their potential on and off the track."
During her time in Knoxville, Loche became one of the Lady Vols most decorated track stars with 12 total All-American selections and as a member of two relay teams that still hold school records. Loche earned a total of six indoor and six outdoor All-American selections across four different events. Her individual All-American honors include the indoor 200-meter (2005), and 400-meter (2008) distances, as well as a 400-meter outdoor selection in 2005. She was a member of the 1600-meter indoor All-American team three of her four years at UT, and a three-time All-American in the 4x400 meter outdoor relay.
Her 4x400 meter relay outdoor team from 2005 currently holds the UT school record in that event with a time of 3:27.46, and the outdoor distance medley relay team from 2008 holds the record of 10:50.5.
"The thing that most impressed me most is her character," long time Louisiana high school and collegiate coach Marcus Henderson said. "She's a person who just has a God-given desire to succeed. She was one of the best sprinters in high school or college that I ever saw.
"She understands what it takes to get to the top. She understands the drive it takes, and also the time it takes, which is going to be very integral to her communication with her athletes. She understands the know how to take a person from good too great. I think that's what any institution wants, a person that not only understands it from a physical standpoint but most importantly from a mental standpoint, and the mental preparation it takes to be great. I've heard her as she's communicated that with her students as a high school teacher and coach."
She was the Dr. Jack Chesney Community Service Award winner following the 2007 season and was a member of the distance medley relay team that won the Penn Relays championship that same year. She was also a member of the 2005 Tennessee indoor national championship team, placing eighth in the 200 meters as an individual, bet earning a silver finish in the 4x400 meter relay helping push the Lady Vols into the top spot.
The Louisiana College indoor track season will begin in January of 2019 with the outdoor season starting in March.