French Settlement coaches sweep district coach of the year honors, Martin retires after 20 years

FRENCH SETTLEMENT– French Settlement basketball was successful this season, with both teams reaching the quarterfinals.

Both teams captured district titles, which resulted in Jake Bourgeois and Daniel Martin earning District Coach of the Year honors.

Bourgeois led the French Settlement boys to a 30-4 record, including a 6-0 record in district play, and the top overall seed in Division III non-select. The team’s season was cut short following a loss to Donaldsonville last Friday.

“I think that’s a testament not just to myself but to our kids and all the work that they put in over the years to get our program where it’s at,” Bourgeois said. It’s a testament to my coaching staff and administration and all the work they put in as well to help me and help guide the kids to where we need them to be for them to excel not only in the classroom but on the court.”

The French Settlement girls finished the season 22-7 following a loss to Westlake in the quarterfinals. The Lady Lions went undefeated in district play, which earned the team a district title and coach Daniel Martin coach of the year in District 7-2A.

“I think it says we’ve got kids who are committed to the sport and work their butts off behind the scenes,” Bourgeois said of both teams having success. “As a coaching staff and a school, we’re lucky enough to have a foundation set by our admin that allows us to guide these kids.”

Martin said nearly every team they lost to this season was one of the final four teams in their respective classification.

“I thought we had a really good year,” he said. “I thought the girls put together a great season. As for coach of the year, I’m honored that the coaches would select me for that. It’s a team award because it’s not really what that one particular coach does, but it’s what the players and assistants do as well. We’re honored to be able to get that.”

Martin’s last season as coach was the 2023-24 season. He announced his retirement shortly after the season ended.

Martin has been head coach for the last twenty years and has won more than 330 games. He’s reached the Top 28 once and had three teams reach the quarterfinals.

He said several factors went into his decision. One was watching his daughter Dannah Martin-Hartwick, a French Settlement alumni who had her jersey retired this year, play her last year of college basketball at LSU-Alexandria.

“Coaching is a grind year in and year out,” Martin explained. “It comes down to looking at all the different things that go along with it. My daughter has one more year to play in college, so we wanted to kind of free that up to make sure we can see her without having to worry about what I’m missing. I’m a pastor as well, and I teach a full load in the classroom. There’s a lot on my plate, so it’s just kind of time to start getting some of that off my plate and really focusing on family, too.”

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