How training goes well beyond the gridiron
The relationship between coaches and their players is a unique connection. It’s a special bond forged through countless hours on and off the practice field. It goes well beyond the stadium and the beloved game days.
A strong work ethic is something Lafayette High football player Koi Thomas knows is vital to have to be successful.
“If you want to be good at something, whether it’s on the football field or in school, you have to practice, you have to study,” said Thomas as he points out that working hard is something his head coach, Rob Pool, instills in his players.
Often, players like Thomas are extensions of their coaches. Athletes who are able to lead their teammates while emulating their coaches. Much like a captain who leads his troops while serving under the general.
“The greatest honor that I’ve had in my entire life was being elected as a permanent team captain in my senior year,” said UL Director of Football Operations Troy Wingerter, who is a former player and current coach for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
“The best part about sports is the ability to be able to learn how to deal with failure and succeed afterward. It is the hallmark of what you get in sports,” he added.
Thomas, a senior for the Mighty Lions, said he strives to be an understanding leader – whether it’s a listening ear for fellow teammates or assisting with a problem. It’s a trait that should serve him well on the police force, as he hopes to be a police officer one day.
“I want to make a change,” said Thomas. “A lot of people say they hate the Justice system. But, why hate it? Join it, change it and try to make it better.”
School: Lafayette High School
Position: Wide Receiver
“Coach Pool is one of the best people I could ever meet. He speaks to us like we’re his children. He shows us love, and he cares for us.” – Koi Thomas
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Education: Working to attain a Doctoral in Higher Education Leadership
Position: UL Director of Football Operations
“I refer to my players and the team (Ragin’ Cajuns football team) as my kids. It’s very important for me that my children grow up to be character-driven young men, just like it was important for me that my players were the same way.” – Coach Troy Wingerter