After a six year absence, St. Bernard Coach James Tolbert will return to St. Bernard to serve as the school’s athletic director as well as the head football and basketball coach. Fr. Marcus Voss, President of the School, made the announcement Monday, March 9th. Fr. Marcus said Tolbert will assume duties toward the end of the current academic year so that he can prepare for spring football practice and evaluate the boys and girls basketball programs.
Tolbert said he is elated to return to St. Bernard. “Fr. Marcus and I are friends and have remained in contact with one another over the years, so when he contacted me about the job, it didn’t take long for me to accept.”
According to Tolbert, the football and basketball programs will be a completely new. “My goal is to improve and eventually compete in the area and hopefully state playoffs. I have several coaches and assistants in mind who are willing to help us accomplish this task. They will play a key role in St. Bernard’s future.”
Tolbert’s first priority is to emphasize the strength and conditioning programs. “Our athletes have to be in good physical condition in order to stay healthy and play. One of the challenges of mental toughness is becoming physically strong. The school has exceptional weight facilities and each athlete will be evaluated and expected to work on personal strength and conditioning programs.”
“I know St. Bernard is an exceptional school when it comes to its academic program. I’d like to bring the athletic program up to complement what is being done so well in the classroom,” Tolbert said.
Fr. Marcus expressed appreciation to Danny Day, Ray Heitmueller, Dafford Smith, Bill Griffin, Adam Bavar, and the late Dale Cook for their hard work and dedication to St. Bernard’s football and basketball programs. “These men gave up time away from their families to work for the good of our school, and we really appreciate all they have done. Because of their leadership, they kept our program competitive and made sure that St. Bernard did not turn back in the face of some very strong competition.”
“I welcome Coach Tolbert to St. Bernard and will certainly support him in his work as Athletic Director and Coach,” Fr. Marcus continued. “I know it takes time to build a program but I’m confident that Coach Tolbert will be a good mentor as he teaches our athletes to develop confidence and have success in athletic competition.”
Tolbert will end his employment at Wallace State at the end of April and begin his employment at St. Bernard at that time. “I want to publically thank Dr. Jake Bailey, and Dr. Vicky Hawsey as well as the faculty and staff at Wallace State for the opportunity to work with them,” he said. “Looking to the future, I hope to build a solid athletic program at St. Bernard. “