‘He wanted me to do it,’ Joe Bairnsfather follow’s his dad’s footsteps to coach Monterey

Published 5:46 pm Wednesday, June 7, 2023

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MONTEREY, La — Following in his father’s footsteps, Joe Bairnsfather will lead the Monterey Lady Wolves basketball team from the sidelines as their head coach in 2023-2024. 

“With going to Monterey myself, coming back and helping coach, it just means a lot,” Joe said. 

His dad Jack Bairnsfather coached basketball at Monterey for 33 years and was a teacher at the school for 41 years. 

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Jack was inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame in 2002 and had a career record of 619-474. He lived to see Monterey’s new basketball gym be built and named for him in January. A Monterey legend, he loved the school and supported the teams by still going to basketball games at 90 years old. 

Joe said it won’t be easy coaching in the gym his father built. His voice choked back with tears and silent pauses. Jack died a few weeks after the gym was unveiled and dedicated. Joe and his brother Guy Bairnsfather played for their dad. 

“It will mean a lot. He (Jack) wanted me to do it,” Joe said. “It will be quite a change from being the assistant coach. My dad taught me patience. All of his years he only had one technical foul. There were very few times my dad ever got upset coaching. It will be challenging but I’m looking forward to it. I remember some of the offensive and defensive things he had and I plan to use those. I will set in several things I’ve seen from other people too. It will be adjusted to what I think will work. ” 

He said he got the opportunity this year after boys basketball and baseball head coach Eric Richard asked for someone to take over the girls program. Richard coached the boys and girls team for the past three seasons which meant a lot of late nights and a long season.

A retired LSU Ag Center Agent, Bairnsfather served as an assistant coach in softball and girls basketball off and on over the years. He also worked as a substitute teacher for a few years until last fall when Monterey needed a full time teacher. 

Softball has allowed him to build relationships with the girls on the basketball team and he knows who he will be working with. Richard will also be a support from the experience he has had. 

Tucked away beyond acres of farmland, past Bayou Cocodrie and against the banks of Black River Lake, Monterey is a quiet community, fishing camp and a “special place.” The people are who make the community special and Joe has seen it first hand. 

“The administration has been very supportive in helping me. I have already got several texts from parents who are 100 percent behind me. I’m sure with this being my first head coaching job I’ll accept all the help I can get,” Joe said. “The support here is special. Everyone is always all in on sports and schools. Anything that comes up you just ask them for help and they are there. I had a lot of people help me out last year and had eight to 10 teachers help me get through my first year teaching full time. I’m looking forward to it and I hope it will be an enjoyable year for everyone.” 

Monterey’s first workout under the Joe Bairnsfather coaching era will be next Monday. The following Tuesday they will have a scrimmage in Vidalia.