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Mr. Fletcher Songe
Graduated 1963

1000 Sea Cove St.
Pascagoula, Mississippi 39581

Fletcher Songe Agency

Home Phone: 228-762-7217
Work Phone: 228-762-0557
Fax: 228-769-2944
Email: songef@cableone.net

Fletcher’s Living Memorial for the Coach Russ Faulkinberry Tribute is followed by an information update of life after USL, which he provided earlier. His LM was submitted on 6/3/2017 and posted by Dr. Ed Dugas that day.

Russ Faulkinberry’s Living Memorial, Fletcher Songe – Football 1960-63

Ragin’ Cajun class of 1963.

I was a member of Coach Faulkinberry very first team. I was not one of his recruits, but was a holdover of the previous USL Coach Hoggatt.

I will never forget Coach Faulkinberry’s entry into our 1st team meeting. All of us were teammates of the previous coaching staff.

He walked into a dark room with only a light over his podium. He promised not to cut anyone off scholarship and there was a bunch. However, he said he was only going to keep 25 from this group. He then made his famous quote before exiting.

“A fat man can`t fight, and a fat man will not play on his team.” Then he walked away.

I felt relieved because I only weighted in at 187 lbs. Freddie Fredrickson and I were recruited from Perkingston, MS Jr. College which prepared us for what was ahead with a “Bear Bryant” type coach.

After the completion of his first Spring practice, Freddie and I agreed……spring practice was like the “Bataan Death March.”

Coach kept his word of not cutting anyone. However, we heard a lot of suit cases being closed at nights, with players heading out of Lafayette.

Coach had a one on one interview with his survivors at which time he would tell them if they would be on scholarship or not.

Freddie went before me as I waited outside his office. He came out with a smile and said, “I have a scholarship.” Not surprising, because Freddie was a gifted jock.

Then it was my turn. I walked into his office shaking like a leaf. With his cold piercing eyes, he looked at me and said, “sit down Songiiie.” I told coach my name was Songe and not Songiiie.” Again, with those piercing eyes he said, “sit down Songiiiie! Absolutely Coach!

He then pulled out a file folder, looked at it then gazed at me saying, “You are not very fast are you Songiiie.” Guess not. “You are not very strong are you Songiiiie.” I guess not. “You are not very heavy either are you Songiiiee.” At that moment I could picture myself hitch hiking back to Mississippi, ending up working on a shrimp boat.

He closed my pathetic file folder, paused a moment then said. “Songiiie, give me one good reason why I should invite you back for next season.

With sweat on my forehead I gathered my thoughts and told him, “Coach you may bring in your recruits with a better profile than me. However, none will ever play with a bigger heart than mine. I will give you 120% effort to their 100%. I will be the first to arrive and last to leave your practice.”

He paused, gave me that cold piercing eyes look and said, “I have liked your attitude throughout our spring practice, so here is the deal. If you work hard during the summer, preparing for our Fall training, come back and make the first 22 line up, I will give you a scholarship.” I was excited because it at least was not a NO, go home decision.

Freddie was waiting outside. I told Freddie I know what my career calling in life will be. A salesman because I just sold Coach Russ a sales pitch and he bought it all!

I did what he asked of me. I returned at 197 lbs, in the best shape of my life and a bit stronger. After our Fall training preparing for the season, I was a backup center behind George Ballard and check this out……I had never, ever played center before.

The last time I saw Coach Russ was at his ALL PLAYERS reunion. It broke my heart to see such a strong-willed man, humbled and confined to a wheel chair.

When he begin talking about all his players, he first looked at our table and told his audience, to this group of MY first players, “I apologize for being so tough with them. They are the ones who laid the foundation of how the Ragin’ Cajuns will play this game.”

After his reunion gathering, I do not recall his name. However, he is a practicing Doctor, and was a member of Coach’s championship team. He walked up to me and said, “I cannot imagine how it was under Coach Faulkinberry’s very first spring practice. My reply, “no you cain`t.”

It was about a month later, I got word Coach Russ passed away.

I owe a lot to this statute of a man who gave me a chance. It was not easy and because of this experience I am what I am today – A Nationwide Insurance agent who once learned if I can sell Coach Russ on why he should invite me back, then I can sell snow balls in hell.

A Ragin’ Cajun forever, Fletcher Songe 1963.

* * * * *

Ragin’ Cajun Football. Graduated 63, first employment Crawford & Co. Insurance Adjuster 63 to 73. Allstate Insurance Agent 73 to 83. Nationwide Insurance Agent 83 to current.

Married 40 years to Connie (Buczkowski) Songe from South Bend, Indiana. We have three children and 4 grandchildren.

Residing in Pascagoula, Miss. since 1967. Involved in youth sports for 33 years, including soccer 26 years.

Currently coaching Pascagoula High School varsity girls. My attitude has always been sports was good to me, therefore, in my community training youth sports is what I want to give back.

Enjoy fishing and the beautiful barrier island of Mississippi.

Updated June 5, 2017.