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Spotlight on Former Athlete: Gerald Broussard - Football 1979-83;Coaches 84,86-98,08-10;Voices Athl
By Bruce Brown
LAFAYETTE – Along the way in South Lousiana, if you stay around long enough, you'll get tagged with a nickname.
It may reflect size, or family connections, or occupation, but you know who it is right away.
Say “Big G” and 99 out of 100 residents will say, Gerald Broussard.
Many millenials will identify him as the to-the-point color man on radio broadcasts of UL Ragin' Cajun football games, and they would be right.
But Broussard was well known long before that.
He first gained notice for his baseball prowess, then morphed into a starting guard on a Lafayette High team that reached the Class 4A state football semifinals in 1978.
To no one's surprise, he signed with then-USL's Ragin' Cajuns in football and became a starter under Sam Robertson, finishing on a 1983 team that won its final three games.
Broussard became a graduate assistant coach, then left to learn more as an assistant at Livingston University.
When an opening came late in the summer of 1986 with the Cajuns and coach Nelson Stokley, Broussard headed back home.
“I'm the only coach who was on Nelson's staff from his first game (against Oklahoma State in the 1986 opener) to his last (Western Kentucky, 1998),” said Broussard, whose relationship with Stokley was testy at times but successful.
“G” eventually left coaching for the business world, but when Gerald and Julie's son John became a UL long snapper, he was back in the arena and was recruited to be on the radio team.
That arrangement has been a big success, as Broussard offers insight, humor and anticipation for the listener.
Baseball came first
“At first, I wanted to play baseball, not football,” Broussard said. “Football kept us in shape for baseball. That was my sport. But (LHS assistant) Frank Barousse kept me in football. I stayed because of him.”
Broussard was on the Lions' junior varsity as a sophomore, split time as a junior, then became a starter in 1978.
“I kept growing,” he said. “I worked on weights. Coach told me how to use my hands. We focused on details.”
Three players from that line signed college scholarships – Broussard, tackles Lynn Pesson and Glenn Yockey - while center Peter Saab anchored and Doug Domingue manned the other guard spot.
Quarterback Dwight Prudomme led the attack that included running back Mike Saab, fullback Gene Cella, tight end Dwayne Delhomme and wide receivers Matt Roth and Mark Barousse.
“We had a lot of talent,” Broussard said, “and the coaches made the system fit around the talent. They (Prudhomme, backs, receivers) were running pass skel before anyone else was. They worked all summer. We were doing a lot of things you see teams do now.”
Broussard was playing American Legion Baseball that summer for Mr. Cook coach Gerald Hebert, but was ready for the senior year of football.
The Lions knocked off New Iberia 21-20 in a legendary game in which coach Bob Mahfouz distributed black-shirt uniforms beforehand instead of the usual Kelly green to rouse his troops.
“We went out in green for warmups,” Broussard said. “Then in the locker room, he told us we weren't ready, turned off the lights and started throwing people around, then handed out the shirts.
“The locker room erupted. He was crazy.”
Lafayette outscored visiting Broadmoore and Billy Cannon Jr. 35-28, then outpointed Barbe 29-28 on the road to set up a semifinal matchup with St. Augustine at Cajun Field.
The Purple Knights blanked LHS on a frigid night when the Lions' offense could not get moving, ending the dream season.
Prudhomme signed with the Ragin' Cajuns, the centerpiece of coach Augie Tammariello's final year at the helm. Broussard, who missed the 1981 season with back surgery, became a fixture in the line for Robertson.
The two ex-Lions shared a 7-3-1 season in 1982, led by Prudhomme, and “G” finished in the 1983 campaign.
“Big G” and the Stokleys
Broussard began his UL coaching career as offensive line coach, then tight ends, then receivers, in a 13-year run.
“Coach Stokley told me, 'I've heard some good things about you,' then said they'd better be right,” Broussard said. “He wanted to hire good people, then let them do our jobs. But he said he'd fire you if you messed up.”
So, no pressure, then.
Still, Broussard was earning his way and learning the game every day. Being named receivers coach put him in line to work with Stokley's prodigious son, Brandon, along with quarterbacks coach Ron Brown and local legend Lewis Cook.
The younger Stokley went on to catch 241 passes for 3,702 yards and 25 touchdowns at UL, before a stellar NFL career and induction into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
“Brandon was the toughest guy,” Broussard said. “He would work, work, work and would do whatever it takes to get it done. He would always make that mental grind.
“He wanted to prove it because of the (Stokley) name on the back of his jersey, to show that he wasn't playing just because he was Nelson's son, when he was the best player on the team.”
Practices were often high-wired for the Cajuns in the 1990's, with players like Stokley and quarterback Jake Delhomme pitted against a defense led by safety Orlando Thomas.
“Orlando took every play personally,” Broussard said. “There was talking back and forth. Jake, too. You have plays where you're not supposed to hit the quarterback. Well … “
Stokley, Delhomme and Thomas all had memorable NFL careers.
When coach Stokley had good quarterback play, his teams flourished. Brian Mitchell (1986-89) led four winning seasons, while Delhomme engineered three straight and a near miss from 1993-96 and led an historic upset win over Texas A&M.
“Brian would be amazing today with the RPO – run-pass option,” Broussard said. “They never knew where he was going. He would misread a play, and gain 10 yards.”
“i missed the 1981 season with nerve damage in my back,” Broussard said. “Coach (Lee) Rodgers asked me to help with the younger players. A lot of them ended up being my teammates.
“He told me I owed it to myself to look at coaching.”
The year and a half at Division II Livingston opened Broussard's eyes to the other half of the job, so he jumped at a chance to re-join his alma mater.
Now, some 35 years later, he likes what he sees in a Cajun program that has won the Sun Belt Conference Western Division, won bowl games and has an upset win at Iowa State on its resume' under Billy Napier.
“He reminds me a lot of Nelson Stokley,” Broussard said. “He has a business demeanor. He's great with the players. I admire his approach.”
Gerald Broussard has put his stamp on his local university for a long time, for a reason.
“My family was always close,” he said. “My mom worked on campus when I was there. There are people still around who remember you, I'll always be a part of this community.”
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Click here for Gerald's Athletic Network profile.
1980 Football Season.
Fullback Ed Blanco slides outside behind the blocking of Gerald Broussard and Marvin Parsons.
Click here for GEAUX, one of the 2012 game day football programs, for article on Gerald Broussard.
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Click here for the 2007-present annual/chronological listings of the Spotlight on Former Athletes.
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