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Mr. Gerald J. Broussard
211 Belle Maison Drive
National Oilwell Varco
|Gerald's Living Memorial of Coach Nelson Stokley was posted on Sept. 25, 2017. Below his LM for the Coach Nelson Stokley Tribute are some entries depicting aspects of Gerald's background, including one about his role as one of the "Voices of Louisiana Athletics."
In December of 1984 I left then USL not knowing if I’d ever return. I’d signed to play for the Cajuns under Coach Augie Tammariello on December 15, 1978. I played for Coach Tam in 1979. He was gone in November of ‘79. I played the next 4 years for Coach Sam Robertson. In 1984, I was a Graduate Assistant Coach under Coach Robertson. That’s when I left to coach at then Livingston University, now U. of West Alabama. Going from D1 to D2 was ill advised, but I felt it was best for me at the time.
In November of 1985 USL decided to make a change at Head Football Coach and hired the Offensive Coordinator for Clemson University. Coach Nelson Stokley came in with a lot of fan fair. It didn’t mean much to me because I was in Livingston, AL and had no connection to Coach Stokley. I did know a few of the assistants, but that was about it. In the summer on 1986 I was promoted from graduate assistant to a full time position at Livingston. The only problem was Livingston only had enough money to pay me for the Fall semester. I was very pleased to go from just over $100 a month to a $1,000 a month. Rich I was.
On August 11, 1986, while preparing to welcome our freshmen to campus the next day, my head coach at LU called me in his office. He told me he’d received a phone call that morning from Coach Stokley asking permission to speak to me about an OL job he had open at USL. Coach Jack White, then USL OL Coach, had just resigned to take a job with the PGA Tour. My LU head coach and I spoke a while about the situation and I went to my office waiting to hear back from Coach Stokley. I’ll be forever grateful to Coach Sam McCorkle for allowing me the opportunity to talk to USL.
The call from Coach Stokley never came. I did get a call from then strength coach Brad Roll, saying Coach Stokley was on the practice field with the USL freshman that reported the day before. Coach Roll told me if I wanted the job I had to be in Lafayette that day.
I went to my government subsidized apartment, packed what would fit in my lime green Maverick, gave the rest away, and began the 6+ hour drive to Lafayette. I really didn’t know what to expect or what to do other than grin and drive. This was pre-cell phone days so I couldn’t call anyone to let them know. I had notified my parents before I left Alabama and I figured Mom would tell enough people.
I got to the back of the athletic complex said a few “hellos” to family and a couple of friends and went up front to meet Coach Stokley for the first time. My interview was brief and pointed. Coach said he was in a bind because of Coach White’s late departure. He’d heard a lot about me. Some good, some concerning. He told me what the job paid. He told me the freshmen had reported. He told me the installation of the offense would not slow down because of me. He told me we opened the season with Oklahoma State in a couple of weeks. He told me if I couldn’t keep up he’d fire me at the end of the season and hire another line coach when he had more time and the candidate pool would be greater. He then asked if I wanted the job. When I said yes, he told me to get with then offensive coordinator Barry Wilson to get a copy of the playbook because we had practice in the morning and I was behind.
Thirteen years later I walked off Cajun Field after a win against Western Kentucky proud to say I was the only coach to be on the sideline with Coach Stokley for every one of his games as the Head Coach at USL. Coach Stokley had just hugged my wife Julie consoling her and telling her we’d be fine. We knew going into the last couple of weeks that the university was going to make a change at head coach. We weren’t allowed to say anything until the week of the last game. That is a tough way to go about preparing for football games. He handled it the way he always did, with quiet confidence. Some assistants left by choice, others were asked to leave. I guess last in, last out says it best.
I learned a lot from Coach in my time working for him. He was the definition of a player’s coach. It was all about the players. Many were critical of coach for not being strict enough on the players, more of a disciplinarian. That wasn’t his personality. He was true to his nature. He didn’t believe in kicking players off the team. His belief was that if a player couldn’t or wouldn’t conform, the player would find a way to take care of themselves. This is to say, they would either flunk out of school, get kicked out, or just decide not to return on their own. He believed in sticking with a player as long as they were yours. Never give up on them. When is enough, enough? When they are no longer on the team. As long as they are with you, they deserve however effort it takes to see the player succeed. When you signed a player, you the coach, committed to the family that you would see them succeed. Coach Stokley meant it when he said it.
Coach believed in recruiting great athletics and teaching them what to do. He often cautioned me to “not coach” the athleticism out of my players in any position. He basically didn’t want me to turn athletes into robots. I believe in fundamentals as did Coach Stokley, but I also believe you can turn a fast player into a slow player. You can turn a great athlete into a marginal one if he is thinking too much about how to do something as opposed to knowing what to do and getting it done. Because of Coach Stokley, to this day, I analyze the strengths of a person, communicate with them about their weaknesses, and assist to develop a tool box of more strengths without compromising the natural abilities that God gave them. Coach never told me how to Coach. He did more than once, in his own sarcastic way, give me a sour lemon face and say, “what are we doing”. I even had a picture of that all too familiar look in one of the tip sheets I gave to the OL. My note to them was, “our goal that week was to avoid this look”.
Coach was very quiet around the office, almost rude at times. I was shocked the first time I brought him to meet with a recruits’ family. He was fantastic. I worked for several head coaches in my 28 years of coaching and none were better than Stokes when it came to shaking hands, kissing babies, and hugging grandmas. Many people around the office never got to see that side of him. For those that may question, I’m here to tell you he was awesome. Early in my career we went on a recruiting trip together. I picked Coach up in Baton Rouge on a handoff from another assistant coach. Coach got in my car for a trip to Mobile, AL to make a home visit. He sat in the passenger seat holding a radar detector with both hands at chin level staring straight ahead. The only time he spoke was when the detector went off. He’d say, “better slow down buddy”. That was the longest 3 hours I’d ever spent. We went on the home visit and he was super.
The next day I brought him to New Orleans to pass him over to another coach. That day was also void of conversation. At the time I thought he hated me. At the time he may have.
I got to know Coach better my last 4 years when he moved me from TE Coach to Receivers’ Coach. I never use the term WR Coach. I felt the “W” may have been too descriptive of me. When I asked coach why would he do this he said he wanted me to coach Brandon. To this day that is the biggest professional compliment I have ever received. Coach spent a lot of time around my office during that time. He teetered between the head coach and Brandon’s dad. I know that could not have been easy, but I thought he did an admirable job doing it.
Coach had a really good football mind. I personally thought he kept it to himself too much. As I felt more comfortable around him I asked why wasn’t he more assertive with his coaches. He told me he hired people to do a job and gave them a chance to do it their way. He hesitated to get too close to them in case he had to let them go. I told him we differed in our philosophies about assistant coaches. His response was, “when you get to be a head coach you can do it your way”. That was Coach Stokley, blunt and to the point. I never got that chance.
Coach wasn’t the kind of guy that ever mentioned what we didn’t have or what we were challenged with. There was no facility that wasn’t good enough and no schedule too tough. We would play whoever was on the schedule and welcome the opportunity to compete. I’ve often been asked if I would have liked to recruit to the new APC. I guess working for Coach Stokley taught me not to worry about what you don’t have and sell what you do have. So my answer is “sure to the APC question”, but I really don’t think it would have changed how we recruited. We played as an Independent 10 of his 13 seasons. We were in the Big West Conference the other 3 seasons. We tied for first twice and were second the third year in the conference. We had 7 winning seasons in a time when 8 wins and a co-championship didn’t guarantee you a Bowl game. Things were different then, but it was a lot of fun.
I could go on for a while with stories on and off the field about Coach Stokley and the USL Ragin’ Cajuns. I intentionally didn’t mention the players other than Brandon. There are too many to mention and I don’t want to leave anyone off. All of the players between 1986 and 1998 got to call Coach Stokley their coach. He was my boss for 13 football seasons. I wouldn’t say Coach Stokley and I were ever friends. We visited a few times after he was done coaching. I saw him some after he got ill and just before he passed. That was really tough. I got see how proud he was of Brandon and how cautious he was to show it. He was so proud of Brandon, as well as he was of his daughters, Shawn and Jamie, for the people they’d become.
I take a lot of what I learned from Nelson Stokley in my life now outside of coaching. I am a manager in private business now. I don’t believe in giving up on people. I allow people the freedom to do things their way. I would have to say I am an employees’ manager. I do, however, get very close with my co-workers. I have had to let people go and it is very difficult to do when you are close with them. Coach was right about that, but I chose to do it anyway.
I owe a lot to Coach Stokley for giving me a chance to come home and for allowing me to share the sidelines with him as long as we did. I think back to that August day in 1986 when I met Coach Stokley and how different my life would have been had Jack White not left when he did. Thank you Coach White and thank you Coach Stokley for a pretty cool life to this point.
Submitted Sept. 15, 2017
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Click on the photo gallery, then either Football 2012 or Voices of Louisiana Athletics 2012 and enjoy "Having More Fun Than Just About Anyone" - a story in GEAUX, the Football Game Day Program.
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Football: Broussard tabbed as UL D-line coach
The UL football program plans to stay within the Ragin' Cajun family for its next assistant coach.
Gerald Broussard, a Lafayette native and former UL player and coach, has been pegged to become the new defensive line coach for the
Cajuns. He would replace Shawn Quinn, who resigned Monday after six years with the program to explore other opportunities.
In December, Broussard ended a three-year stint as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Stephen F. Austin, an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision School in Nacogdoches, Texas.
Broussard, an offensive lineman at UL from 1980-83 and a 1984 graduate of the university, spent 14 seasons as a coach for the Cajuns before making coaching stops at West Alabama, Tennessee-Martin and Scottsdale C.C. and McNeese State.
According to UL director of athletics David Walker, all job openings at the university are included in the hiring freeze imposed by Gov. Bobby Jindal on Jan. 15, the day after he took office. Jindal said he made the move to cut back on what he called "out-of-control government spending."
On Tuesday, Walker sent a letter requesting to fill the position to university president Ray Authement, who must forward the request to the UL system board of supervisors. It will then be forwarded to the Division of Administration for approval before the university can fill the position.
UL sports information director Daryl Cetnar said Broussard has volunteered to help coach the defensive line for the Cajuns during spring practice, which begins on Friday and ends with the annual spring game on March 15.
Messages left on Broussard's home phone in Texas were not immediately returned late Tuesday night and Wednesday. His cell phone number had been disconnected as of Wednesday.
With the paperwork for Quinn's resignation still pending, UL head football coach Rickey Bustle cannot comment because officially there is no open job.
Quinn is the second assistant to leave the Cajuns since the end of the 2007 season. Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Blake Anderson left in January to become the running game coordinator at Southern Miss.
To replace Anderson, Bustle brought in Jorge Munoz from Eastern Illinois in January to serve as UL's passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach. Cajun offensive line coach Ron Hudson added another duty as the team's offensive coordinator.
February 21, 2008
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Assistant Football Coach during 1984 on the Robertson staff and the 1986-1998 years on the Stokley staff.
|Coaches:|| 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2008, 2009, 2010|
|Football:|| 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983|
|Voices of Louisiana Athletics:|| 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021|
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