When Frank Monica was honored at the St. Charles Catholic Quarterback Club meeting on Tuesday, it truly was a River Parish moment.
Monica was presented a small replica of the NFL’s Lombardi Trophy in recognition of his becoming the coach with the most wins in the history of River Parish high school football following his Comets’ 31-3 win at South Lafourche last Friday.
“It’s a credit to the players,” Monica said. “It’s a credit to the coaches that worked for me and with me and to the administrations we had in the past. It’s the players that do that. All we try to do is get them in position and watch them work. I think the gratification of coaching is putting in the design and see it work on Friday night.
If you enter this profession saying, ‘This is my goal to get x-number of wins. I think that’s the wrong motivation.”
What made it a true River Parish moment was the fact the presenter to Monica was Tim Detillier, the previous holder of the record.
“It was nice I had the record for a little while but that’s not why I came into coaching,” Detillier said. “I’m sure that’s not why Coach Monica came into coaching. Coach Monica coached me and then he hired me. If anybody in the River Parishes should have the title of ‘Winningest Coach in the River Parishes,’ it should be Coach Monica.
“I think all is right in the world of River Parish football because Coach Monica is right one for that title. I was fortunate enough to be with some good people and had success but if there is a ‘Godfather’ of all the coaches in the River Parishes, I think it’s Coach Monica. I think he’s had a tremendous impact on me and my career.”
Now in his 50th year in coaching, Monica’s record currently stands at 267-87 in 29 years as a high school head coach. Monica has served as head coach at Lutcher, Riverside Academy and Jesuit, along with St. Charles. He also spent two stints as an assistant coach on the collegiate level at Tulane.
Detillier amassed a mark of 266-112 in a 38-year career as a head coach.
For Monica, it’s not about the total number of wins.
“The number of wins, I think, are not as big a deal, as the number of quality wins. It depends who the opponent is. Fans, players and coaches, they don’t want just these ‘homecoming wins.’ When you look back, what signature wins did you have? I think that’s more important as far as someone’s legacy,” Monica said.
It was a fitting moment for both Monica and Detillier. Detillier played for, and was first hired as an assistant coach, under Monica at Lutcher.
“It’s really ironic because I coached Tim. I coached him and he was an assistant on my staff for a little while before I had gone to Tulane,” said Monica.
In another bit of irony, or perhaps the fate of the football gods, Monica started his head coaching career and ended up at St. Charles Catholic. Detillier started his head coaching career at St. Charles before returning to Lutcher and eventually leading his alma mater to four state titles as head coach.
“I didn’t want to start at Lutcher. I wanted to coach there but wanted to come from somewhere else. At the time when I graduated, the only high school that was looking for a coach was Lutcher,” said Detillier.
Making the accolades even more meaningful, Monica said, is being a part of a great River Parish coaching legacy.
“I feel like the accomplishment is really nice because of all the great coaches they had in the River Parishes over the years,” said Monica.