Skains leaving Tarpons for Cecilia

April 2, 2016
Wingin’ It!
April 6, 2016
April 2, 2016
Wingin’ It!
April 6, 2016

South Lafourche head football coach Dennis Skains has coached his final game in Galliano.

The Tarpons coach confirmed to The Times this morning that he accepted the same position at Cecilia High School – a program that went 10-2 last season in Class 4A.

Skains said he started talking to the Lafayette-based school last week – initially rejecting their inquiries regarding his interest.

But things heated up over the weekend, and he accepted the job Monday night.

The coach spent four years with the Tarpons, leading South Lafourche to the playoffs in each season. His career record was 24-19.   

He said leaving Galliano is the “hardest thing” he has had to do in his coaching career.

“I’m proud of a lot of stuff we did here,” Skains said, fighting back tears. “On the field and off the field, too. Any success we had football-wise had little to do with me and more to do with our coaches and the kids. I love those kids, man. It’s not an easy decision. This is something that was incredibly difficult for me to do.”

For Skains, the motivation behind the decision is a chance to go home.

A Lafayette native, Skains played for Teurlings Catholic in Lafayette, and spent eight seasons at his alma mater as an assistant coach. He then became the defensive coordinator at Belle Chasse – a gig he held for three seasons before making the leap to Galliano.

Skains said Cecilia’s proximity to Lafayette was a big factor in the decision. He also said there were other factors in play, including the school allowing him to take some of his Lafayette-area colleagues on staff as assistant coaches.

The school went to the Second Round of the Class 4A Playoffs last season. Their coach, Terry Martin, left for Breaux Bridge. 

“It’s a chance to get closer to where I was raised,” Skains said. “That played a part in it. It’s tough, because I’m walking away from the best principal and administration I’ve ever been surrounded by. Gaye Cheramie is the best principal I’ve ever worked for. Brian Callais does an excellent job as Athletic Director. I’m grateful to them for the support they’ve given me here.”

With the Tarpons, Skains endured both a brutally tough district and untimely injuries to keep the Tarpons afloat. In his first season, South Lafourche rolled to an undefeated mark in the regular season, before enduring a tough opening-round loss in the Class 5A State Playoffs.

The team went 5-5 in 2013, then 4-6 in 2014 under Skains, while battling the massive River Parish 5A District, which includes state powers Hahnville, Destrehan, East St. John and Thibodaux.

In 2015, the Tarpons dropped down a rank and competed in Class 4A, and enjoyed success. The Tarpons finished the regular season 6-4, bowing out in the opening round of the playoffs against Bastrop. The Tarpons were close to winning the District 7-4A District Championship, but lost on a last-second Hail Mary pass to Assumption. 

Skains said the Tarpons’ roster is loaded, and the team will be in a position to compete for the next two-to-three seasons.

He plans to inform the team of his decision to leave at the end of the school day during football’s PE hour.

“Whoever comes in here is going to have success, because these kids coming up can really play,” Skains said. “We were figuring to be in a good position here for the next few seasons.”

The Tarpons will immediately begin a search for Skains’ replacement. 

The timeline isn’t in the team’s favor. With spring football beginning in May, the team will face a short turnaround to have a new coach in-hand before those extra practices.

Check throughout the day for updates on this developing story.

Dennis Skains