Comets’ Monica reflects on celebration after dream season
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 15, 2012
By RYAN ARENA
LAPLACE — Sometimes, a coach can use a reminder of why he does what he does, even at the height of his career.
For St. Charles coach Frank Monica, such a reminder came recently in the form of a celebration.
A gathering of Monica’s friends, family, current and former players and numerous St. Charles supporters were on hand recently at Chateau Country Club in Kenner to officially celebrate Monica’s 200th career head coaching victory, a milestone the veteran Comets coach achieved in the regional round of the postseason in a win over Patterson.
“I was extremely humbled, elated and flattered,” said Monica, reflecting on the night. “There are times where maybe you question why you do what you do for a living. But a night like that puts it in perspective. It lets you know that you’ve touched the lives of people that perhaps you never even expected. It lets you know you’ve left an imprint in their minds.”
Some got up and spoke while others presented gifts; all enjoyed good food and displayed appreciation for a coach who has built a St. Charles Catholic football program that now can be called nothing short of a powerhouse.
“It turned out to be something of a semi-roast before it was all said and done,” Monica said with a chuckle. “But it was really a special night, and a fun night.”
While win No. 200 was the official catalyst for the planning of the celebration, there was of course one other glaring detail on the agenda: the night represented a chance to also celebrate the Comets’ Class 3A state championship victory over Amite and its perfect 15-0 2011 season.
Monica was informed of the plans to celebrate his 200th victory, so the gathering wasn’t a surprise. Still, he wasn’t sure how things would turn out.
“I just didn’t know how this thing would unfold,” he said. “But it went over very well … I give a special thanks to Chris Eichhorn and Duaine Duffy for planning this on such short notice.”
Eichhorn said it was the least he, Duffy, and the rest of those in attendance could do for a man who has made such an impact in the school and community.
“Commemorating Coach Monica’s 200th was a small token of appreciation considering the tremendous impact he had on my son and the thousands of young men he has been such a positive influence on,” said Eichhorn, whose son, Robbie, played football and baseball at SCC before graduating in 2010. “Everything Coach teaches in football transcends into how these young men will conduct themselves in the future. We are truly blessed to have him as a part of St. Charles Catholic.”
Representatives from all of Monica’s coaching stops — He’s coached at Lutcher, Jesuit, Tulane and Riverside as well as SCC — were in attendance.
Monica wanted to make sure they all knew, however, that as fitting a celebration as it was to cap a season, it was hardly a cap to a career.
The coach currently sits at 203 career victories — and counting.
“I told them, ‘I hope you all don’t think I’m retiring,’” Monica said with a laugh. “I hope to have many more years before that comes up.”