Greg Curole

It would be easy for Greg Curole to get off of work and go back to his Galliano home to spend more time relaxing and/or with family during the cold-weather winter months.

Instead, he hops in his pickup truck a couple times a week, gets on the Bourg-Larose Highway and heads to Houma to work with the Houma Christian Warriors’ middle school team.

It would be easy on Thursday nights during the summer for Curole to watch NetFlix and/or to listen to music. At his home is a beautiful outdoor kitchen and lounge area known as “King’s Island.”

Instead, he’s at the Cut Off Youth Center hosting a FREE basketball camp — a camp that’s helped literally hundreds of kids in the South Lafourche community learn to love the game of basketball.

Curole said he knows the time, energy and resources he’s given to teaching the game over the past several years.

He has invested money into equipment, time into learning drills and energy into trying to motivate kids all across the area to do their best within the sport — all while still holding a full-time job away from the game.

It’s an investment — no doubt. But it’s an investment that Curole says is coated in his passion for teaching the game he loves to kids, a positive energy that’s burned into the man for decades — dating back to when he coached his own kids at the Biddy Basketball levels.

“I don’t have to do this,” Curole says with a smile before a basketball game. “I know that. But I just love the game.”

It’s a love that’s done a lot of good things for the people in the Houma-Thibodaux area.

Curole coached youth basketball for years before coaching at South Lafourche.

During his early days at the high school level, Curole said he did a lot to study the game, seeking out help from other coaches in the local basketball community. He said through that, he formed a friendship with then-Vandebilt Catholic coach Kathy Luke — calling Luke one of his most respected friends in the profession.

As a Lady Tarpon, Curole’s teams had playoff seasons and helped lay the foundation for a South Lafourche program that’s now a power.

After his time with the program was done, Drill’em Basketball became huge.

Wanting to continue to give back, Curole started hosting free weekly camps throughout the summer at COYC — a now annual tradition in the small, tight-knit community.

Early camps were small, but grew through word of mouth.

Now, the camps have grown larger and some have dozens of kids in single sessions — so much growth that he breaks the camps up by skill levels.

As Drill’em has grown, Curole has continued to stay active.

Two years ago, Luke accepted the position as the girls’ basketball coach at Houma Christian — returning back to the area after a couple years away.

When looking to fill out her staff, she called Curole. He committed and works with the Warriors’ middle school program, while lending a hand to the varsity team when he gets a chance.

Curole said learning from Coach Luke over the past several years has been amazing. He said her work ethic is unrivaled locally and her ability to adjust throughout games is top-notch.

Luke said earlier this season of Curole that the feeling of respect is mutual. She said that she’s “happy to have him on our our side.”

Curole has said repeatedly over the years that to be in the position to help kids is a blessing.

Several of the players he’s worked with have gone off to play collegiate basketball.

He’s also volunteered time to camps in Houma for Sumar Leslie and her program and has lent a hand to others — including others who have had fundraising camps to raise money for various causes in the community.

“Coach Greg is always there to help,” Leslie said. “I have so much respect for him for that.”

Follow Casey on Twitter for more.

Casey Gisclair is the Sports Editor at Rushing Media. A native of Cut Off and graduate of Louisiana State University, Casey is a lifelong sports fan who joined the Houma Times team in Dec. 2009 upon college graduation.

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