home sitesearch sitemap contact fan about
home
  Submit/Update Profile  

Search the Network:




Media: Acadiana seems too quiet without ‘˜Big Dave’™ Thibodeaux

Megan Wyatt, Daily Advertiser, May 3, 2014

06XXBAJA13.JPG

Dave Thibodeaux, right, and his wife Rose during a UL basketball function enjoyed a marriage that largely revolved around sports ranging from Breaux Bridge High to LSU to UL to the New Orleans Saints.(Photo: Advertiser file photo)

“I was kind of a troubled kid at one time. I was disrespectful and young and hotheaded,” Menard said. “And Dave would always pull me to the side and tell me to control my temper and watch how I talked to people and to respect others.”

Big Dave spent his life in the small town of Parks in St. Martin Parish, where he coached, organized and promoted an area AAU basketball team for years.

He served as a sports radio personality for much of his life. But his legacy extended beyond Acadiana.

From sports and marketing executive Sonny Vaccaro to basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, famous athletes, coaches and sports figures from across the country knew and loved Big Dave.

Friday’s funeral service demonstrated Big Dave’s reach.

“You could tell by the people there. There was such a mixed crowd,” Menard said. “This was one of the biggest and most impacting funerals for me, and I’ve lost my parents.”

State Sen. Fred Mills met Big Dave in 1981 when he opened his drug store in Parks. Mills was 26 and Big Dave was 30, and the two quickly became best friends.

Mills served as the best man in Big Dave’s wedding, an occasion that Mills remembers fondly.

“He was the old bachelor getting married,” Mills said, laughing. “And at the wedding, a large number of the people went to make sure Dave was actually getting married. And when he said, ‘I do,’ half the people left saying, ‘Well, I’ll be damned, Big Dave got married.’”

While Big Dave was always ready to talk about sports, he was also always ready to help somebody.

“The best work Dave did is probably unknown to all of us to this day,” Mills said. “He didn’t make a big thing about helping a person out – maybe he found a guy down on his luck who has no gas to get to Houston, and he’d find a way to give him $50 to get him there.”

Breaux Bridge Mayor Jack Delhomme describes Big Dave and himself as “two grownups who enjoyed each other’s company.”

Delhomme met Big Dave in the 1980s when he was in his early 30s.

Big Dave was the kind of person Delhomme would choose to accompany him on a long, boring drive.

“He was very, very, very entertaining,” Delhomme said. “And he could sit down with black, white, man, woman, young, old and he’d make you feel comfortable.”

Even when Big Dave pronounced Breaux Bridge as “Bo Bridge” or promoted area businesses with phrases such as “from the womb to the tomb,” Delhomme couldn’t help but laugh.

“I think that’s why people enjoyed listening to him,” Delhomme said. “He was just so genuine. He didn’t care what people thought of his speaking.”

But behind his entertaining personality and sports discussions was a man who mentored, encouraged and believed in people.

Evans “Von” Ozen was one such person.

Big Dave pointed Ozen in the right direction and stressed the importance of working hard and pursing dreams.

“He’s going to be missed as a big brother, as a father figure to the young and as a real dedicated community leader,” Ozen said.

With a loss as big as this, Acadiana may seem quiet right now.

But ask anyone. Big Dave is still speaking through the hundreds of lives he touched during his own big life.

* * * * * * * * *

Kevin Foote: Big Dave impacted so many
Daily Advertiser, May 1, 2014

The first time it happened was Monday evening.

Doing a weekly radio show with him for years and talking sports for a lot longer than that, "Big Dave" Thibodeaux and I have debated the merits of many teams, coaches and athletes.

When one of us was proven to be correct, a phone call usually ensued with a proud, "I told you so."

So it was only natural that I pick up the phone this past Monday, just after the Atlanta Hawks polished off the No. 1-seeded Indiana Pacers 107-97 to go up 3-2 in their Eastern Conference opening series.

After all, a few weeks before I had predicted the Pacers’ demise during an NBA discussion with him. It was my turn to remind Big Dave of that.

Seconds after I picked up the phone, however, reality reminded me that Big Dave wasn’t answering this time … or ever again.

David Clyde Thibodeaux — known by most in sports circles locally, regionally and nationally as "Big Dave" or "Big Daddy" — died last Friday at 63 of an apparent heart attack.

Visiting hours will be at Pellerin Funeral Home in Breaux Bridge from 7 to 10:30 a.m. Friday, and the funeral service is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Breaux Bridge.

A lifetime of talking sports ended that day.

Whether it was area high school football or basketball, or any of the major LSU or UL sports, or the Yankees or Braves, or discussing where LeBron James falls among the NBA all-time greats, or the Saints, Big Dave was always ready to talk sports.

Of course, he had his own unique way of doing it.

For starters, he almost always chose the positive approach. Big Dave didn’t spend much time bashing coaches or players. Unlike so many fans in this heavy social media era, he rarely felt it was his place to hold grudges or call for a coach’s head.

As an LSU fan, he preferred to appreciate what Nick Saban did for LSU’s program rather than hate him for resurrecting Alabama. As a Saints fan, he never held it against Bobby Hebert or Morten Andersen for defecting to the Atlanta Falcons.

Big Dave certainly understood the negative side of the sports world, but chose to focus on the positives.

He respected just about everyone but demanded respect in return, and he had no reservations reminding you of that expectation.

The way he described his views was unique, as well. If you don’t know what "How you call it made a bad SIW right there" means, then you probably never heard or understood Big Dave’s color analysis of a high school football game.

(For the record, that meant a certain player probably jumped offsides or fumbled the ball; i.e., suffered a self-inflicted wound.)

To many radio listeners, Big Dave was that colorful figure who promoted his many sponsors with such off-the-wall slogans as "taking care of you from the womb to the tomb."

To some, however, he was that strong father figure from whom many troubled youngsters around the area and the state got much-needed advice and direction. He was that guy constantly hounding you to take care of your grades and prepare for the ACT test to earn a college scholarship.

To others, he was the person to call when tragedy struck and a fundraiser was necessary to ease the pain for a troubled family.

If he knew you well at all and a member of your family died, Big Dave made sure you didn’t grieve on an empty stomach.

In one sense, Big Dave was very easy to understand; in other ways he could be quite complicated.

He was a wonderful combination of Archie Bunker, Joe Clark, Don King, Jesse Jackson, Buddy Diliberto and Mother Theresa.

Several weeks before Big Dave died, he made the comment during one of his weekly Wednesday stops on my radio show that he was rich even though he wasn’t really rich.

He grew up in the small, rural St. Martin Parish town of Parks and never left. Yet, famous athletes, coaches and other sports figures from all over the country knew him and loved him.

He coached, organized and promoted an area AAU basketball team for years. He loved to tell tales about how a group of small-town Louisiana players beat fancy, big-city AAU outfits filled with future NBA stars.

But what he really loved was telling stories about how troubled players left his Team Louisiana program more respectful and more willing to do the right thing than when they joined.

Simply put, Big Dave Thibodeaux was a one-of-a-kind character who touched many lives — no matter if you were white or black, rich or poor, fast or slow.

He lived a life of talking sports and helping anyone he could.

Not a bad example to follow.

He was a wonderful combination of Archie Bunker, Joe Clark, Don King, Jesse Jackson, Buddy Diliberto and Mother Theresa.

The first time it happened was Monday evening.

Doing a weekly radio show with him for years and talking sports for a lot longer than that, "Big Dave" Thibodeaux and I have debated the merits of many teams, coaches and athletes.

When one of us was proven to be correct, a phone call usually ensued with a proud, "I told you so."

So it was only natural that I pick up the phone this past Monday, just after the Atlanta Hawks polished off the No. 1-seeded Indiana Pacers 107-97 to go up 3-2 in their Eastern Conference opening series.

After all, a few weeks before I had predicted the Pacers’ demise during an NBA discussion with him. It was my turn to remind Big Dave of that.

Seconds after I picked up the phone, however, reality reminded me that Big Dave wasn’t answering this time … or ever again.

David Clyde Thibodeaux — known by most in sports circles locally, regionally and nationally as "Big Dave" or "Big Daddy" — died last Friday at 63 of an apparent heart attack.

Visiting hours will be at Pellerin Funeral Home in Breaux Bridge from 7 to 10:30 a.m. Friday, and the funeral service is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Breaux Bridge.

A lifetime of talking sports ended that day.

Whether it was area high school football or basketball, or any of the major LSU or UL sports, or the Yankees or Braves, or discussing where LeBron James falls among the NBA all-time greats, or the Saints, Big Dave was always ready to talk sports.

Of course, he had his own unique way of doing it.

For starters, he almost always chose the positive approach. Big Dave didn’t spend much time bashing coaches or players. Unlike so many fans in this heavy social media era, he rarely felt it was his place to hold grudges or call for a coach’s head.

As an LSU fan, he preferred to appreciate what Nick Saban did for LSU’s program rather than hate him for resurrecting Alabama. As a Saints fan, he never held it against Bobby Hebert or Morten Andersen for defecting to the Atlanta Falcons.

Big Dave certainly understood the negative side of the sports world, but chose to focus on the positives.

He respected just about everyone but demanded respect in return, and he had no reservations reminding you of that expectation.

The way he described his views was unique, as well. If you don’t know what "How you call it made a bad SIW right there" means, then you probably never heard or understood Big Dave’s color analysis of a high school football game.

(For the record, that meant a certain player probably jumped offsides or fumbled the ball; i.e., suffered a self-inflicted wound.)

To many radio listeners, Big Dave was that colorful figure who promoted his many sponsors with such off-the-wall slogans as "taking care of you from the womb to the tomb."

To some, however, he was that strong father figure from whom many troubled youngsters around the area and the state got much-needed advice and direction. He was that guy constantly hounding you to take care of your grades and prepare for the ACT test to earn a college scholarship.

To others, he was the person to call when tragedy struck and a fundraiser was necessary to ease the pain for a troubled family.

If he knew you well at all and a member of your family died, Big Dave made sure you didn’t grieve on an empty stomach.

In one sense, Big Dave was very easy to understand; in other ways he could be quite complicated.

He was a wonderful combination of Archie Bunker, Joe Clark, Don King, Jesse Jackson, Buddy Diliberto and Mother Theresa.

Several weeks before Big Dave died, he made the comment during one of his weekly Wednesday stops on my radio show that he was rich even though he wasn’t really rich.

He grew up in the small, rural St. Martin Parish town of Parks and never left. Yet, famous athletes, coaches and other sports figures from all over the country knew him and loved him.

He coached, organized and promoted an area AAU basketball team for years. He loved to tell tales about how a group of small-town Louisiana players beat fancy, big-city AAU outfits filled with future NBA stars.

But what he really loved was telling stories about how troubled players left his Team Louisiana program more respectful and more willing to do the right thing than when they joined.

Simply put, Big Dave Thibodeaux was a one-of-a-kind character who touched many lives — no matter if you were white or black, rich or poor, fast or slow.

He lived a life of talking sports and helping anyone he could.

Not a bad example to follow.

He was a wonderful combination of Archie Bunker, Joe Clark, Don King, Jesse Jackson, Buddy Diliberto and Mother Theresa.