MIke's Living Memorial for the Bobby Banna Tribute is followed by his family information. His LM for Coach Banna was submitted on 3/19/2017 and posted by Dr. Ed Dugas on that day.
Bobby Banna's Living Memorial, Mike Debaillon - Baseball 1971-74
I played for Coach Banna at USL as a freshman in 1971. I was the starting 2nd baseman.
I went to high school at Cathedral-Carmel in Lafayette. We did not have a high school baseball team. I had already played 3 years of American Legion baseball with the Lafayette Shell Royals and was pretty successful. I played shortstop for my entire career and moved to 2nd base because USL already possessed a junior who was all-conference in his freshman and sophomore year (Charlie Bordes).
I considered myself a very good defensive player. At shortstop, you don’t have the luxury of knocking the ball down and still throwing someone out at 1st base. You have to field the ball cleanly and I was pretty good at doing that and God blessed me with an excellent arm.
Like any other cocky athlete that did pretty well in his career, I was not ready for someone to come in and tell me that they didn’t like the way I fielded the ball and wanted me to change. After a little resistance (and threats of running McNaspy stadiums until I gave in), Coach Banna convinced me that I was going to do it his way because, at second base, you can knock the ball down and still throw someone out at 1st.
He took me on personally after each practice (after he had run us until we almost dropped) to hit me ground balls one after another until he wore himself out swinging the fungo.
If I let one get by me, I had to sprint to go and get it and sprint back (remember this is after we had already run at the end of real practice). I learned rather quickly to move myself in front of the ball and just let it hit me in the chest to make sure it did not get by because I did not have the energy to chase it.
By the time we were finished, I had the showers to myself because everyone else had already showered and left.
I literally hated him while this was going on, but have the ultimate respect for him for making me a better ball player and a better person.
When the 1972 season rolled around, Coach Banna coached us right up until the season started when he was replaced by Coach Don Lockwood.
With no disrespect to Coach Lockwood, he watched Coach Banna's team go 33-8 (best season in history for SLI/USL at that time) and win the Southland Conference in our 1st year.
I have to give credit to Coach Banna for that season as he is the one who molded the team.
I still see Coach Banna on a regular basis and love him to death.
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Married - JoAnn
4 Children (All UL Grads)
Lori (BA 2000; MA 2003)
Rene' (BS 2006)
James (BS 2007)
Katie (BS 2013)
Zackary (2000)- Lori
Azalie (2010) - Lori
Mae (2011)- Rene'
Charlotte (2014)- James
Katherine (2016)- James