For Wrestling, New—But Familiar—Leadership
Jesuit is proud to announce that Jonathon Orillion ’01, who recently returned to Jesuit as a faculty member and assistant wrestling coach for the 2020-21 academic year, has been named the head coach of the school’s storied and acclaimed wrestling program.
“I am honored and humbled to be offered the chance to lead this historic program,” said Orillion. “It is important to me to be in a place that promotes and fosters the relentless pursuit of perfection. One of the biggest things I’ve taken away from my experience as a student and a coach in the wrestling program is the importance of its family atmosphere, and I hope to cultivate and grow that culture.”
With championships dating back 1951, the history of Jesuit wrestling is deeply interwoven with the larger history of the school itself. “Rather than thinking of our work as ‘building from the ground up,’ I see our work as reconnecting with a great competitive legacy and getting families and alumni more involved,” Orillion continued. “I want to create opportunities to honor past teams at home duals and rebuild major events to give current Blue Jays and parents a chance to connect to the program. We want alumni to be present and to have an influence on Jesuit wrestling in the present day.”
Orillion says that an emphasis on legacy and culture has already been put in place, in part as a result of a well-planned transition year marked by his return to Jesuit in 2020. “I’m glad I had this transition year,” Orillion notes. “It gave me the chance to watch, get to know, and work with staff, students, and parents.”
Having spent time coaching at the high school level in the mid-2000’s at Jesuit and then later at Archbishop Rummel High School, Orillion most recently coached at the collegiate level at at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.
“I am thrilled to have Jonathon Orillion at the helm of our wrestling program—just as I have been glad to have him back at Jesuit this year,” said Jesuit Principal Peter Kernion ’90. “He is an outstanding educator and coach, and our students have benefitted and will continue to benefit immensely from his skill and professionalism on and off the mat.”
In this well-planned transition, Orillion takes over for Sheridan Moran, a former collegiate and high school wrestler who coached at the LHSAA’s Division 1 level in Baton Rouge before joining the faculty and athletic staff at Jesuit in 2015.
“While it does make me emotional to think after 21 years that this chapter of my life is closing,” Moran said to his team, referencing his career in wrestling after his start in the sport as a 14-year-old, “I embrace it with open arms. I was trained in wrestling to handle any adversity with a smile and courage in my heart. I am filled with joy humility, respect, admiration, and honor to have led this program.
“I am and will always be your coach… but trust me when I say,” he followed up, “you are in good hands.”
“I would like to congratulate and thank Coach Moran for his successes and his commitment to our students,” said Athletic Director Dave Moreau. “I look forward with anticipation to the great things to come under Coach Orillion. He is a terrific role model and mentor for our students.”
Over the past year, Moran oversaw a significant investment by the school in its wrestling program as the administration—under Jesuit President Fr. John Brown, S.J.—increased the number of full-time faculty coaches to four. These faculty coaches will all be returning, and Orillion’s coaching staff will include Paul Hatty, Matt Firmin ’10, and Fr. Stephen Kramer, S.J. along with another half dozen part time coaches and assistants.
The wrestling program has already seen a revitalization under Moran and Orillion with 12 rising seniors returning for next year; two of the program’s rising juniors—John Michael Bourgeois and Chase Haydel—and one rising sophomore, Spencer Lanosga, placed in this year’s state competition. Some 50-plus pre-freshman and freshman wrestlers will be moving up to the varsity squad for next year as well. A number of Blue Jay wrestlers will also be competing in national competition this April.
This can-do positivity characterizes not only Orillion’s outlook on the program but his educational and coaching philosophy in general. “I’m a person who truly believes that if you keep working hard that good things will follow.”