Interview with David Feaster
By Reid Althage
LAFM: How many years have you been coaching at Parkway High School? Where was your first ever coaching job?
This year coming up will be my fourth year as HC of Parkway. My first ever coaching job was in 1981 at Jennings High School where I was an assistant. Ronnie Chaumont was the Head Coach at the time.
LAFM: Did you grow up in the Louisiana area? Where did you go to school and did you play football? Did you get a degree?
Yes, I grew up in Mamou Louisiana. I went to Mamou High School where my dad was the head football coach at the time. I played qb for the football team. I did not go on to play in college. I went to Louisiana Tech and got my degree in Mass Education.
LAFM: What made you get into coaching?
Well, my freshman year of college I actually chose engineering as my major. I ended up working offshore that summer, and I got to picturing my life and my future. I felt like I wanted to do something that would have done some good. I am a christian, and I was looking for a way to bring glory to God in some way. Helping young people is what I decided. It was a natural thing for me to teach math and coach football which were both things I knew a lot about. I want to be around kids and make an impact on their lives.
LAFM: Who are some coaches that had a great influence on you?
My dad stands out above any others. He was an all around people person and a great motivator. He was always great at taking on loss causes. He was great with college coaches, opposing coaches, and handling the community. My dad never had a great job in the sense that his team never had a lot of athletes, money, or support. Still, he certainly made the most out of whatever resources he had available. He was just a great guy and great coach.
LAFM: Who are some of the great players that you have played for you at Parkway?
Well, one player is certainly Brandon Harris who just graduated and will be playing for LSU next year. He is competing for the starting job right now, and we are looking forward to him hopefully having a tremendous year at LSU. One of the things I used to tell Brandon was that “there are a lot of places you can go to be good, but if you are able to be a part of getting the offense going at LSU then you will be immortal.” People who have been pulling for LSU for years and years have always wondered why can we not have offenses like Oregon or Texas Tech. Offenses that can go up and down the field whenever they want. If Brandon can be a part of that, Louisiana will remember him for a long time. He is definitely the one guy who comes to mind when I think of past players at Parkway.
LAFM: Is there a common characteristic among great players?
I have to say every great player I can think of has been unique. The common characteristic I guess is something inside of themselves. It is the right kind of attitude. There is many guys who I have coached over the years that have been tremendous athletes that nobody has ever heard of. Those guys did not have the right kind of attitude and never made it. The right kind of attitude involves a guy who first qualifies. He gets his job done in the classroom so that he can go to college. You do not want to be the guy on the street corner that we talk about like, “this kid was the greatest athlete ever coached but just did not have the grades or for some other reason he did not make it.” We have all coached those kids. Now there are a lot of kids who have the attitude but not the ability. I applaud those guys. I got to say it is fun when you have a kid like Brandon who has both the ability and right attitude.
LAFM: Do you think the brand of Louisiana football is different than anywhere else in the country?
Not necessarily. I think we play good football and do not get enough credit sometimes. I do think football is taken very seriously here and appreciated by our community. We have spring training along with great off season programs. Of course we have very good college football as well. It is not just LSU but the other colleges in the state as well. It helps because I believe we feed each other. There are a lot of athletes in Louisiana going to these schools and making them good football programs. In return, the colleges help our high schools do well. I think it is a great brand of football, but to say it is unique or better than the others…I will stop short at that.
LAFM: What is your advice to high school students in regards to the recruiting process?
The recruiting process has gotten to be an interesting aspect of our job. When I first started as an assistant, I think the coaches that I worked under always saw it as not really their job to get involved in the recruiting process. When I became a head coach I realized it is one of the most important things that I do. If there is anyway I can help kids get scholarships, it is one of the best things you can do for your program. You really get the most our of your kids (on the field and in the classroom) when they think they have and opportunity to play some more after high school.
The advice I give my guys is number 1: do not commit till your ready to commit. Once you have committed, we are are done. You do not visit anywhere else, and I will not talk to anybody else for you. Number 2: Do not talk to the Media. There is a lot of people out their trying to make money off your story. It complicates things for the player, and the media is not what gets scholarships for kids. There is a million of media guys out there. Do not get caught up in all that. Players want to tweet their offers, who they are talking to, and where they are visiting. Do not get caught up in all of that. If you are a player with a lot of offers, you are probably not even considering most of them. Lets find a school that you really might want to go to and focus on convincing them that you are their kind of player.
One thing is that I have learned is that it is different every time. Brandon Harris and his family just went through it all and they experienced the entire process for the first time. They actually did a really great job with it. Now that he is gone, I got a whole weight room full of guys that are going to go through it for the first time. We start all over. I hope they can take advice from me and players such as Brandon. They are going through something they have not gone through before. It is a tough process for these kids, and I try to help them as much as possible.
LAFM: What are you looking forward to with this years team?
Well, we graduated 35 seniors. One of them was the best QB in the country. Certainly, it is some what of a rebuilding year for us. Still, we had a tremendous off-season. Because of our success last year, our kids believe that the dome is a possibility. It is not just a pipe dream to them anymore. College ball is a possibility. LSU might be a possibility. Our guys really have worked hard and want the same success from last year. We think we are going to be really competitive again. We also think we are going to have one of the best QBs in the country again. Keondre Wudtee (QB) will be a junior this year. He has an opportunity to be special. Our WRs have developed extremely well. We actually think we will be better in many areas even losing the guys we did. I believe we will be competitive again, and I am looking forward to the upcoming season.
LAFM: What makes Parkway great football program?
The first thing is that Parkway is a great place to go to school. It is a great community to live in as well. Kids appreciate going to class everyday and seeing their friends. On Friday nights, our student body really turns up and supports our team. Our community and student body has really made it a lot of fun for kids who want to play football at Parkway. You are going to be honored, supported and cheered for at our school. Sadly, you do not find that at every high school. That is the number one thing for us. Every kid that comes to our school and joins the football team knows they are going to get support from their school and fellow students. It means so much to our team that they can share their success with those that support them.