DENHAM SPRINGS – The start of a new school year will bring a new address for Jason Sessions.
After three years as a member of coach Kevin Caballero’s coaching staff at Denham Springs, the 32-year-old Sessions officially accepted the head coaching position at Mandeville High School on Monday.
“It’s a great school,” Sessions said. “It’s a 5A program in an area where the competition level’s pretty good. There’s a chance to have the opportunity at athletes that most likely play multiple sports. It’s one of those situations that I looked that you can be successful.”
Sessions expects to begin his new job closer to the start of the school year. It will be the second time he’ll be a head coach after serving for two years at Holden (2012-14).
He has a total of 13 years of coaching to his credit with stops as an assistant at Ruston, Natchitoches Central, Holden and Denham Springs.
The Yellow Jackets revered their fortunes after a 10-23 season in 2016-17 with a 23-10 record this past season, winning a playoff game before dropping a very competitive regional contest at Natchitoches Central.
“He was previously the head coach at Holden, so he’s already gotten a taste of it already,” Caballero said of Sessions. “His responsibility at Denham was enormous and we’re going to miss that. As a staff we’re excited for him. I think Mandeville got a great guy. I know he’s excited and looks forward to some good things.”
Caballero said that Antonio Sterling and Tiras Magee, who coached at Southside Junior High last year, have been elevated to the staff’s top two assistant positions.
Sessions is a Baton Rouge native that was part of two Class 4A state championship teams in 2002-03 at Woodlawn under legendary coach Kenny Almond, now the coach at Holden.
Sessions graduated from Louisiana Tech where he served as manager of the men’s basketball team and first developed a relationship with Caballero, a former Redemptorist graduate who coached at Sterlington High School.
“I’ve learned how handle some situations that necessarily don’t deal with basketball,” Sessions said of his time at Denham Springs. “I learned how to be a little more relaxed working with coach Cab. It changed me. You don’t have to be a hard-core, intense person all the time.”
Sessions said there were other lessons learned during his career that have remained applicable.
“One of the biggest things at Holden was to maximize your effort with the players because you don’t have a lot of numbers,” he said. “I learned that community matters; having that family support. They (girls team) always traveled well. It was a big deal. I also learned under coach (Micah) Coleman at Natchitoches to be prepared. That’s one of the big things I learned from all of the jobs I’ve been; to be prepared all of the time.”
Sessions is taking over for Paul Paille, who served as Mandeville’s coach the past five years. The Skippers suffered through losing seasons the past two years with a combined 13-49 record, but before that stretch were playoff regulars with three straight postseason appearances, highlighted in 2013-14 by a trip to the Class 5A state regionals.
“They’ve had some recent success with coach Paille,” Sessions said. “We played them at Denham a couple of times and I was able to see their program, their school and community involvement. I’ve heard good things about some of the younger kids coming in, but this point it’s so late in the summer, I’ll jump in and see what we have.”