Starks, who guided the Northside Christian basketball team to its first ever Class C quarterfinal appearance in 2012, announced this week that he will be stepping down as head basketball coach of the Warriors to take the same position at Lafayette Christian Academy.
“My family and I had planned to move back into Lafayette, where I started my coaching career,” said Starks. “We just looked at the overall long-term goals: I eventually want to coach on the college level and my boys want to go to school at UL whether they play basketball or not. So we started looking at all those factors and found that was the best route at this time.”
Starks’ first coaching job was at Assembly Christian in Lafayette, a school that has since closed. He took over the Northside basketball program in 2003 and remained there until 2008 when he left to take an assistant coaching position at his alma mater UL-Lafayette.
After one season with the Ragin Cajuns, he left to take the head job at Vermilion Catholic for one season before returning to Northside Christian in 2010.
Leaving Northside, a school where he has spent seven of the last nine years as its head coach, was a difficult one for Starks, who will finish out the school year at Northside before taking over at LCA.
“This was a very tough decision for me and my family to make,” said Starks. “Pastor (Loyd) Singley and Brother Randy (Trahan) have been so good to me. And the kids that played for me, they gave me their best.
“My kids have been at that school for nine years and it was difficult decision on their part as well. We have some great ties and also some great family at Northside Christian.”
During Starks’ time at NCS, he guided the Warriors to four district championships and three runnersup finishes. In his most recent stint with the Warriors, his team has won 23 games in each of the last two seasons.
“Byron is a great basketball coach,” said Trahan, the principal at NCS. “He relates well to the kids of all ages and the parents. He’s just a great guy to have at a program. He’s been very successful and he’ll certainly be greatly missed.”
Starks, a former UL Ragin Cajuns star who was inducted into the LHSAA Hall of Fame in 2003 and the UL Sports Hall of Fame in 2011, had success almost immediately when he joined the coaching ranks.
At Assembly Christian, he led his teams to a pair of Louisiana Christian Schools Athletic Association junior varsity state championships (1997 and 2000) and finished state runnerup in varsity in 1997. He was named the LCSAA Coach of the Year three times (1997, 98, 2002) and was selected as the District 7-B Coach of the Year this season.
Trahan, understandably, was disappointed that his coach will be leaving, but he said he understands it was a move Starks had to make.
“It is a great opportunity for him,” said Trahan. “It’s a little more money and it’s right there in Lafayette. It’s just a good move for him and his family.
“We’ve been blessed to have him for seven years in our program.”