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Spotlight on Former Athlete: Edward “Ed” Domingues – Track & Field 1963-67

Domingues a part of blazing past, durable future for Ragin’ Cajuns

By Bruce Brown

Written for Athletic Network

Ed Domingues was a vital part of USL’s athletic past as a sprinter in the 1960’s who helped the Ragin’ Cajuns to conference championships and record-setting performances.

The school is now UL, and Domingues has since built a successful career by staying ahead of the competition with his own business – Fluid Crane & Construction – in the oil industry.

But the Cajuns are still the Ragin’ Cajuns, and the Erath native remains a vital part of their success.

If you’re complacent, you’re losing,” said Domingues, who has helped sponsor numerous UL squads and is a member of RCAF, the Ragin’ Cajun Athletic Foundation. “You have to be pro-active. Look forward, not in the rear view mirror.”

Domingues ran on a cinder track at McNaspy Stadium on the USL campus. Baseball was nearby. Basketball was held at Blackham Coliseum. Assistant football coaches led other sports.

The current athletic complex was just a concept, if that.

Now, though, the RCAF and UL are aggressively transforming every venue with visionary changes and renovations.

It’s unbelievable what people have done, compared to when I ran,” Domingues said. “The facilities were probably better at Erath High than at USL when I got there. I never felt slighted, though. I thought it was all good.”

Track and Field Tradition

Erath High was a track and field power, enjoying its heyday when Domingues ran, but he wasn’t immediately ready to help the Bobcats.

In elementary school, nobody wanted me on their track team,” said Domingues, who also began playing football in fifth grade. “But I passed up a lot of people who matured earlier than I did.”

Domingues initially tried the 880-yard run, with no success, before eventually finding a fit with the 440.

As a sophomore, I ran a 57-58 second 440,” he said. “As a junior, I dropped it to 51.2. My senior year, I ran 49.8 (soon to be 48.1). At USL I ran a 47.5.

I had good coaching from Bob Segura and Willie Lutgring. We didn’t have a training program. I think we had one set of weights. I might have lifted 150 pounds one time.

Now there’s organized weight training year-round. That’s twicefold at UL. They’re non-stop, and if you buy into it you do well.”

Erath won nine straight state titles in track, leader of a golden age for the sport in south Louisiana.

In 1961, Lafayette High won (Class) 3A, Abbeville won 2A, we won Class B and Maurice won Class C,” said Domingues, a 1962 EHS graduate. “We didn’t have a Class A school. It was a phenomenal era for us.”

Older brother Jimmy was a running back and hurdler who went on to play football at USL (1961-64), and brother T-Bob also excelled as a hurdler for the Bobcats.

I played sparingly at end as a junior,” Domingues said. “Then after Jimmy left they moved me to fullback and I played both ways as a senior. At one time, all three of us were on scholarship at USL.”

Brotherly competition while growing up made all three better.

As a sophomore, I was not that good,” Domingues said. “But I thought I could be. I remember racing against Jimmy on a Monday night going to religion. He was running on the sidewalk. I had to jump the ditches. But I was able to keep up with him.”

Soon, USL came calling.

Ragin’ Cajun success

Joe May was the coach my first year at USL,” Domingues said. “He was the one who recruited me. He loved my mom’s shrimp fricassee. Bob Cole came in my second year, and they redshirted me.

Coach Cole was a motivator. He did a great job getting you to focus. It was an interesting time, with great kids. With Cole, you had to win the conference meet.”

Results speak volumes as USL, which had not won a conference track title in some 20 years, won the Gulf States Conference in 1965, ’66 and ’67.

The 1965 meet turned into a showcase for Domingues. He ran on the runner-up 440-yard relay, paired with Don Credeur for a 1-2 finish in the 440 with a winning 48.1, then anchored Jim Barrilleaux, Bill Sirmon and Don Credeur to a 3:14.3 win in the clinching 4×440 mile exchange.

Other wins came from Malcolm Robinson (mile) and Al Nastasi (20.7 220), but it was a breakout weekend for Domingues.

I knew I was in the hunt,” he said. “I felt I was as good as, or better, than my opponent. It was a phenomenal meet. I was not smart enough to feel pressure on the mile relay. When I got the stick, we were in fourth place; when it was over, we were ahead.

In high school track, it was meet-oriented, with meets on Tuesdays and Fridays. In college, you start in the fall and work out. There’s way more repetition, and it all points to the conference meet in the spring.”

Always moving forward

Domingues points to renovations at Cajun Track as proof of UL’s ongoing commitment to keep improving a wide range of sports at the school, helping the modern track and field athlete aim for more success.

We have a lot of different sports that we’re spending time and resources on, which is unique for a school our size,” he said. “There is a lot of attention in a lot of areas. We’re attacking on a lot of different fronts.

We’re moving in the right direction.”

RCAF assistance helped UL land Mark Hudspeth as head football coach and Bob Marlin as basketball coach, in addition to supplementing the salary of baseball’s Tony Robichaux.

Without that fund-raising arm, we wouldn’t be able to hold on to coaches like that,” said Domingues, who praised the goals set by UL President Joseph Savoie.

You can have all the money you need to spend, but that doesn’t guarantee success,” he said. “You can be in the hunt for national titles if you have the money you need. But, lack of funds will guarantee failure. You bring in a kid and he sees you’re not serious.

At UL, you look at the athletic center and all the other work being done, and it’s huge. The university, the city and the area all do better.”

The direction of the RCAF’s considerable fund-raising prowess is now in the hands of Jim Harris, who was recently named to that post by a search committee that included Domingues.

It’s phenomenal the quality of applicants we got,” Domingues said. “Harris said the Ragin’ Cajun brand is huge in America, recognized on a national level. We need to let people in the area know, need to get local people involved.

We need to let them know what we have, and how special it is.”

Spoken like someone who had a hand in the Cajuns’ legacy of success and who believes in their future.

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Athletic Network Footnote:

The Domingues Family Connections to SLI/USL/UL Lafayette Track & Field initially included brothers Jimmy, Ed, and T-Bob. And now Caitlin carries on the family tradition. History repeats itself for the Domingues clan with UL track and field. Caitlin Domingues, a sprinter for the Cajun women’s team, is Jimmy’s granddaughter. She’s got a big heart,” Ed said. “She’s got talent, and she’s also a fierce competitor.”

In addition to Caitlin being a current Cajun athlete, Ed has a grandson, Chris (Blaine) Turner who is a freshman tight end on the Cajuns football team. Blaine played at Lafayette High School last year. "He is truly a student of the game, hard working, and is loving being part of the team," Ed said.   

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Ed and his teammates of the 1965 Track & Field Team

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Click here for some of the Southwestern Relay records cited in the 1966 Southwestern Relays pocket program.  

Click here for the Athletic Network Profile of Ed Domingues.

Ed, Rickey Suire Domingues, Cheryl "Pie" Frederick Domingues and T-Bob provided a wonderful crawfish boil and served the multitude some of T-Bob’s best at the 2010 Track & Field Reunion. 

Ed and members of the RCAF at the announcement of the Jim Harris hire as the initial Executive Director on August 14, 2015.

Please click here for a video of the 1965 Southwestern Relays.

Please click here for a video of the 1966 Southwestern Relays.

Please click here for a video of the 1967 Southwestern Relays.

Please click here for a video of the 1968 Southwestern Relays. 

Videos taken at McNaspy Stadium by Mr. Charles deGravelles.

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Click here for the chronological listings of the Spotlight on Former Athletes.