Riverside’s Roussel steps down

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 21, 2011



The end of an era is at hand at Riverside, as longtime football coach Mickey Roussel officially resigned Thursday, a decision that will go into effect in May of 2012, at the end of the school year.

“I feel like its time for a change, for both sides” said Roussel. “Riverside has been my life for 40 years, since I was a freshman in 1970 … I hope that the next guy in line is a great hire. I know there are some great expectations here.”

Roussel, 55, spent 22 years as head football coach at the school. His career record stands at 196-82. Roussel guided Riverside to seven state semifinals and three state championship games: in 1993, 1998 and 2000. The Rebels never secured that elusive state championship, but Roussel kept the Rebels among the state’s most consistent winners over his tenure.

“I don’t know what level of success we ultimately had, I’ll let everyone else decide that. Personally, I think the record speaks for itself,” said Roussel. “I look back on all the players I coached, the people I coached with, and the friendships I’ve forged with others while here … they’re all a big part of my family. God has truly blessed me throughout my life.”

Riverside principal Dr. Perry DiCarlo said via a released statement that Roussel came to him Thursday morning and stepped down, thanked him for his years of service and said that the search for a new head football coach will begin after the new year.

DiCarlo said that the school hopes to have someone in place by Jan. 31.

“The Riverside Academy board of directors and administration would like to thank Coach Roussel for his 20 plus years of service to the students who attended Riverside Academy.”

This is the second time Roussel has stepped down from his post. The first came after the 2007 season, when he retired briefly — it lasted just one season, as Roussel returned when the school and his successor, Tim Taffi, parted ways just before the 2009 season.

Riverside reached the state quarterfinals in each of Roussel’s first two seasons back.

That included a 2010 season that saw Riverside all but rewrite its offensive record book behind a spread offense triggered by quarterback Darnell Rachal, who went on to be named the Class 2A Offensive Player of the Year by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

He also has coached track and softball during his tenure. In his final year as the Rebels’ head softball coach, the team made a run to the state semifinals, an especially special run for Roussel as his daughter, Kelsi, delivered two game-clinching hits as an eighth-grader during that playoff run.

Roussel said that he was not sure what the future will hold.

“This time is a little different,” said Roussel, who said that this is not a retirement. “I’ll leave the future in God’s hands. It may be time for a career change, or maybe I’ll coach somewhere else. We’ll see where things go.”

If it is indeed a career change, it won’t be for lack of love for his current profession. He called coaching and teaching “the greatest profession in the world” because it allowed him to help guide the lives of young men and women.

He also took a lot of pride in his program’s accomplishments off the field.

“All of the projects we accomplished. The Rebel Den was a dream of mine,” he said.

“The press box, all of the people who volunteered, the Rebel supporters … those are things that will always be at the forefront on my mind. It’s been a good run.”