HOLDEN – Kenny Almond took the Holden boys basketball coaching job almost two years ago with the intent of turning the program’s fortunes around.
Consider the mission accomplished, and for Almond, it’s the end of his tenure as the Rockets’ coach.
“I enjoyed being there,” Almond said of his two seasons at the school. “I didn’t go there to change anything. I just went there to try to win some basketball games. That’s all I was trying to do, and I think that’s what we did.”
Holden principal Kris Rountree said Landon DuBois, who served as Almond’s assistant the past two seasons, will take over as the Rockets’ coach.
“Landon has been very loyal to our basketball program at Holden School,” Rountree said. “He has put a lot of energy and work into our junior high program. He has paid his dues as a junior high coach. It’s time.”
The Rockets advanced to the regional round of the playoffs for the first time since 2010 before losing to No. 4 Weston on the road this past season.
“They did everything you could ask a team to do, and they did it and played to their best,” Almond said. “I’m proud of what we accomplished. I really am. Not to say we didn’t have some disappointing moments. We did, but they did good. I’m really happy for what we did in two years.”
Rountree was thankful for Almond’s time at Holden.
“I saw a new energy with our boys,” she said. “I saw that he taught the boys about the game itself. It wasn’t just about between the lines. It was what you did in practice. “Coach Almond’s practices are phenomenal, and when you do all the work outside of the game, the game comes easy. The boys would have probably liked for him to stay because they just like him. He’s good for kids. He’s good for sports, but he told me it was time. It was time for Landon to step up and take it a step further. I’m not so sure he’s not going to coach again somewhere, but like I told Landon, now it’s his program.”
DuBois, a 2007 Doyle graduate, said he’s more than happy to take over as the head coach, especially after sitting on the bench with Almond the past two seasons.
“Coach Almond’s probably forgotten more about basketball than I’ll ever know,” he said. “If you just want me to be honest with you, the man has done it for, I think he said, 41-42 years now. He is basketball, and so the last two years have been a great learning experience, and I feel like I’ve been able to work under some really good coaches through my tenure as an assistant and in junior high, but he’s the one that takes that cake.”
The Rockets lose five seniors from last season’s team, but Almond said the combination of DuBois and several key returning players will serve the program well.
“I think it’s in pretty good shape, and Landon will do a great job with them,” said the 69-year-old Almond. “I think they’re in good shape to get the boys basketball program established.”
During his tenure with the Rockets, Almond, a Hall of Fame coach who won three state titles at Woodlawn, reached his 900th career win with a 50-42 win over Lutheran in 2018.
Among the Rockets’ wins this past season was a 63-62 win over Lutcher to win the French Settlement Tournament title.
“We just went out there and approached that game like, ‘Hey, we’re supposed to lose, so what the hell, let’s play.’ We got a few breaks in there, and then we were shooting the ball decent,” Almond said. “They didn’t turn us over. I want to say we had seven or eight turnovers in the whole game.”
Almond said his career win total sits at 932, and he isn’t closing the door on coaching. He won three state championships while at Woodlawn in Baton Rouge (1999, 2002, '03) and also has four state runners-up finishes to his credit.
“I’d like to go win another game or two somewhere,” Almond said. “If there’s an opportunity, I’m going to look into it if the teaching is right and all that kind of stuff. I’m getting old too, so maybe this was it.”
The veteran coach said he won’t forget his time at Holden.
“I think what we did at Holden was as satisfying as what we did at Woodlawn,” Almond said. “(Not everybody) else is going to think that, but if you’re the one that was there with those kids and saw them do it, then you can appreciate it. I really do appreciate what those kids did and what they accomplished.”
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