Veteran coach Perrilloux wants positive options for players

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, March 16, 2016

RESERVE — Eric Perrilloux has coached children for 15 years in St. John the Baptist Parish because it’s his passion.

Perrilloux, an equipment operator with the St. John Parish Utilities Department, spends countless hours after work as a recreation baseball and basketball coach for children ages 5 to 8. He also coaches a traveling baseball team on weekends.

“I normally have two teams a year,” he said. “I have two baseball teams, ages 5 and 6, then eight. I also have two basketball teams, same ages. So four teams over 15 years are a lot of teams.”

Basketball season has ended this March for Perrilloux so it’s on to baseball.

His St. John recreation team, the Warriors, is made up of members of his traveling team, the St. John Greys.

“I do it to keep them busy,” Perrilloux said. “When rec isn’t doing anything, we do travel, and once rec starts up, we stop travel.”

Perrilloux of Reserve got into coaching years ago to help local children.

“A lot of kids out here don’t have anything to do,” he said. “I go to the projects and I try to get the kids to sign up for rec to play sports. We have a lot of talent here. Rec keeps a lot of kids off the streets, that’s why it’s so important to me. A lot of my kids would be lost without rec. They could be doing craziness that they have no business doing. Rec also helps kids move up in sports if they want to play in high school. It’s the teaching stage.”

The best part of coaching, Perrilloux said, is helping the children.

“I could be in Walmart and see kids I coached years ago. They ask how I’m doing and I see what they’re up to,” he said. “I’ve had a bunch of kids come through and a bunch of them are still doing good. They aren’t in any trouble or involved in any craziness. That’s the part I like.”

Perrilloux said when he was young, his coaches were a big part of his life.

“Something my coaches taught me that I try to teach my kids is to respect each other,” he said.

“When I was growing up, it was like Reserve against Garyville and LaPlace. It wasn’t one team. Now, possibly, you’ll have kids from Garyville and some from Reserve on the same team. There needs to be a sense of unity.”

Perrilloux said he feels close to his players and sometimes checks on them at school.

Mose Simmons has known Perrilloux for 15 years, sometimes coaching baseball together or against each other in basketball.

“(Perrilloux) is the type of guy who loves the kids more than anything else,” Simmons said. “He will spend his time and money on them. He is a selfless guy.”

Simmons said Perrilloux is civic-minded because he coaches despite not having children participating

“I would say that his athletes respond well because he gets results,” Simmons said. “He gets the best out of the kids, and the kids love him and the parents love him.”

Fallon Buckner said Perrilloux has been coaching her son in baseball for two years now.

“As a coach, I feel that (Perrilloux’s) desire for the athletes is they learn the game and maintain success,” Buckner said. “I think Coach Eric instills in the kids that it’s good to have a good work ethic, but, at the same time, the game is supposed to be fun.”

Buckner said Perrilloux’s players know their coach puts forth a lot of time and effort to make sure they are successful in games and in life.

“He contributes a lot of his time and even his money,” Buckner said. “He buys the kids snowballs, snacks and Gatorade. For a lot of the kids, who may not necessarily have a father with them 24/7, I feel that Eric is another father figure for a lot of these young boys.”

By Raquel Derganz Baker