Pitts named Helias head football coach

Phil Pitts was named head football coach Thursday at Helias High School. Pitts was an assistant coach to Chris Hentges who, on Monday, stepped down from that post. Pitts played football for Helias and the University of Missouri and returned to his alma mater to teach and coach.

Phil Pitts was named head football coach Thursday at Helias High School. Pitts was an assistant coach to Chris Hentges who, on Monday, stepped down from that post. Pitts played football for Helias and the University of Missouri and returned to his alma mater to teach and coach. Photo by Julie Smith.

It didn’t take long for the decision to be made. That’s because it was an easy one.

Phil Pitts, a 2000 Helias graduate who has been an assistant at the school the past six years, was named the Crusaders’ head football coach Thursday.

“I’m going to take this challenge head-on,” Pitts, 29, said. “It’s going to be an easy transition.”

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Phil Pitts was named head football coach Thursday at Helias High School. Pitts was an assistant coach to Chris Hentges who, on Monday, stepped down from that post. Pitts played football for Helias and the University of Missouri and returned to his alma mater to teach and coach.

Pitts takes over for Chris Hentges, who stepped down Monday after compiling a 50-12 record in the past five seasons.

“We feel so lucky that we had a guy right here that we know we can turn the program over to without having any second thoughts,” Helias Dean of Students Stan Ochsner said. “There aren’t that many guys we feel comfortable handing Helias football over to.”

Pitts has been the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Crusaders the past five seasons.

“I had a lot of say and control over the past five years and I think that has me prepared for what’s ahead,” Pitts said. “I don’t know for sure if I’m ready for it, but I’m as ready as I’m ever going to be.”

Becoming a head coach is the culmination of a dream for Pitts.

“I didn’t know when it would happen, I didn’t know if it would be here, but I knew I wanted to do it,” he said.

Pitts has been an animated presence on the practice field and on game nights over the past six seasons for the Crusaders. And while that may be toned down now that he is the head coach, it won’t disappear.

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