Interview with Gary Adkins
by Reid Althage
LAFM: How many years have you been coaching at Sacred Heart High School? Where was your first ever coaching job?
This will be my first year at Sacred Heart. I started coaching at False River Academy in 1982. I was at Oak Grove before coming to Sacred Heart. I have spent a majority of my career at Port Allen and Donaldsonville.
LAFM: Where did you go to high school?
I graduated from Haynesville High School. Haynesville is a very big football town. I played for Coach Red Franklin.
LAFM: Did you play college ball? Did you get a degree?
I walked on to LA Tech. I got my degree in Health and P. E. with a minor in social studies and science. I have a Masters in Administration and Supervision. I have a plus 30 in Child Welfare and Attendance.
LAFM: What made you get into coaching?
Coaching was something I had wanted to do since I was in 7th or 8th grade. I played every sport they offered at my school and just loved athletics. Around my 7th-8th grade year, I received a leadership award in basketball. I was proud of the award. I kind of sat down and said you know what this is pretty cool. I enjoyed being a leader and just immediately thought that one day I would like to be a coach. Sure enough, that is all I ever wanted to be.
LAFM: Who are some coaches that had a great influence on you?
Coach Franklin definitely had an influence on me. He was just a great coach and a great man. He was a very Christian man who taught us so much. I try to do a lot of the things he did as my mentor and teacher. I really admired Coach Franklin. He was another reason that probably influenced me to become a high school coach.
LAFM: Who are some of the great players that you have played for you?
I would say the best football player I ever coached was Tony Joe Maranto. He played for me at Port Allen and graduated around 95′. He ended up going to Northwestern State University and was an All-American there. He had a stint with the Saints. Then he played in the World Football League with the Frankfurt Galaxy. Lastly, he ended up with the Cleveland Browns. I have to say he was the best all around football player that I have coached in high school which is saying a lot.
LAFM: Is there a common characteristic among great players like Tony Joe Maranto?
Obviously, they are good. They are good football players first. I think the thing about Tony Joe was that he was so passionate about the game. He was one of those over achievers. Although he had some talent, he was a kid that I watched grow each day and each year. He was also a great person and a great human being. When I think of Tony Joe, he had great character and was very passionate about the game. I think that mixed in with his God given ability is what stood out to me.
LAFM: Do you think the brand of Louisiana football is different than anywhere else in the country?
I am not sure if it is different. I will tell you this, I would put Louisiana Football and their coaches against anyone in the country. Football is very important in the state of Louisiana.
LAFM: What is your advice to high school students in regards to the recruiting process?
I tell them to figure out what school they really want to go to as well as be realistic. You may not be an LSU player but you may be a smaller level type player. Find out two or three schools that are realistic and that you really like. Next, go to their camps. I have found that has worked the best out of all strategies. The coaches get to evaluate and see you. That is the best advice I can give them along with all of the obvious things (Academics, being character kids, hardwork).
LAFM: Talk a little about your switch to Sacred Heart High School and how it came about?
Well I had reached a point where I could retire from the public school system. It was just kind of time for that. I am a Catholic. To get back in the Catholic setting at this stage in my career was something I really wanted to do. It was something I had thought about for years. A job opened up at Sacred Heart. I applied for it. Thankfully, I got the job. I can say I am very happy to be here.
LAFM: What does Sacred Heart Football need to do to be successful this year?
We are going to have to over achieve slightly in order for us to be successful. We have a good group of kids right now as far as talent goes. Now we are not the most talented team around. Still, our baseball team had gone and played for the State Championship. We have a lot of those baseball guys on this football team. Now, it is just making sure we are getting to practice/workouts each and every day. The team needs to really learn our offense and defense. Obviously, we have to stay healthy. We do not have a lot of depth. I think staying healthy, working hard, and also being passionate about the game of football will be key in our success.