Interview with HC Dale Weiner
by Jordan Brown
LAFM: How many years have you been coaching? How many years have you been at Catholic High?
I have been coaching for 39 years. I started at Catholic in 1987, so it has been 27 years here.
LAFM: What is the name of the first school you coached at? Where else have you coached?
Catholic High School of Point Coupee was the first school I coached at. I have also coached at Lee High, St. John’s, and Trafton Academy that is now known as the Dunham School.
LAFM: What made you get into coaching?
I had always had a love for sports, particularly football. And I was influenced greatly by my high school coach, Boots Garland. I was drawn in by his genuine concern for his players.
LAFM: What are some of the best players you have ever coached? What made them great?
I have been blessed to have so many great players over the years. But to list a few Tod Kinchen, Jesse Dagle, Scott Ray, Warrick Dunn, Travis Minor, Major Applewhite, Jason Peters, and Tod White.
Each player was so gifted in his abilities but their devotion was what made them great. They worked hard to be great and that is what made them the best players.
LAFM: Do you think the brand of Louisiana football is different than anywhere else in the country?
Yes. Louisiana football is unique in what a big deal it is. The population of Louisiana doesn’t match that of Texas, Florida, or California, or other states where football is a big deal. Still, we produce the most collegiate players per capita. The quality of our top teams could compete with the top teams in any state.
LAFM: What is your advice to high school students in regards to the recruiting process?
Understand the odds of earning a scholarship are small. There is a lot of misinformation on just how hard it is to be a scholarship athlete. My advice to impressing a recruiter is to be a good player in your program. Do not rely on combines and rating systems. It is more important to focus on being diligent in your program and being a team player. A good recruiter will watch you play and see first hand if you are worth the investment by a school. Players need to understand that they need to be a package deal; athletics, academics and character all weigh in on a recruiter’s decision. There is a lot of promotion done by students and their parents, just concentrate on being the best in your program and let the coach do his job.
LAFM: Who is your favorite college or pro football coach and why?
I admire several coaches and have had the privilege of meeting so many over the years. LSU has had some great coaches over the years, Coach DiNardo, Coach Saban, and Coach Miles have all been great coaches. Coach Miles is a great coach, he is really a players coach and very accommodating to the high school coaches. Mack Brown at Texas is another great coach. I really admire so many of them and respect anyone who dedicates their life to working with kids.
LAFM: Have any coaches had an influence on how you coach now?
Jim Hightower was a great coach and role model and great coach to work with for my first coaching experience. His emphasis on organization and conditioning has stayed with me. Earl Nolan was a veteran coach at Lee High and he really emphasized relating to the players. He made a point of emphasizing that it is important to be sensitive to the issues of teenage boys. Pete Boudreaux, who is the AD at Catholic High, is a great mentor and role model, and I have been blessed to work with him the past 27 years. And of course Boots Garland, my high school coach, who influenced me to begin coaching.
LAFM: Do you think it is advantageous for football players to play other sports?
Absolutely. It is irritating how much pressure is put on specializing in one sport. That denies the youths the opportunity to develop other skills. Our players are encouraged to play basketball or baseball or run track or wrestle. This helps the players cross train and develop other skills. Overall I believe it is very beneficial for football players to play other sports.
LAFM: What makes Catholic High School a great school and great football program?
It all starts with leadership. The Brother of The Sacred Heart mission and devotion to gospel values permeates throughout the school and definitely influences the players. The disciplined environment and emphasis on academic excellence connects with our high expectations as coaches and makes our job a lot easier.