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Former Football:Glenn Lafleur returns to coaching after 22 years

Bobby Ardoin, The Advertiser, Oct. 29, 2015

Glenn Lafleur  (Photo: Daily World file photo)

VILLE PLATTE — The wildlife and fish that normally inhabit Evangeline Parish this time of year are a little safer — at least for now — since Glenn Lafleur is once again on the football field.

Instead of tracking squirrels and casting for bass or sac-a-lait, Lafleur is occupied more with stalking the Sacred Heart High practice field and fishing for tacklers.

It’s been 22 years since Lafleur last coached a football player, but at 67, the former USL (now UL) two-time Little All-America linebacker is serving as a defensive coach and veteran mentor for kids that could easily be grandchildren.

Lafleur feels he’s reached a place in life where he wants to feel comfortable with what he does.

That would include coaching, he said.

“I’ve got to want to enjoy what I do. And this year I am coaching again and it’s pleasing to me to be back in it. I’m enjoying (coaching) as much as I ever have,” said Lafleur.

Lafleur, who coached from 1971-92, is no stranger to parish athletics.

He was Ville Platte’s head coach from 1977 to 1983 before serving as Basile High head coach (1989-92).

Lafleur left coaching after that and was employed in the Evangeline Parish school administration from 1993 until 2007.

Then several years ago he came to Sacred Heart as an algebra and mathematics teacher.

Returning to a classroom was both a re-education and a satisfying experience, said Lafleur.

“I’m certified in math but I hadn’t been in a classroom for something like 23 years. It was fun, the kids were working hard and I tried to make it enjoyable for them,” said Lafleur.

During the past several years Lafleur has remained at Sacred Heart as a teacher, but in those previous years when the bell ended the day, Lafleur left campus.

Didn’t he find that situation a bit strange?

“I did. I wasn’t going to ask anybody. I didn’t want to be a head coach anymore. If you give me a job though, I’m going to go do it.

“At my age I don’t have anything to prove. I just want to be able to get the kids ready to play and work. I have no limit about when I might want to stop,” Lafleur said.

The desire to coach never disappeared, he said.

“I’ve wanted to get back into coaching. I like to coach and I thought I might get back into it again someday. I like the game and I want to coach and do my part,” Lafleur said.

Sports and football in the Ville Platte area were never far off Lafleur’s radar even when he wasn’t on the sideline.

“I missed (coaching) the first two or three years away from it. I was in administration then, but I was always at the games.

“It’s hard to explain, but I still had the feel of the game with me when I was watching them; it never left, even though I wasn’t coaching,” he said.

Lafleur’s stepdaughter, Dawn Shipp, is also a first-year principal at the school and when August arrived, Lafleur was there again on the practice field, assisting first-year head coach Josh Harper.

“I’ve been working with the offensive line and calling the defense. We’re young right now, small and inexperienced. We’re 2-6, but we could be 5-3. We’ve lost three close games and we’ve had a lot of injuries,” said Lafleur.

What’s been motivational, said Lafleur, is the work ethic of the players.

“You hear a lot of negatives about the kids right now, but the kids I have work as hard as any that I’ve coached and I really have worked them hard.

“They do for me whatever I ask them to do,” said Lafleur.

This spring Lafleur’s career will enter another dimension when he coaches Sacred Heart softball, a program that has been successful for nearly two decades.

For those who think Lafleur might be a novice at that sport, he has another opinion.

“I coached (softball) at Ville Platte and I know the game,” said Lafleur.

This weekend is somewhat of a throwback in several ways for Lafleur.

It’s homecoming at Ville Platte High and he and his former Bulldogs teammates are being honored for their senior football season 50 years ago.

Then it’s also UL’s homecoming.

If Lafleur attends the game Saturday with ULM at Cajun Field, he could view the stadium area where his No. 28 jersey hangs illustrated as one of few retired in school history.

Lafleur, though, said he will probably miss both festivities.

Where will he be?

Not even fishing at Chicot, Miller’s Lake or in the woods with a shotgun available?

Probably not there either.

“I’ll be coaching. We play Catholic High (New Iberia) this week,” Lafleur said.

Athletic Network Footnote by Ed Dugas:
Click here for Glenn’s Athletic Network profile.
Click here for the Spotlight Feature on Glenn Lafleur, which includes photos from a variety of sources: action, team, family,  and more.