The time is now for Noel Ellis.
After serving as Warren Easton’s defensive coordinator for the past four seasons, the former Karr and Tulane standout has accepted the position to become L.B. Landry’s next head football coach.
“Everything happened fast,” said Ellis, who heard the job could become available during Warren Easton’s most recent playoff run. “But I told them I wasn’t going to entertain any of that until after we finished…I had them wait until it was over, and once the state championship ended, that’s when everything kicked off.”
Ellis will replace former New Orleans Saint Keenan Lewis, who announced his resignation on December 16 after three seasons as the Bucs’ head coach.
Warren Easton just completed its third state championship run in the last four seasons with Ellis at the head of the defense. He joined the Eagles’ staff in 2017 as the defensive line coach following three seasons at his alma mater in the same position.
The Cougars won one state title in 2016 along with a runner-up finish in 2015 with Ellis on the staff. He entered the coaching ranks following the departure of his oldest son, Noel Ellis Jr., who starred at cornerback for Karr before signing with Texas A&M in 2013.
Ellis Sr. said he originally had no intentions to become a head coach when he began his career on the sidelines, but felt Landry provided the perfect opportunity for the now 43-year old.
“I was just happy to get into the business of coaching and happy to be able to give back to these kids, being a head coach was nowhere on my mind” Ellis explained. “But just from competing against Landry, I always felt if the opportunity ever presented itself, that would definitely be a spot I would go to.
“I admired the effort and passion their kids played with,” Ellis added. “I always knew they had athletes over there and they just fell short here and there. They just need the right leadership.”
Ellis certainly proved to be the leader the Eagles needed orchestrating one of the state’s top defenses over the past several years. Warren Easton allowed just 10.0 points per game this past postseason, held rival Karr to a season-low 20 points in Week 6 and limited opponents to seven points or fewer in six of the team’s 12 games.
Ellis hopes to bring that same success to Landry, which finished 3-6 including a first-round defeat to Carver this past year. His tenure with the Bucs will begin January 3, and Ellis couldn’t be more appreciative to the men that assisted in his rise up the coaching ranks.
“I just want to thank (Louisiana Tech running backs coach) Brock Hays and (Karr head coach) Brice Brown and (former Karr and St. Augustine coach) Nathaniel Jones and (Karr defensive coordinator) Taurus Howard for allowing me the opportunity to come in and coach at Karr,” Ellis said.
“Those guys really spearheaded my career when they gave me that opportunity and I have to thank Jerry Phillips as well for giving me my first chance to be a coordinator.”