By T. Scott Boatright
The Simsboro High School boys basketball team has replaced a proven winner with another proven winner, as former Anacoco head coach Randy Carlilse takes over the Tigers’ hoops program.
Carlisle, who graduated from East Texas Baptist College and coached for 17 years in Texas before returning to his native Louisiana, has a career coaching record of 932-239.
He has directed teams to 10 state championships, including seven in basketball, with 11 of his squads advancing to a state title game. He’s led his teams to 27 district titles in 29 years of coaching and has been named a Coach of the Year honors either at the district or state level 26 times.
Carlisle replaces Josh Brown, who coached the Tigers for seven seasons and guided Simsboro to four state titles, including the last two years, over the past five seasons.
Earlier this summer Brown took over as head coach at Claiborne Christian, where his wife teaches and his children attend school. Brown previously coached at Claiborne Christian from 2006-08.
In his two seasons as Anacoco’s head coach, Carlisle coached the team to a record of 67-14, with the Indians advancing to the Class B state semifinals last year and the state title game in 2021, when they lost 56-53 to Simsboro.
“I took a team that started with mostly baseball players and went to the title game last spring, losing to Simsboro at the buzzer,” Carlisle. “It’s hard leaving them, but I just feel like this is the right move for me, and that I’m leaving Anancoco a better program than it was when I took over.”
Carlisle, who coached at Castor, Hosanna Christian Academy in Baton Rouge and Summerfield before Anacoco, said heading to Simsboro feels like coming home.
He grew up in Minden and played part of a season at Louisiana Tech in 1975-76 before moving on to play junior college basketball in Los Angeles and then graduated from East Texas Baptist.
Carlisle lives in Athens — 18 miles northwest of Simsboro.
“It’s exciting, kind of like I’m coming home,” Carlisle said. ““I’ve been blessed over my career to be able to find basketball programs that might be a little down and need someone to help them restart things.
“And in a way, after losing so many players off a state championship team (four of the Tigers’ 2021-22 senior starters are moving on to continue their hoops dreams on the junior college level), Simsboro is a lot like that right now. They have some talent, but they lost a whole lot of talent. I like tradition, and Simsboro has that. Now I’m excited to try to put my own stamp on the program.”
While the Tigers lost talent, Carlisle feels their top returning player, 6-2 point guard Chilaydrien “CBo” Newton, a 2022 second-team All-State selection, provides a firm foundation to build on.
“CBo has a chance — a good chance — to be a Division I player,” Carlisle said. “He has the kinds of skills that can help him do that. And we’re going to make him even better and more athletic than he is now. I’ve already been making calls to D-I programs about him, and they’re interested.”
Carlisle plans on putting the Tigers through a training regiment, but not in the weight room.
Instead, it’s one of his own creation.
“It’s a tire program, but it’s not about flipping them, or dragging them, or anything like that,” Carlisle said. “It transforms the body fast and gets those little muscles firing fast – those fast twitch muscles that are so important for athletes.
“I’ve been using it for 10 or 11 years now. The athletes work out three times a week and it’s good for all sports. I’ve used it to train athletes headed to LSU and to the NFL. It’s been very successful for me as far as strength and conditioning goes.”
Carlisle said he’ll figure out what style of play his Tigers will have once he gets to know his new players and their abilities.
“I don’t try to force square pegs into round holes,” Carlisle said. “I do what my players allow me to do. That’s how I develop my schemes and systems. I need to know who my players are offensively and defensively. I need to know if they play better fast, or slow.
“Now I’d love to get the ball out fast for layups and that kind of thing. But you need strong and talented athletes to do that. But I also like winning with whatever athletes I have to work with, so I tend to base my systems around them and their abilities.”
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