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Ms. Alisa Smith
425 Rue Carnot
Carencro, LA 70520
|Alisa's Living Memorial for the Yvette Girouard Memorial is followed by information from her mom and the Spotlight Feature on Former Athlete written by Bruce Brown in September, 2014. Her LM was submitted on June 26, 2017 and posted by Dr. Ed Dugas that day.
Alisa Smith – Softball 1984-88 & Volleyball 1983-86
You know that saying….You never know until you try?! Well, Girouard proved to me that trying, no matter how scared I was, was a good decision.
I tried out my 2nd year in college (was playing volleyball), and she kept me! I am so grateful that she did!
I learned a lot and went on to become a softball coach for a while. More importantly, because of her decision, I had opportunities to grow as a person.
Many things that I learned playing for Girouard I used as a coach, a teacher, and in my personal life.
I have on many occasions told my students…Yes, I think you should try out, you never know! It may not always turn out how you want it to, but either way, you WILL know and you don’t have to look back and say….I wonder?
I am very thankful that the Lord saw fit for Girouard to be in my life…..God Bless!
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Submitted by Alisa's mom, Patty, on Sept. 1, 2014.
I enjoyed reading the article about my daughter Alisa Smith. Not because she is my daughter, but she was a very hardworking, devoted athlete and a good student.
She started playing Summer Softball in fifth grade & her dad & I saw every game we were physically able to make.
One of the most memorable games I saw was when the Lady Cajuns won the Southland Conference on 4/26/87 in Denton, TX. Leslie Zellar hit a Grand Slam to win the final game.
My heart still pounds thinking about it. Alisa played Volleyball, Basketball & Softball all four years at Carencro High and lettered in all three sports all four years.
I still have the trophy she received as 'Outstanding Girl Athlete' in 1983. A proud moment for both her dad & me was when time was called in a Basketball game at Carencro High when Alisa reached 1,000 points in her high school career! She made 38 points that night, which was half of their total score. Athletics and competition in anything builds character.
I can say that she has been a bright spot in my life since she came into this world and I thank God for her every day!
Thank you so very much for the article. Wish her dad were here to see it ~~ he was such a wonderful example for all of our children and grandchildren.
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Spotlight on Former Athlete: Alisa Smith - Volleyball 1983-86 & Softball 1984-87
Smith busy in fall, spring for Cajuns
By Bruce Brown
Written for Athletic Network
Alisa Smith gained her love of athletics from her parents.
She found it hard to limit that feeling, and so competed in both volleyball and softball at then-USL in the 1980's.
And she has parlayed every lesson, every nuance gleaned from coaches along the way into a 25-year career in education as both a coach and physical education instructor in Lafayette Parish Public Schools.
It's been quite a ride for someone who once pictured a different career path.
“When I was really young, I wanted to be a bus driver,” said Smith, a Lafayette Parish native. “Then when I was in 5th grade, I had this teacher-coach, Brenda Pierce, who really affected me. It blossomed from there.”
Another pivotal, eventually recurring influence was Linda Nance.
“I'd had four different volleyball coaches at Carencro High, then Linda Nance came in,” Smith said. “She was no-nonsense. She had rules, ways she wanted you to behave. She got out of us every little morsel we had, made us want to do our best, and it paid off. We made the state quarterfinals.
“My favorite sport was basketball. I discovered volleyball in 7th grade. I'd never heard of it, but I decided I was going to try. I loved it. I wasn't fast, with foot speed, but I was decently quick and had a good reaction time.
“There's only so much area to cover. You use your reflexes. The ball can never hit the ground. I loved it. I played back row and got to the spikes.”
Smith's father played both basketball and baseball in his youth, while her mother played high school basketball while growing up in Hope, Arkansas.
Their daughter played volleyball at USL from 1983-86. playing 493 sets in 147 matches and enjoying two winning seasons.
She walked on in softball and was part of Yvette Girouard's building process – and four winning seasons – from 1984-88.
In a volleyball program loaded with local and in-state recruits, Smith and her Cajun teammates learned under Sherry LeBas for three years before a finishing season guided by coach Wilo Colon.
“Linda Nance and Sherry had different personalities, but Sherry was also tough and had expectations of us,” Smith said. “I got to play some as a freshman, then another player got hurt and I stepped in. I didn't know if I was ready.
“In high school, I'd been a setter and a hitter. At USL, I was mostly on the back row. I was just happy to be out there.”
Part of the challenge for college athletes is in balancing classwork with competition on the court, and Smith was no different.
“High school seemed so much easier than college, (largely) because of all the travel,” Smith said. “No matter if you were on the road the day before; you had to get up and go to class. It was tough, studying in the station wagon or van, but we made it fun.
“We had comraderie. We were close. We enjoyed each other's company. We were more like siblings than teammates.”
That chemistry got a new element when Colon replaced LeBas as coach.
“It was different, obviously, like getting a new boss,” Smith said. “You had to adjust to him being a guy, and from Puerto Rico. It was enjoyable. He was almost cerebral in his approach. He was like Miss LeBas, very competitive, but he was a little more vocal.
“I remember Vivian Camacho, who was our main setter. She was just incredible. You had to be ready. You knew we had weapons we hadn't had before, so you had to get better to stay in.”
Colon's Cajuns put together a 26-12 record that season.
Teammate Ursula Quoyeser played both volleyball and softball for the Cajuns, inspiring Smith to walk on in softball as a sophomore.
“I loved the game of softball, too, so I decided to see what happens,” Smith said. “My first two years, I didn't play much. Then my junior year they told me they wanted me to move from third base to outfield. We had just signed Jeanine Johnson at third, who was amazing. She could hit a lot better than me.
“I played left field my senior year.”
The Cajuns played in a new park – now Lamson Park – while Smith played, and she recalled the team-wide ritual of gathering up infield rocks in cups for disposal. Bit by bit, rock by rock, a program was taking shape.
“I never thought about it, and see where it is now,” Smith said. “It always amazed me how all these girls in the region wanted to be Lady Cajuns. I was always hopeful (that) things were going well. I just figured that's how it was supposed to happen.
“Yvette Girouard knew exactly what she wanted. It was awesome, the knowledge she had of the game. She's one of the reasons I wanted to coach softball. It's a strategic game – if this, then that.
“She was no-nonsense. It was 'my way, or (ride) the pine.' I enjoyed playing for her. I learned a lot.”
She absorbed much from each stop.
“I grasped bits and pieces from all of them,” Smith said. “Like Coach Nance, I had kids sign contracts. From Sherry, I learned how to be caring and kind, and still be a good coach.
“I coached with Linda at Lafayette High as her assistant in volleyball (while also leading the LHS softball program for 9 years),” Smith said. “During two-a-days, I heard that voice of hers and knew I had to get on the stick.
“My last four years at Lafayette High, I went to conference after conference to learn as much as I could. I had a special group of freshmen coming in that included Micah Barbato, Christine Moorman, Rachel Martin, Julie Bourgeois, Nicole Palombo and Kristy Gary.
“I could see the gifts they had, and I didn't want to sell them short. It paid off. Their senior year, we reached the state finals, losing 2-1 to Denham Springs in 11 innings.”
That drive took its toll, though.
“After that, I walked away,” Smith said. “I was ready for something not as intense. It took it out of me. It was stressful, hard work. It was time.”
Smith coached 9 years at Lafayette High, 4 coaching at Broussard Middle School and has spent the last 12 in physical education at Judice Middle School.
“I do miss it,” Smith admitted. “I miss what goes with coaching. But, I lost my dad in 2000, and lost my passion.”
|Softball:|| 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988|
|Volleyball:|| 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986|
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