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Veteran coach Rodrigue wears new cap as head of Lineman Camp

  • Tags:
  • Coaches
  • Feature Story
  • By:
  • George Becnel
  • Posted:
  • June 18, 2018 - 11:32am

Lutcher assistant coach, Josef Venus (center) and other coaches at the Offensive-Defensive Line camp were forced indoors Monday because of inclement weather in Thibodaux.

THIBODAUX  - During a 40-year coaching career, Don Rodrigue has worn many hats, including those of Rayne, H.L. Bourgeois, St. James and Vandebilt Catholic, along with another from Nicholls.

Rodrigue was back on the Thibodaux campus Monday after taking over as the camp director of the Offensive-Defensive Line camp.

A longtime coach at the camp – and just like the different hats he’s worn- Rodrigue finds himself with a different role.

“Usually, my role starts right close to (the start) of camp by setting things up at Nicholls but it started (this year) in late January, early February,” Rodrigue said.

Had Rodrigue not accepted the camp director’s hat, there might not have been a camp in 2018, years after it was created by college coaches Jessie Daigle, Kenny Ferro and Pete Jenkins.

“Coach Ferro called me for Thanksgiving that he was going to quit so the camp was going to end. I didn’t want it to end. It’s too good,” Rodrigue said.

Daigle left the camp years ago and with Ferro retiring as camp director, Rodrigue – a part of the camp almost from the start - approached the only remaining originator.

“Pete was still coaching at LSU and it was one of their bowl practices and I sat in with one of the team meetings with him. I grabbed Pete and I said, ‘Pete, we gotta talk. I understand Kenny is calling it quits and we don’t have the camp anymore. I asked Kenny if we could keep it going and he said he’d love to keep it. Pete said, ‘I don’t want it to die so we got it going.’”

No longer at LSU, Jenkins can participate once again. As a college coach, he was unable to be at a camp for prep players on another college campus. That came about because of a new rule following the largely negative reaction to the satellite camps of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jenkins has served as the defensive coordinator of the camp. When he was away coaching college football, the camp needed a replacement such as last year when the duties were conducted by Brendan Daly, an assistant coach with the New England Patriots.

With the retirement of Ferro, the camp also lost its longtime offensive coordinator.

“We had to find an offensive coordinator and we put a bunch of names down and we ended up with Mark Songy,” said Rodrigue, referring to the Jesuit High head coach. “He’s a capable guy. He’s worked the camp for over 20 years. He knows the drills and we basically have most of the same coaches. The quality of work has not changed.”

The result is the camp continues to flourish.

“We have 400 kids in the camp. We’ve had 400 for each of the last 10 years,” Rodrigue said.

George Becnel | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

George Becnel is an award-winning journalist and has been a sports writer and editor for more than 30 years.