Terrebonne Tigers receive advice on succeeding on and off the field

Local officials visited the Terrebonne High School football team Wednesday afternoon to give a pep talk aimed towards players becoming successful on and off the field.


“Vision without action is merely a dream,” said Houma Police Chief Dana Coleman, quoting hip-hop artist Kevin Gates.


“If you don’t work for it, you’re not going to get it,” he went on to explain. 


Coleman told the players who were listening from the bleachers that one simple mistake can change their dream and alter their fate.

Injuries can happen to anyone on the football field, he also said, but no one can take away the knowledge they gain in the classroom. 


The Mechanicville native said that he has been judged and had doors closed in his face because of what he looks like and where he comes from. When he first interviewed to become a police officer over 25 years ago, Coleman said, he was asked where he was from. He said one of the interviewers then told him to show him a kid from Mechanicville who has never been in trouble — which Coleman expressed he is one. 


Coleman — who shared that he wanted to be like Terrebonne Parish Judge Juan Pickett, but his family couldn’t afford law school after he graduated college — said his dream changed to becoming the Houma Chief of Police. Coleman was named chief in 2015, making him the first African American to ever hold the position. 


“My dream turned into a reality,” he said. “…If you have a vision and you have a dream, put in that action and you will accomplish anything you want to do.” 


Terrebonne Parish Assistant District Attorney Gary Williams Jr., who played basketball for Houma Junior High School and Vandebilt Catholic High School, touched on how special it is to play sports, which he noted brings together people of different ethnicities and backgrounds to achieve the same goals. 


Williams also talked about respect, not only respecting each other but also the game. 


“If you listen to every great athlete, they are always talking about having respect for the game…on and off the court,” he said. “They worked out hard; they played hard. And they always gave their teammates their best.” 


Great players even respected the game so much that they stayed out of trouble and on top of their school work, Williams continued, and did everything else they needed to do to keep playing. 


Wade Elliott, Terrebonne’s school resource officer, echoed the same sentiments as Williams, asking the players to attend class, stay out of trouble and be respectable on and off the field. Elliott told to players to have fun this season but to remember that they are a reflection of their parents, teachers and coaches, and if they do with they have to in the classroom, on the field and out in the community, they will be able to succeed. 


A longtime local head basketball coach, Terrebonne High Athletic Director Scott Gauthreaux shared that his greatest wins are attending his former players’ weddings, having a good time with them and seeing how they have grown. 


And his biggest loss, he said, was hearing of the news of Jarrod Turner, a former player of his who was shot and killed on September 6. Turner, the brother of Ellender High School Football Coach Jesse Turner, died at 23 years old. 


“As hard as we [coaches] are, as loud as we raise our voice, we care about each one of you as a student, as an athlete, as a person,” Gauthreaux said. “…Keep working hard.” 


This Friday at 7 p.m., the Tigers kick off their season at home against the South Terrebonne Gators.