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Former Distance Runner: Remembering Tom Nolan

Remembering Tom Nolan

Tom Nolan was a beloved track and cross country coach at Comeaux who passed away this weekend. His influence reached much farther than the walls of Ovey Comeaux, though.

Here, some of his companions remember him for the great man and community leader he was.

Kelly Brown-LaMaison, Lafayette High cross country coach

"He’s the most genuine person you could meet. He’s so full of faith and full of spirit. He was the coach I always wanted.

"I’m going to miss our trackside chats. He was an incredible human being. He was mine and a whole bunch of other people’s hero."

What one word do you think of when you think of Tom Nolan?


Bruce Brown, covered Nolan for The Advertiser for the past 32 years.

"Tom Nolan epitomized what high school coaching should be about.

"Part English teacher, part Pied Piper, his low-key approach was perfect for nurturing athletes who weren’t always college prospects, but who wanted to compete and responded positively to his support.

"His athletes, and his sport, always came first for Tom. Any personal credit was always way down the list of his priorities. His athletes loved him and loved competing for him.

"His courageous struggle with pancreatic cancer provided a final statement of his inspirational worth. He will be long remembered for the type of man and educator he was."

What is one word that comes to mind when you think about Tom Nolan?


James Simmons, Parish Athletic Director

"We not only lost a good coach and a good teacher; we lost a good person. He was about as good as it gets. He had great character.

"He genuinely cared about the kids. A lot of people use that term loosely, but he really cared about them.

"After he finished up at UL and went on to high school he did a good job of putting kids out there and making them better.

"This summer he took a trip with the cross country team to North Carolina, even though he knew his health was bad. He taught driver’s Ed., too.

"That’s 10 hours in a hot car in south Louisiana. That’s determination. That’s courage. We just don’t have enough of those people."

What is one word you think of when you think of Tom Nolan?


Tommy Badon, West Minister athletic director and football coach

"I’ve known Tom since 1981 and he’s always been the most respected running coach. He’s just a really good guy.

"He was really instrumental in the growth of cross country in this area. Also state wide he has been recognized as one of the founders of long distance running in Louisiana.

"He was also very helpful any time you needed something. I think everyone who knew him as a coach will miss his support and love for the sport.

What is one word you think of when you think of Tom Nolan?


-compiled by Grant Alexander  Daily Advertiser, October 23, 2007

 Zoom Photo

Brad Kemp @theadvertiser.com

The late Tom Nolan earlier this year.

Athletic Network Footnote:  Tom Nolan’s profile is posted in the Athletic Network.  Some of his footnotes are his writing and others are stories by a variety of reporters.  It depicts Tom in a beautiful manner, traces his career, and shares some of his thoughts on athletics and life.