Before the arrival of Vincent Derouen at Northside in 2001, the Vikings had suffered through a 2-8 season.
Three years later Derouen had his alma mater competing against state power John Curtis in the Class 4A state championship game, falling 29-14 in the program’s first trip to the Superdome.
It’s that type of ability to turn around a program and create long-term success that drew St. Martinville to hire Derouen, which principal Michael Kreamer confirmed Wednesday.
“He was kind of our No. 1 guy from the beginning,” Kreamer said. “He’s the guy we had our eye on. We had some other good people that showed interest in the position, but in the end we got the guy we wanted and we feel good about that.”
Derouen, whose hiring is pending approval of the St. Martin Parish School Board, replaces Danny Carroll, who resigned after two seasons, including a 1-9 record in 2014.
“Danny worked hard for us but felt it would be in his best interest to move along and we accepted his resignation,” Kreamer said. “He was not forced to resign.”
St. Martinville had become one of the Acadiana area’s most successful programs under the guidance of iconic coach Carroll Delahoussaye.
Delahoussaye coached the Tigers for 28 years, winning 246 of 339 games and made St. Martinville’s Tiger Stadium one of the most intimidating places for opponents to play.
St. Martinville won Class 3A state championships in 1981 and 1984 and lost the next season in the 4A title game.
Carroll represented the fifth coach to lead St. Martinville’s program since Delahoussaye retired and remains the school’s athletic director.
Kreamer has been at the school for 14 years and is hopeful Derouen, who starts Jan. 5, can resurrect St. Martinville to its past heights and can duplicate the same stability he did while at Northside.
“This is the sixth coach we’ve hired in my 14 years, and I’m envisioning Vince to be the last one,” Kreamer said. “Hopefully he’ll be here long after I’m gone and coach Delahoussaye. We’re hoping we finally got the right guy, and we feel good about that.”
Aside from his track record as a program builder and successful coach, Derouen also had some other qualities that helped him land at St. Martinville.
Derouen played against St. Martinville during his prep career at Northside before going on to play at Southern University. By taking over the Vikings program, he also coached against St. Martinville in district competition.
“He’s no stranger to us,” Kreamer said. “We’ve been knowing him for a long time. We felt he would be the right person for us at this time.”
Derouen spent 11 seasons at Northside, putting together an 83-47 record. The Vikings had eight winning seasons and went to the playoffs nine times, making quarterfinal appearances in 2006, 2009 and 2010.
Derouen was relieved of his duties following a 0-10 season in 2011 that included five forfeits.
Since that time Derouen has taught at Live Oak Elementary in Lafayette before applying for the St. Martinville opening where he was one of two applicants interviewed for the position.
“He was kind of waiting for the right fit,” Kreamer said. “He’s really excited about coming to St. Martinville High. He’s a proven winner, a proven head coach. His teams were always tough, well disciplined and well coached. We feel fortunate to have him come here.”
Kreamer said Derouen’s hiring, coupled with capital improvements to the stadium that will include field turf and new track, has brought a sense of optimism to the school.
“We’re extremely excited to have him,” Kreamer said. “He brings a lot of credibility and excitement. He’s a proven winner with head coaching experience and turning programs around.
“We’re excited for football season.”