After six years as an community cross country and track and field coach at Hebron Christian Academy, Mike Beaudreau was looking for a change of scenery for the 2019-20 school year.
As it turns out, his new scenery isn’t all that far away from the old. He accepted a similar position at Lanier High School earlier this summer.
But it was the presence of his friend and former boss, Longhorns head coach Bob Gardner, that was the clincher in his decision.
“I think it was time,” Beaudreau said of his decision to move on. “Sometimes you feel like you’ve accomplished what you can at one place. I really felt kind of limited in my ability … to succeed any more than I’d already done.
“Bob has been reaching out to me for a couple of years to try to get me to come over (to Lanier) with him, and I just thought that now is a good time.”
Hebron accomplished a lot during Beaudreau’s tenure there, including two Class A (Private) state boys team cross country championships, two more runner-up finishes and two more top-five finishes, plus five top-five state finishes for the girls team.
In addition, there were two individual state champions in track, plus one top-five team finish for each of the boys and girls teams.
The foundation for that work was laid by Beaudreau’s work with Gardner, which he is excited to try to replicate at Lanier in the latter’s third season as head coach.
Beaudreau believes their respective strengths in running a high school program complement each other well.
“I think the best asset (Lanier has) is Bob,” Beaudreau said. “He’s a really good head coach (where) organization is concerned. He’s certainly put a really good structure in place as far as parental support. I mean, the parent support over there is just fabulous.
“I can’t tell you just how great these first few weeks (at Lanier) have been as far as not only the kids supporting my move over there, which was difficult to make that kind of move, but the kids have been very welcoming, and the parents have been, as well. We’ve got a nice little community 5K (run), which is also our time trial, (scheduled) on Aug. 3. Bob and the parents have put all that together.”
Gardner and Beaudreau are also quickly getting to work on building up the overall numbers and depth of both Lanier’s current program and the middle school feeder programs.
And so far, Beaudreau likes the infrastructure to both that Gardner has already set up.
“The structure (Gardner) has put into place has been good,” Beaudreau said. “The numbers aren’t anywhere close to where we need them to be to be on a competitive basis long term (yet). We’re really focusing on building a successful middle school program.
“(But) I can’t tell you how much progress the boys and girls teams have already made in the short time I’ve been over there. I feel like it’s already tremendous progress. I’m really optimistic about our ability to compete, and our goal is to compete at the highest level. I wouldn’t have gone over (to Lanier) if I didn’t think we could do it.”