Members of the H.L. Bourgeois High School softball team had to get ready for practice every day in the locker room in girls’ gym located at the front of the school. Then, they had to haul their bat bags, clothes, school bags and anything else they needed a quarter mile to the field.
But now thanks to their coach Jeremy Duplantis, who created a locker room for them, they don’t have to.
Duplantis thought of the idea over the summer after a space, which used to be a scorer’s room, became free above the concession stand.
With some help from his 9-year-old son Coltyn, Duplantis worked on it over the fall at their house, measuring, cutting wood and piecing it together to build the lockers while also adding some chalkboard paint so each girl could sign and decorate her respective space.
The new locker room opened on Monday, and Duplantis said the players are loving it.
“They are all excited because it’s actually something that’s their own,” he said.
Duplantis said there are many perks to coaching, but he enjoys being a role model for his athletes and making sure they do right on and off the field the most.
“I watch out for my girls all the time, making sure they’re doing right in school, keeping up with their grades, making sure they’re doing everything they are supposed to be doing in the classroom,” the fifth-year coach said. “And also just teaching discipline on the ball field, it’s going to definitely go into everyday life whenever they get older.”
The goal for the team for this upcoming season is the same as always — to win district, Duplantis said. He also noted that his team has been building for the last few years and gained a lot of experience.
“We do kind of have high standards for this year,” he said. “…If everything goes well, I think we should have a pretty good year.”