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Mr. Terry Martin




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Email: tdmartin25@bellsouth.net

Family at heart of Terry Martin’s decision to leave Breaux Bridge for Loreauville

James Bewers, The Advertiser, July 10, 2018

On vacation in Florida recently, Terry Martin said he felt more nauseated than relaxed.

His mind raced. The Loreauville football program’s head coaching job would be opening soon. Rhett Peltier planned to step down after one season as Loreauville’s head coach — he was the offensive coordinator there for nine seasons — to take an assistant coaching job at Destrehan High.

More: Rhett Peltier steps down as Loreauville football coach

The job was appealing to Martin for a number of reasons, most of which had to do with his family. They’ve lived in the Loreauville area for roughly 15 years. His wife, Jaime, was recently named the principal of the elementary school there, where their 8-year-old twin sons, William and Andrew, attend school. Martin’s oldest son, Jack David, is entering the seventh grade at Loreauville High. He plans to play football, basketball and baseball in high school.

“Something that (Jack David has) asked me several times is would I ever consider (coaching at Loreauville),” Martin said. “I said, ‘But there’s no job (opening) over there right now.’ I really never expected it to come open. So I knew within another couple of years, I was going to have to make a tough decision. Because in my mind, there’s no way I’m missing his events.

“I don’t think too many people would miss their kid’s homecoming or their kid’s senior night or some of those milestones that you make sure you definitely want to be there for. I was worried I may never get to do that.”

But Martin already had a head coaching job he loved. In fact, he considers the position at Breaux Bridge, where he’s spent the last two seasons, to be “one of the premier football jobs in Acadiana.” The school has recently invested money into upgrading athletic facilities, including a new fieldhouse.

And the Breaux Bridge team he would have in 2018 is not only the best he’s had talent-wise; it was also a group of kids he loved coaching. If he decided to leave, he had no idea how’d he tell them.

With the season starting in less than two months, the timing wasn’t ideal, either.

But when a local television station reported the news of Peltier’s resignation Monday evening, Jack David exploded with excitement. Lip trembling and near tears, he pleaded with his dad to consider coaching at Loreauville.

“In the back of mind, I kind of knew already that I was maybe going to look at it,” Martin said. “But then when he did that, that was it. That’s when I knew I was going to go ahead and do it.

“(Jack David) may regret it later on,” Martin later joked. “But he said this what I always hoped would happen, so that kind of made me feel a little bit better.”

Martin made it official Tuesday morning, informing Breaux Bridge players he’d be leaving for Loreauville. Even though he had already officially decided his future, he still struggled with how he’d tell the young men he’d grown to love.

“I drove all the way over here this morning, and I literally almost had to pull over a couple of times because I was nauseous,” Martin said. “It was such a good group of kids, such a good group coming up. Again, better athletes, but just a bunch of good kids. I just wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. Because we talk all the time about loyalty, about our brotherhood, on and on.

“But I think at the end of the day, if I’ve done any kind of job at all over here, they’re going to go on and get even better. I have no idea what they’re going to do as far (finding a replacement). … But they’ve got players and they’ve got guys on this staff that can take it and run.”

If Martin needed any more affirmation that he was making the right choice, several Breaux Bridge players came to his office to offer their support.

One Breaux Bridge senior, whose father works out of the country and may not be able to see any of his son’s games this season, told Martin he would give anything to allow for his dad to see him play in his last year of high school. Because of that, he told Martin he was absolutely making the right decision.

“I’ve never been a guy to move around,” Martin said. “I would have been content at all the places I’ve been. It’s just that I don’t think many coaches in high school get a chance to have their sons there. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to do it, but I think this might be one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever had, that God gave me. So I’m not going to pass it up.”

This is Martin’s third head coaching job, having spent 12 seasons at his alma mater, Cecilia, before heading to Breaux Bridge. Martin started his coaching career as an assistant at Breaux Bridge under Michael Mowad. He spent a total of 13 years at Breaux Bridge.

Martin has compiled a career record of 76-80 with a 9-12 record at Breaux Bridge. Breaux Bridge reached the playoffs in both years under Martin. Martin led Cecilia to the Class 3A semifinals in 2008.

“It’s great that we were able to hire such a great guy and a great coach at this time,” said Loreauville athletic director Trent Delahoussaye, who was the school’s football coach for 10 years before Peltier took over. “I was really worried about the timing of this whole thing, but it seems like it’s worked out great for Loreauville. It’s worked out great for the kids, and I’m really looking forward to working with him.”

“When the opportunity to coach your own children in high school athletics presents itself, you have to take it,” said Breaux Bridge principal Louis Blanchard in a statement. “Coach Martin was presented with the opportunity, and he took it. We are all disappointed in the timing of this coaching change, but we feel that with the program that coach Martin and his predecessors have built, the Breaux Bridge football program will continue to be successful.

“I met briefly with the entire football coaching staff today to discuss the direction we want to go in. As the week progresses, I will meet with each coach individually to determine who will be named interim head coach/(athletic director). After the 2018 season is over, we will begin the search for the next head coach for Breaux Bridge High School.”

The situation Martin faced Tuesday is similar to when he left Breaux Bridge the first time to take the head coaching job at Cecilia in 2004. Having spent 11 years as an assistant there, he figured he may have an opportunity to one day take over for Mowad.

But both of his daughters, Logan and Meagan, planned to go to Cecilia, and Martin was adamant that he wanted to be around his daughters during their time in high school. He calls walking both of his girls for homecoming court as “something I’ll never in a million years forget.” Family has always driven his career decisions, he said.

Aside from his strong commitment to his family, Martin loves the tight-knit community that is Loreauville, where the high school and its football games are a big part of the culture.

“A lot of times when we might have played on a Thursday night, I decided, ‘Well, let me take the boys and my wife, and let’s go watch the Loreauville game,'” Martin said. “It’s a very unique place. The school and the stadium are right in the heart of the town. It’s kind of like everything revolves around it. As I’m driving through there, I see signs everywhere about the game, about the team they’re playing. I see people tailgating everywhere in their front yards. … I said, ‘How cool (is this)?’”

The challenges Martin faces, however, are great. Though Delahoussaye hopes he can start as soon as next week, Martin said he has loads of paperwork to go through first. He also plans on adding another assistant coach to the current staff at Loreauville.

But when he does start, he said the first few days may be reserved for observation and learning faces and names. He does want to have a meeting with parents as soon as possible, though.

“Things that it takes 6-7 months to do,” Martin said, “I got to do in 20 days.”

Although he doesn’t plan to use the same scheme as Peltier — Martin prefers a one-back offense that can be multiple — he does want to use the same offensive terminology to make for an easier transition.

Loreauville, which is coming off a 3-8 season, does return one of the best quarterbacks in the Acadiana area, junior Zy Alexander. Martin has seen plenty of Alexander in recent years, so he’s excited to have a playmaker under center.

“I had people tell me (Alexander) might be the best athlete to come out of there in a long time, so this makes putting in an offense so much smoother if you have a guy who can do a lot of things like he can,” Martin said. “My message to him is to hang on because there’s a lot of stuff we can do. In my career, I’ve had guys like that, that have just really excelled. Just very athletic quarterbacks. So I’m looking forward to that.”