May 23, 2013
TUCSON, Ariz. -
In 1996, Sean LeBeauf sat at his desk at a manufacturing company in Tulsa, Okla. He was in his second year with the company, fresh out of college, when he had an epiphany: his job wasn't fulfilling a passion of his to impact the lives of others.
Within a few months, LeBeauf had landed a job coaching the girls basketball team at Booker T. Washington High School and teaching math at Foster Middle School in Tulsa, Okla.
It was here that he remembered his passion for the game of basketball and decided he wanted to devote his life to coaching.
"I love this sport," LeBeauf said. "But my passion for it now is more of my appreciation for seeing the growth of kids and the development in their game."
At Booker T. Washington, LeBeauf led the Hornets to a city championship. He also picked up a coaching gig with the Tulsa Rebels, leading them to the AAU national title in 1997.
That was just the beginning of a very successful career.
LeBeauf went on to coach at Destrehan High School and Archbishop High School with the men's basketball teams. While at Archbishop Shaw, he helped lead the team to back-to-back state championship appearances. His squad won the state title while going 34-6 in 2000 and finished as 2001 runners-up with a 31-5 mark, leading to an assistant coaching opportunity at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La.
"I have been blessed enough to have success on both sides and all levels," LeBeauf said. "At the end of the day, you have to have someone that has the kids' best interest at heart, because when they begin to feel comfortable and trust you, then they are going to take strides forward."
LeBeauf's success continued at Southern from 2005 to 2009, until he landed a job as the Director of Athletics and head women's basketball coach at Paris Junior College in Paris, Texas.
At Paris Junior College, LeBeauf led the Dragons to the single-season record for wins and a national ranking. He coached an NJCAA All-American nominee, four All-Region XIV selections, five honorable mention All-Conference selections and two Freshman of the Year nominees.
But things changed when LeBeauf met Arizona head coach Niya Butts and he witnessed her work ethic and drive and shared passion for coaching and impacting lives.
"I'm a small town guy--not one for the lights and all of those things," LeBeauf said. "But when I was in the gym, I watched Coach Butts move and work and I knew that Arizona was a good place."
A few years later, a job on Butts' staff opened up and she contacted LeBeauf.
"I knew that Shaun would be a perfect fit for our staff," Butts said. "He has a lot of coaching experience on all levels. He can do it all. He is a great basketball mind, I knew he would be an asset on both sides of the ball and he would bring a lot of talent here."
So LeBeauf packed up and left a town of 30,000 people and moved to Tucson.
"Coming from a town of about 30,000, we at least have a mall and some other things," LeBeauf said. "But it's great to have options here in Tucson. I'm also not one for the cold weather, so I appreciate the temperature and the dryness doesn't faze me because I'm from a humid climate, so I'm going to enjoy this."
LeBeauf arrived in Tucson less than a week ago, but already has a grasp of what he would like to accomplish while at Arizona.
"I want to be a piece of the puzzle," LeBeauf said. "I don't want to be the puzzle. I want to be a part that completes the whole. I want to add to the culture."
For the future of Arizona women's basketball, LeBeauf also has high expectations.
"I want this program to be a regular in the national tournament," LeBeauf said. "When you're working for good people, you want that for them. And when there are people in the community that support it sincerely and genuinely, you want it for them as well."