Interview with Dennis Skains
By Reid Althage
LAFM: How many years have you been in coaching?
This was my 13th season as a coach and 2nd season as a head coach.
LAFM: What is the name of the first school you coached at? What other schools have you coached at?
I started at Teurlings in Lafayette. I was a position coach their, but my main thing was the strength and conditioning program. It was what they put me in charge of and was my baby. I was their for 8 years under Sonny Charpentier. I also coached at Belle Chasse for 3 years under Coach Bob Becnel. Now I am here at South Lafourche.
LAFM: You coached under two great coaches in Charpentier and Becnel. What did you learn from them?
Sonny is the reason why I got into coaching and he taught me why you coach. He taught me that it is all for the kids and what is really important. Bob Becnel taught me how to be a coach. Bob taught me the organization: how to organize a practice, how to set up your meetings, and all the tiny little things you need to do as a coach. Bob was a coach who I thought never got the credit he really deserved. He did great things at Belle Chasse with a small coaching staff, not many resources, nor the best athletes.
LAFM: What made you get into coaching? Who or what influenced you the most?
Well one of the reason I wanted to get into coaching was Sonny Charpentier. My team went 1-9 my junior year of high school. Sonny came in my senior year and our team went 10-0. I fell in love with the way he coached and the energy and excitement he brought with him. We had a great year, and I always knew I wanted to be a part of something like that.
LAFM: Did you go to college?
I went to Mississippi College in Jackson Mississippi. I played safety for them for 4 years. As soon as my senior year was over I went back to Teurlings. At the time, I hated teaching but loved to coach. I ended up coaching in the fall and then would play professional arena league ball in the spring. I played for the Mobile Wizards (not a great professional program we went 0-16) then went on to Columbus Georgia and eventually played with a team in Shreveport.
LAFM: Who are some of the best players you’ve ever coached?
If I had to pick two of them, I would choose Quadry Antoine and Peyton Guidry. Quadry I coached at Belle Chasse and is now at Mississippi State. Peyton just finished his senior season here at South Lafourche and will be playing at Northwestern next year. Obviously, I have been around alot of good players. With players such as those two you really do not have to coach. You just kind of point them in the right direction.
LAFM: What would you like to see changed in Louisiana High School football?
I do not like the split. I understand it and why we are doing it. As far as recruiting, if it is happening, I understand some public schools may be just as guilty. I really wish the game was more pure. Sometimes adults take winning way to seriously, and it is like what are you teaching your kids. You care about winning so much you are cheating other kids. You may have helped your team, but you have cheated other teams from something else they could have had. You know I want to win as well. I hate losing, yet I understand why I am doing this job. We should all be teaching these kids the same thing which is how to be successful when they leave us. One thing I learned form Sonny Charpentier. If you do not have the athletes, it is then your job to coach them up.
LAFM: Do you think the brand of Louisiana football is different than anywhere else?
I do not want to say it is better or worse. I just have not been all over the country and do not have the experience to say so. I do think Louisiana Football has put themselves in the upper level with Texas and the bigger states.
LAFM: Do you feel like the offense/defensive philosophies differ between North and South Louisiana?
For a long time I felt like it was a bit different, but it is hard to say. In the north, I felt like it was a little more hard-nosed and run the football, yet then their are teams like Evangel. When they were at the top of their game, they would go into the shotgun, 5 wide, and fling it around the park. Then when you think of like New Orleans, you think spread offense and alot of speed. Yet, Look at John Curtis. They are sitting in the middle and they run the ball all game.
LAFM: Who is your favorite NFL or colllege player of all time and why?
Ray Lewis- I mean that as a football player and not as a person. I mean I just do not know him as a person so I cannot judge him. As a football player, he is one of those rare people that combines talent with that upper elite work ethic. It is a rare thing to find that kind of person. Usually someone talented never has to push themselves, so they do not have that chip on their shoulder. Know one has to push him. He is a motivator and can push himself to be better than he was before. That is something you want to instill in the kids not just in football but in everything they do.
LAFM: Who is your favorite college or pro football coach and why?
I am a Saban guy. (I like Harbaugh as well because of his energy, but he can be a little loony sometimes.). Not that I am in any way as close to the level of a Nick Saban, but I do like to try and go coach in the way he does. I try to have that same work ethic that you see he has. I know their are better, more talented, and smarter coaches than me, but I feel I can always try to outwork them. Really, I try to bring that attitude into any situation, any road block or obstacle I ever come up against. It is something I try to install in the kids here at South Lafourche. Saban is extremely talented. Add the work ethic and you see why he is so successful.