GF Media Day 2023 Preview: Belaire High School (Baton Rouge, LA)

Head coach Byron Wade and the Belaire High School Bengals are looking to bring success back to where it belongs. This coming fall, the Belaire will be returning 19 seniors to their team so now they will have the necessary experience on the field for them at all times. Coach Wade is very confident this season will be one in which the Bengals bounce back and silence the critics.

After graduating college with a degree in sports broadcast journalism, Byron Wade realized that he was not very interested in his field at all. He decided he wanted to do something with his life that he is passionate about and not just to make money or anything like that. He decided to get into coaching and describes his journey as such:

“I started coaching when I was finishing up college and I really identified that I did not want to go into the field that I majored in so I knew that the next best thing for me to do was go with something I’m passionate about. I went to Capitol High. I had a conversation with Chad Germany, and he allowed me to come on board and be the defensive backs coach. I haven’t stopped ever since and that was 13 years ago so I’ve been coaching for 13 consecutive years. I was an assistant in a few different high schools and one particular year when I first got my teaching certificate, I was at Park Forest Middle School, and I became the head coach there so when I became the Park Forest head coach, they kind of shot me up. My reputation really was boosted, and a lot of people were starting to get to know my name. Then, I became offensive coordinator at Baker for my former high school head coach Eric Randall. What we did at Baker probably will never be done again there for a while. We got back to the playoffs. We hosted a playoff game, and we made it to the quarterfinals three consecutive years, and that really had me on a high and a lot of people knew who I was. I probably was next up on people’s list. Belaire had an opening. I killed the interview, and this is now year four.”

Belaire Head Coach Byron Wade

Coach Wade describes his coaching style and how he thinks his team can produce success this coming season. He is a very motivational type of coach. He likes to lead by example. He describes it in a very interesting way and the different approaches he might take to coaching. He says coaching at Belaire is a challenge that he embraces.

“It’s the biggest challenge and I welcome challenges. One thing that I have learned about coaching is that you have to have dogs and studs win. It doesn’t matter how good your scheme is or how good you coach. You have to have dogs. It’s easier when you have good players, and when you don’t have good players that’s when coaching comes into play so that’s special for me because I am a football coach. I model, I teach, and I motivate. Those are things that I have to do daily, and I have to be very creative in how I do it because I’m results based. I may take a traditional approach and an old school approach in another area, but then I may take an unorthodox approach somewhere else. Whatever is going to produce the results that allow us to be successful.”

Belaire Head Coach Byron Wade

Coach Wade and Belaire Bengals plan to control the pace of the game and control the ball on both sides. He thinks if they are able to stick to the things that put them in a position to win, then they will have lots of success this season. He isn’t worried about being excited. He is just worried about winning football games.

“We will control the tempo of the game. We want to run the ball effectively and play good defense. That’s our game plan. Having an effective running game, playing good defense, and taking what the defense gives us offensively. I’m not gonna say that we’re not exciting, but we’re not focused on being exciting. We’re focused on putting ourselves in position to win so that’s what’s advantageous for us because we’ve always had a good line. We’ve had big strong linemen, and we’ve had nice running backs. What we’ve lacked since I’ve been here is a quarterback. We have not had a true quarterback. We had one true quarterback in Ja’Kobe Bryant since I’ve been here, but beyond that you’ve always had to make somebody a quarterback. We, two years ago, played Liberty for the district championship. We beat Plaquemine for the first time in school history. We hosted a playoff game for the first time in 19 years so I think we’ve gotten the attention of the state of Louisiana, and now it’s time to elevate even more.”

Belaire Head Coach Byron Wade

Coach Wade describes some of the talent for Belaire, and he speaks very highly of them. He brought three seniors to Media Day with him, and he was very quick to talk about how much Belaire means to them. Running back/linebacker Javieon Morgan, offensive/defensive lineman Kedrick McDaniels, and defensive back/wide receiver Traveon Frank all made the trip to Denham Springs with Coach Wade.

“The reason that I brought these three guys is because they believe in Belaire. A lot of times, Belaire isn’t somebody’s first choice to come to school. These guys have been there from day one. They believe in it, they breathe it, and I think if I was to cut them, blue and orange would spill out of them.”

Belaire Head Coach Byron Wade

Belaire has produced Class 3A numbers for the last five or so years, but made the choice themselves to play up in 4A. Coach Wade thinks that it is something that should happen in the near future for the program. He feels a bright future ahead regardless, but this would help aid in that quest.

“The future for Belaire is number one, going down to 3A. We’ve had 3A numbers for the past five years, and we’ve chosen to play up in 4A. This is going to allow our school to be more advantageous in all sports, but the school district has a lot to do with the disadvantages of the inner-city schools. The future for Belaire is to continue to be competitive and continue to elevate academically first and then athletically. Just continue to make the best out of what we have that comes into our school.”

Belaire Head Coach Byron Wade
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