Many know ‘Coach’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 26, 1998

By ANNA MONICA / L’Observateur / August 26, 1998

It was a sure thing you could count on.

For years, every time the call went out to “play ball,” Nolan “Pecka” Weber was there.

This 49-year-old Reserve native has responded to that call in one way or another for at least 30 years with the last 13 or so coaching baseball at the Larayo playground and baseball and football for St. Joan of Arc in LaPlace.His parents called him “Peck,” his Cajun friends changed the name to “Pecka,” but during his playground career at least 500 young people have called him “coach.” Hestarted coaching bantam football at St. Joan of Arc 13 years ago before sons Brandonand Matt were students there. “Pecka” amusingly recalls weighing only 150 poundswhen he played high school ball.

“At that time you didn’t have to be that big,” he said. While still in Reserve, “Pecka”was involved with the bantam football team.

Married to the former Jo Ann LaBranche of Montz, the Webers have lived in LaPlace for 27 years. “Pecka” admits his passion for coaching sports was encouraged because hissons played.

“If my kids were involved, I wanted to help,” he said.

Coaching each age group his sons were in at Larayo (T-ball twice, once for each son), Coach “Pecka’s” baseball teams rarely failed to make the playoffs and at least three times brought home a championship. Practice was part of their success, and when notat work the coach was found on the playing field, whether for bantam football or Little League baseball. He also coached junior high football and baseball and NOAHbasketball.

Along with practice, “Pecka” sent his kids to coaching clinics and sometimes went along to hear what the coaches were teaching. He talked to other coaches, like formerTulane coach Frank Monica, to get as many pointers as he could.

While not actually coaching presently (an unusual role for him) “Pecka” maintains his enthusiasm for sports by being a supportive spectator and watching high school games where he can see some of his former players and son, Matt. He makes road trips andclaims an interest in all sports.

Some former players he coached include the late Ray Laiche, who played football at Jesuit and Tulane, Drew Prejean, who played baseball for Louisiana Tech, Kyle Acosta, who played football at Jesuit and Nicholls, and more recently, Ty Monica, who lettered in baseball and football for St. Charles Catholic. Chances are when you hear of localstar athletes, “Pecka” Weber has coached them.

“Peck” was always invited by some of his former players of even 23 years ago to play with them when the Knights of Columbus went to Lafayette to play a state tournament. He accepted twice.The driving force behind Weber has been his own two sons, but it goes even beyond that. Being around the kids is his payoff.”Trying to make them stay straight, being friends with them is the biggest thing,” he said. “They have enough parenthood – I want to be their friend. During the game I wouldtell them ‘I might holler at you, but once I do, it’s over, I’m not mad at you.'”Jo Ann Weber supported the time he spent on the field because she knew he enjoyed it so much and he was with his kids. She went out there and helped, too, just to supporthim. “Pecka” coached Lebro football before he started with St. Joan of Arc. Kids fromhigh school and college still come up to him and call him “Coach.” That means so muchto him.

When his boys finished Little League “Pecka” knew it would be tough to leave coaching, but felt he had to be wherever they were in doing other things.

Later, “Pecka” said he may go back to coaching young kids. Having had several titles,no matter what the local Little League program is called, “Pecka” Weber has been a part of its existence. And for the greater part of its existence and for the greater partof his life he has been “coach.”

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