By T. Scott Boatright
A winning goal in a soccer match often takes patience and timing for a perfectly aligned shot.
Sometimes the same formula is also needed for a winning soccer coach hire.
That’s good news for Ruston High School, with athletics director Jerrod Baugh and new RHS girls soccer coach Jacquelyn Bean both saying the stars finally aligned at the right time for Bean to take over the Lady Bearcats’ girls soccer program.
“Jacquelyn was already on staff here as a French teacher,” Baugh said. “Her daughter Morgan graduated a couple of years ago and is now playing soccer for Louisiana Tech. We’ve tried to talk to Jacqueline about at least helping with our soccer program over the years, but she had so much going on with her daughter and her son, who just graduated this spring, We were fortunate that she finally decided she wanted to get back into coaching. The timing finally just worked out right.”
Bean, who served as girls soccer coach at Ruston Junior High School for 10 years starting in 2010, agreed that the timing finally felt right.
“The stars finally just perfectly aligned and made it the right time for me to do this,” Bean said. “I didn’t realize until Monday when we were holding tryouts how much I had missed coaching. Part of what excites me is having the summer to develop the team. And part of it was seeing a need and filling that need.
“But the biggest part is probably that I’ve missed coaching after coaching both boys and girls at the junior high for 10 years. I just wanted to get back to doing something I love, and the timing is right.”
A big part of the reason Bean stepped down from her coaching role at RJHS was because after 24 years of teaching math, she accepted the Lincoln Parish School Board’s offer to teach French at RHS in 2019.
“After I moved to the high school to coach French, I continued coaching soccer at the junior high for a year,” Bean said. “The going back and forth between the two schools made it really difficult. So I decided to pass the torch and ‘quote’ retire from coaching, if that’s the right word. I stepped down from coaching. Morgan was graduating high school and I wanted to see her last season and not miss anything, because it makes it tough when you’re coaching one team and your kid is on another team.
“So now that everybody is out of the house after our son J graduated this year, and seeing the need at the high school, and having the summer to develop the team, it was like the planets aligned. Everything fell into place. I had told (RHS Principal Dan Gressett) last year that if there was a need next fall that we could visit the idea. And everything just worked out.”
Bean had added motivation to help make the timing right to accept the job.
“Wanted to give back to the program that helped Morgan become who she is. She had such a successful junior year that led to her really being recruited and then having to go through double knee surgery and still moving on to the Division I (collegiate soccer) level. It made me want to not see the program falter any more than it had. They had struggled to find a coach last season and to be able to give back under the right circumstances is really exciting.”
But Morgan isn’t the only reason Bean decided the time was right to give back to the RHS girls soccer program.
“I coached the girls on the (RHS) team now when they were in junior high,” Bean said. “So taking over a team with players that I have already developed at the junior high level makes it an easy transition. It just felt like the right time.”
Bean said her familiarity with the program and many of the current team members makes her feel the program can make a quick turnaround in the right direction.
“It wasn’t long ago at all where the Ruston girls soccer program was a playoff team and one that was one one of the up and coming teams in Louisiana,” Bean said. “And we can get there again.
“The players know me and I know them, for the most part. It won’t be like I’ll have to coax them into buying into what it will take to accomplish the goals we want to accomplish. It won’t happen overnight, but it all feels right. The time feels right. And we’re ready to get to work and start building this summer the team we want to be next season.”
Photo credit: Photo by T. Scott Boatright