WSJ alum Tyler Lewis hired as Terrebonne’s new head football coach

Published 4:30 pm Wednesday, January 26, 2022

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HOUMA — Edgard native Tyler Lewis has been hired to lead Terrebonne High School’s football team.

Lewis, a 2009 graduate of West St. John, will serve as Terrebonne’s first Black head football coach. He’s filling the role of former head coach Gary Hill, who departed the team in December after 15 seasons with the Tigers.

Terrebonne went 1-6 during the 2021 season after being devastated by Hurricane Ida. Lewis plans to focus on strength and conditioning to make the program successful on a 5A level.

“I’m excited for the kids. I’m excited for that community. I’ve been to the feeder school and the high school, so I know some of the families. They’ve been through so much since Ida, and I’m ready to bring energy and a competitive nature to Terrebonne,” Lewis said. “I want to help these young men grow, not only with football, but in life as well.”

Lewis was only 20 years old when he started his coaching journey in 2012 at West Thibodaux Middle School. Between 2015 and 2017, he served as an assistant football coach at Terrebonne High School and athletic director for feeder school Houma Jr. High.

In 2017, Lewis returned home to West St. John as the defensive back coach for the Rams football team and the head boys track coach. He was fortunate to be with the Rams for two state championships, first as a student in 2008 and later as a coach in 2017.

Lewis jumped over to St. James High School from 2020 to early 2022, where he served as the recruiting coordinator, safety coach, and head girls track coach.

Growing up in the River Parishes shaped Lewis into the person he is today.

“Being such a small school, we never played smaller schools until it was time for district and the playoffs. We always played up. Mentally and physically, it prepared you for challenges. It prepared you to never back down. I owe a lot to West St. John. I’m forever grateful for my community and the River Parishes all together,” Lewis said.

Terrebonne is the opposite of a small school. Destrehan, Hahnville and East St. John are among the powerhouses in the ultra-competitive Class 5A.

“I call it the belly of the beast. Man, 5A is like the SEC,” Lewis said. “In order to beat teams like that on the river, you have to have their blueprint and figure out what they’re doing to be successful for so many years. Being from the River Parishes really helps. We might not have as many resources at Terrebonne, but we definitely will have a blueprint of what it takes to be good as consistently as those River Parish teams.”

Lewis said he owes a lot to the role models he’s met along the way, including Coach Robert Valdez, Coach LaVanta Davis and Coach Antoine Carter. He’s also grateful to his uncle Greg Johnson, the current head coach at West St. John.

Lewis and Johnson were both on the Rams coaching staff, and they also coached track together at West St. John.

Together, they had one goal in mind: to help kids get better on and off of the field. Johnson is excited to see his nephew take a head coaching position at Terrebonne, and he’s confident Lewis will do what’s best for his players.

“From a young age, he always had an ambition and a goal set in mind to be a coach. As a person, he is going to be a great fit for Terrebonne,” Johnson said. “He is going to build a positive attitude with his players along with bringing an upbeat energy to the team. He’s a guy that’s going to be honest, fair, transparent and uplifting with a winning attitude.”

Lewis will additionally lead the boys track program at Terrebonne High. For the past seven years, he has also found a love for teaching special education at local school systems.

“I’ve worked hard to get to this point. I’m going to continue working hard,” Lewis said. “I’m a role model for any young kid that really wants to do something with their life. I’m an example of what the River Parishes can produce and what the River Parishes is going to continue producing. It’s a proud moment for me, and I’m very grateful for everything.”