Interview with Crickett Crockett
by Reid Althage
LAFM: How many years have you been coaching at St. John High School? Where was your first ever coaching job?
I have been here for 7 years. My first ever coaching job was at Lee Junior High in Monroe. That is Neville’s feeder school.
LAFM: Did you grow up in the Louisiana area? Where did you go to school and did you play football?
I am from Columbia, Louisiana just south of Monroe. I went to Caldwell High School. I played basketball and football there (TE/DE). I went and practiced a couple years at Louisiana Tech. I walked on to the team and was on the practice squad.
LAFM: Did you play ball in college? Did you get a degree?
I transferred to ULM and got my degree in general studies. After that I got my teaching certification.
LAFM: What made you get into coaching?
I think coaching was always in the back of my mind. When I first started at Tech, I tried wildlife biology, forestry, and a couple different things. I always felt like there was something missing. I then took a coaching class at LA Tech and said this is it. This is what I want to do.
LAFM: Who are some coaches that had a great influence on you?
A couple guys come to mind. One was Johnny McKay. He was my football coach in high school my first couple years. That guy was just tough as nails. He was a guy who had an affect on everybody. They had an Alumni baseball reunion and invited Johnny a few months ago. Facebook just blew up with everybody getting excited that he was coming back. He was hard on you, never easy. Everybody just loved him. The other guy was in college when I was at Tech. HC Joe Raymond Peace was probably the most intense person I have ever been around. We were not great the couple years I was at the school, but the guys on the team would have ran through a brick wall for Coach Peace.
Neither of those guys were exactly nice to you. They were tough and fair. As a result, kids loved them.
LAFM: Who are some of the great players that you have played for you?
When I was at Caldwell we had one kid who was really good: Ashton Key. He was a great athlete who had a great attitude. He ended up going to Louisiana College. Since I have been at St. Johns there have been several players who stand out. Rodarrick Jones is a guy who went to UNO for baseball and then transferred to Southern. He went to the Pirates farm system for a little bit. I think he is back in this area finishing up his degree. He would be great to come coach with us this fall. Guy Morgan was an outstanding player. He played DB for us and then went on to have an outstanding career at McNeese. We really thought he was going to get drafted before tearing his knee up in the last game. He was a great kid who was a staple for us here in Plaquemine.
LAFM: Is there a common characteristic among great players?
Its work ethic. Great players are those kids who get in there and just bust there butt trying to get better. You do not have to watch or count their reps. They are always going to do it and add that extra weight. They sprint through the line every running drill. Those are the guys you love to coach. They want it and want to be successful. They will do anything they can to be successful.
LAFM: Do you think the brand of Louisiana football is different than anywhere else in the country?
Well, I have never been anywhere besides Louisiana. I will say if you just look at the recruiting every year you see our guys right their at the top. Any top 150 recruiting list is littered with our guys. It speaks to the level of play we have here.
LAFM: What is your advice to high school students in regards to the recruiting process?
Actually my son is going to be a junior next year, so we are just now really starting the recruiting process. We have had this discussion a lot. We want to try to go to these camps and get my sons name out there. You want to get these coaches to see you. A coach can come talk to me, and I can say this and that about a certain player. It does better for the player to have a coach actually see the player work. Anything that can promote yourself will help you get noticed by colleges.
LAFM: What does your team need to do to be successful this year?
The week before last, LHSAA decided there would be two different state championships between select and non select on two different dates. Before the vote, our division, division 4, was the only one that had 32 teams in the playoffs. Now they have knocked us down to the top 16 teams. That is a big deal to us because we went in at 19 last year. We went to Christian Life and beat them. Next game we loss to Country Day. I say this because we are bringing up last years season a lot this summer. We finished the year strong with a great game against Dunham and a close loss to Erath. We cannot have those games now that are close but we did not finish. The 19th seed is not good enough, and in order to get a higher seed we need to finish those games. Our team will have to improve all around, and I think we will. The kids we have coming back are a good group. I have to replace my QB, Hunter Schneblen, from last year. He was a big time player for us. Our strong point is our Offensive and Defensive Line who have a lot of kids coming back.
LAFM: What makes St. John great football program and what are you looking forward to this year?
The tradition here at St. John is 2nd to none. Football wise the school has been to the dome a couple times and came up short. Year in and year out we are a program who gets mentioned as a really good team. Our team always seems to have a great group of kids. We will continue that as long as the guys we have continue to work, play hard and do the little things. Also, the school itself has so much tradition. The school is involved with so many things. I love that my kids are going to experience the school. If I had to sum up one word for St. John, I would say tradition.