Dauterive basking in the fun of East St. John football turnaround

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 26, 2004



LAPLACE – Larry Dauterive may be looking at the final years of his coaching career.

But it hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm that comes with success.

Dauterive has 37 years of coaching experience behind him, and seemed to be finished with the game a few years ago.

But his success from years ago, which even included a stint coaching in the Canadian Football League, had St. John Superintendent Mike Coburn searching Dauterive out three years ago when the East St. John football job was up for grabs.

“I was already retired, but called by Mike since he knew me from my years with Riverside here before. I got interviewed like everyone else. I think there were 18 guys,” he said. “But Mike had called me about the job and I guess he wanted me here.”

The result has been a revival of the East St. John fortunes, now rivaling the 1980 team that went all the way to the state championship game.

When Dauterive came to East St. John, the team was far from what the head coach knew they needed to be to gain state attention again.

“They didn’t have a good feeder program working and that is where it all has to begin,” he said.

Dauterive put the wheels in motion to build the same kind of success he had had at Ouachita High, and Ouachita Catholic, where he guided those teams to playoffs nearly ever year coaching in the 1990s.

“We put our junior high program back into synch with what we are doing here, and we’ve worked hard with our JV and freshmen programs,” he said, explaining how the Wildcats have made it to the state quarter-finals this year.

That seems evident as the East St. John JV was unbeaten this year, and the freshmen team went 6-1.

“You have to start working with the younger kids, and the other thing we did was separate the believers from the unbelievers in our program,” he said.

Dauterive admits that he had to get rid of a number of kids who weren’t committed to the program. But the end result is a program that is now on the verge of making the complete run in the playoffs.

The first year Dauterive coached East St. John he guided the team to an 8-2 record and into the playoffs. Then last year the club finished 9-2 and lost in the regionals to Jesuit.

This year the team has taken it a step further, beating undefeated Jesuit last week and moving to the quarter-finals, the furthest the team has gone since the 1980 team that won the state championship.

“We’ve come a long way in three years,” Dauterive said. “It’s about the kids being committed. But look at the result. We’ve got a game on Friday that is like a state championship atmosphere. It’s great.”