Northshore looks within to fill baseball, soccer coaching positions | St. Tammany community news

Northshore filled a pair of open coaching positions recently, and they didn’t have to go far to do so.

On May 19, assistant baseball coach Jay Hodges was promoted to head coach, according to principal Bill Gallagher. Hodges takes over for Brady Benoit, who left after two seasons to become the head coach at Mandeville.

“I’m excited,” Hodges said. “I loved working with Brady (Benoit) the last couple of years. I learned a lot from him. Basically, I’m trying to keep it going in the same direction. Obviously, we’ll make a few changes, but Brady had a good vision. I was onboard with that, so we’ll looking to build on it.”

Hodges has over 25 years of coaching experience, including 12 as a head coach. Before serving as an assistant under Benoit for the last two seasons, he was an assistant at Rummel and Hahnville for three years each. His last head coaching position was at Acadiana.

Hodges said he’s ready to continue to build at Northshore.

“I would say I’m more of a player’s coach,” Hodges said. “I’m a mix of old school and new school. I listen to my players. Things have changed so much since I started coaching. I’ve evolved as well because if you don’t evolve, you die. My whole philosophy is ‘Pressure during practice and not during the game.’ That’s how I coach. When it’s time to play the game, it’s just playing the game.”

The Panthers also filled their vacant head girls’ soccer coach position by elevating assistant coach Jorge Polanco.

Polanco served as an assistant last season under Ryan Lazaroe, who stepped away after four seasons with the girls that followed 16 years coaching the boys’ team.

Polanco moved to Louisiana in 2019 to serve in the Marine Corps. He retired from the Marine Corps on April 30 after 23 years of service.

“I’ve been super involved on the girls’ side of the program last year,” Polanco said. “Northshore has a wonderful history in girls’ soccer, and getting to know and coach with Ryan (Lazaroe), it just piqued my interest. Anything I can do to grow soccer is something that I want to do.”

Polanco grew up in Texas and played for the Marine Corps for four years. He coached youth teams in California and became involved with the Slidell Youth Soccer Club when he moved to Slidell. All of his children play the sport.

“Soccer is a passion of mine,” he said. “I’ll be 46 this year. There are no scouts looking for me anymore, so now, it’s all about what I can do to give back. It’s a passion for me to coach soccer. I’m excited about the opportunity. I just want to give the girls more opportunities than I had. That would be icing on the cake.”