NEW ORLEANS — Newman's boys' basketball team now has a new coach with a familiar face.
News outlets report Randy Livingston returns to his alma mater where his No. 50 jersey was retired in 2013. He replaces Jimmy Tillette, who recently retired after a 45-year coaching career that included taking over the Greenies' program in 2013.
Livingston led Newman to three state titles from 1991-93, scoring 3,429 points in his high school career. He then signed with LSU in 1993, but suffered a severe knee injury prior to his freshman year. He returned to the court for the 1994-95 season and was drafted by the Houston Rockets in the second round of the 1996 NBA Draft. He spent 10 seasons with multiple teams, including the then-New Orleans Hornets in 2002-03 and was a player-coach with several teams before fully retiring in 2008.
Now, at 43, Livingston is set to take on his first-head coaching job on the varsity level. Livingston coached the Greenies' 8th-grade team to a 23-0 record including a City Championship this past season. The school's varsity team has a 15-9 record.
"I've been around the world coaching," said Livingston, who's had stops abroad in Australia and New Zealand in addition to his time in the states. "You kind of search for what your calling is, and to me, this was such an easy calling for me. It's the right fit and it feels right."
"What made the decision really interesting and important to me," Livingston added. "I feel like at this level, I can have the highest impact on kids. At the end of the day, that's what I'm about right now and this is a great level to do that."
After moving to Australia for four years scouting prep-level talent for his own company, Livingston turned full-circle with a one-year assistant coaching stint at LSU.
"I had some opportunities after LSU to stay coaching in the college game," he said. "But I see this (new opportunity) as a continuation of a journey. In 1989, I started that journey, and I'm excited for the great fit. I feel like it's where I can be most impactful, and, at this point in my life, it's about impacting young men and helping the Newman community continue to achieve excellence."
Livingston said his professional career saw him work with legends like Jerry Sloan and current Pacers coach Nate McMillan before coaching alongside Johnny Jones at LSU. He said those experiences have molded him into a coach with a trunk full of ideas and innovations perfect for the high school level.
It's a skill set, he said, that will not only help Newman reach that pinnacle of high school basketball in Louisiana, but his ultimate goals in coaching that go beyond the court.
"We want to have sustainability and win at a high level," Livingston said. "My goal is to make sure every year we're competing for state championships. From an academic standpoint, we're going to win on and off the court."