By Message Staff
PINEVILLE – Louisiana College has chosen to stay inside the family in its selection for its next athletics director and head football coach.
During a press conference April 27, school officials named men’s basketball coach Reni Mason as athletics director and promoted defensive coordinator Justin Charles to the head coaching position.
“God takes men of integrity, conscious, character and conviction and He raises them to levels of influence,” said LC President Rick Brewer. “Without a doubt, it’s a new day. There are new opportunities for us to grow and get better.”
Mason will continue in his current role as head men’s basketball coach, a position he has held since coming to the school May 30, 2015.
Before that, Mason had a 154-53 record at Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport. There, his teams earned three district championships. He was named district coach of the year in 2010, 2011 and 2015.
Mason is a graduate of the University of New Orleans with a B.S. in General Studies. Besides his time at UNO, he also played at Louisiana Tech.
In addition to experience on the collegiate level, Mason also brings expertise on the professional level. He was general manager and assistant coach of the Dodge City Legend (USBL) in Dodge City, Kansas, and worked and played for Dale Osborne, assistant coach with the Portland Trailblazers; Tic Price, head coach at Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas; and Tim Floyd, head coach at University of Texas-El Paso.
“I think that moving forward Coach Dunn set the stage for how things needed to go and how things needed to be done,” Mason said. “We want to try to have a seamless transition. One of the best things the athletic department has is that it has relationships. We have a unit that is already in place in terms of how we go about our business. It’s important we continue on that path.
“I’m excited about this new chapter in my life,” he continued. “I’m excited about this new chapter in Louisiana College athletics. It won’t change overnight without work but it can change.
“It just takes work,” he said. “So we’re going to try to roll our sleeves up, do the best we can.”
Charles, a standout defensive back and kick returner for the Cats, said during the press conference that one of his goals is to beat the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor in football. The Crusaders are a perennial power in Division III football and won the DIII national championship a year ago.
After his playing career ended in 2004, Charles joined the LC coaching staff in 2005, where he has served for the last 12 years. In 2008, he helped LC become one of the best pass defenses in the American Southwest Conference, as the Wildcats led the Conference in pass defense efficiency and ranked second in overall pass defense.
After posting seven straight winning seasons from 2008-14, Charles knows he’s got his work cut out for him. But he is confident the team, which had 4-6 and 3-7 records the past two years, can get back to its winning ways especially with having 17 seniors coming back who have started for the Wildcats.
“I’ve been seeking prayer for what I want to do in life,” Charles said. “And then this opportunity came and it was like a no brainer. I love Louisiana College football. I love Louisiana College athletics. I love Louisiana College and what it stands for and the direction that it’s going in. I bleed orange and blue.”