Second-year Walker High football coach Lester Ricard resigned his position at the school Monday, he said.
“It’s kind of my decision why I chose this route,” Ricard said. “I wish those kids nothing but the best. I just want the story to be told that I loved those kids and they’re the only thing that mattered to me since I’ve been at Walker.”
Ricard didn’t want to disclose specifics whether he was able to resign voluntarily.
“I don’t want to go into details, what’s done is done,” he said. “I love those kids, I love those coaches. They will have a deep place in my heart for the rest of my life. Whatever direction God wants me to go in, I’ll just walk to the next thing.”
Walker principal Jason St. Pierre also verified Ricard’s resignation, but couldn’t offer any other specifics.
“It’s a personnel matter and that’s all I can say," he said.
St. Pierre said that offensive line coach Cecil Thomas, who guided the team in Ricard’s absence to a 27-6 win over Broadmoor last Thursday, will serve as the team’s interim coach for the remainder of the season.
“We’ve reassigned a few duties and have a plan in place to make our kids successful and our team successful,” St. Pierre said.
St. Pierre also said that defensive coordinator Marcus Brown, who along with Ricard was not on the sideline for the win over Broadmoor, also resigned.
St. Pierre said an opening for a new head coach will be advertised after the 2018 season.
It will be the third time in two years Walker will be in the market for a head football coach after St. Pierre hired Ricard to replace Brandon Lawley, who resigned Jan. 12, 2017.
The chain of events that led to Ricard’s resignation began at 4 p.m. last Thursday – approximately three hours before Walker’s kickoff at Broadmoor – where the Wildcats brought in a 1-0 record following a 35-18 season-opening win over Dutchtown.
That’s the time frame in which Ricard and Brown were suspended from their coaching duties for an undisclosed reason.
Thomas, a former head coach at Hammond High, served as the team’s acting head coach and guided Walker to the victory, improving the team’s record to 2-0 heading into Friday’s home opener against Slidell.
Ricard took over the Walker program last season after previously serving as the offensive coordinator at Hahnville.
He guided the Wildcats to a 6-5 record, losing in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs 14-7 to defending state champion Landry-Walker.
Ricard launched his high school coaching career after spending two years in the NFL, with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers, before opting for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League.
He served for two years as offensive coordinator at De La Salle in New Orleans in 2013-14 before taking over the St. Martin’s program in ’15 and leading them to a 5-5 record.
Ricard is a former Parade All-American quarterback at Amite High.
He signed with LSU out of high school before transferring to Tulane and finishing his career.
Ricard believes he’ll coach again somewhere in the future.
“Yeah, I love this sport,” he said. “You don’t play it for as long as I have and not love it. I turned down opportunities this offseason. Sometimes things can be overwhelming. I do plan to coach again. I absolutely do.”