Robicheaux returns to DHS to change culture, attitude of program

January 27, 2012 at 10:06 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Stephen Robicheaux leads the Destrehan Wildcats onto the field for the 2008 state championship game. Robicheaux stepped down as coach in 2010, but was recently hired to once again coach the Wildcats.
Jonathan Menard/Herald-Guide
Stephen Robicheaux leads the Destrehan Wildcats onto the field for the 2008 state championship game. Robicheaux stepped down as coach in 2010, but was recently hired to once again coach the Wildcats.
After two years away from the gridiron, Stephen Robicheaux is headed back to the school that he led to back-to-back state championships.

Robicheaux, 49, will replace Chris Stroud, who resigned after winning only five games in the last two seasons.

Robicheaux left Destrehan High School in 2010 after saying it was time to put his family first. He took a job as the school system’s coordinator of safety, security and emergency preparedness, which allowed him to watch his daughter cheer at St. Charles Catholic.

But after Robicheaux’s daughter graduated, his wife, Tammy, sat him down and convinced him to get back into coaching.

"She said we needed to talk and told me that I had gotten to spend time with my daughter but that I had so much desire and passion about coaching," Robicheaux said. "She told me that if I wanted the (Destrehan) job, I should go get it.

"It was all about the wife convincing me and getting the OK."

Robicheaux spent 10 years as the head coach for the Wildcats, rolling up a 100-23 record that included state titles in 2007 and 2008 and five district championships. During those state championship seasons, Destrehan didn’t lose a single game.

Before becoming head coach, Robicheaux spent nine years as an assistant at the school. Because of that long connection to Destrehan, Robicheaux said it hurt to see the team struggle in 2010 and 2011.

"They weren’t having much success and that hurt," he said. "Then I was watching (Comets coach) Frank Monica at St. Charles and it was tough to be in the stands and not in the field."

Destrehan has not enjoyed much recent success, including Robicheaux’s final season in 2009. That year, the Wildcats finished 5-6 and lost 35-14 to St. Pauls in the bi-district round of the state playoffs.

Robicheaux said his first job will be changing the culture on the Destrehan football team.

"I think we have to work on some attitudes and turn the culture around here," he said. "In three years we haven’t had a whole lot of success and we need to make sure that culture reverts back to winning."

Robicheaux knows that there will be a lot of pressure on him to quickly turn around the football program, but that’s something he welcomes.

"There will be extra pressure, but that means there will be extra desire and extra fire to come back and do the things we need to do," he said. "I told the kids when I talked to them that I can’t guarantee that we will win games, but I can guarantee that we will play hard and do things the right way."

The Wildcats will suffer some major losses on defense in the offseason with the graduation of linemen Marrick Charles and Bryan Singleton. On offense, the Wildcats will lose running back Kevin Smith, who accounted for almost all of the team’s offensive production late in the season.

However, Destrehan will return receiver/defensive back Rickey Jefferson and promising quarterback Donovan Isom.

Robicheaux will soon begin to game plan for the upcoming season, but for now he’s just glad to be back at the school he loves.

"This is a special place," he said. "It’s a great job with great facilities and great athletes. This is the only place I want to be."

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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