Thomas David found himself at a potential crossroads in his coaching career.
Three months after agreeing to part ways from St. Edmund, David faced the possibility of returning to coach in Oklahoma or pursuing another in-state coaching position.
Instead, David was able to find what he termed the “perfect” landing spot about a half-hour away when he became the new head coach at Opelousas Catholic.
“I’ve kind of known it was somewhat time for a change,” David said after his six years at St. Edmund’s. “I didn’t know what their (OC’s) plan was, so I got in touch with them and things kind of fell into place and worked out. I’m fortunate that it came open when it did.”
More than proximity, the Opelousas Catholic job had several other endearing qualities that attracted David to the position.
The Vikings featured a successful program during the two years Dane Charpentier served as head coach, resigning after a 17-6 record to become offensive coordinator at Cecilia.
Moreover, OC boasts one of the most experienced defensive staffs in the Acadiana area where Tommy Tate, a former head coach at both McNeese State and Crowley High, Gary Fontenot, a former head coach at Sunset High, and Willard Hanks, a former head coach at Acadiana, served under Charpentier.
“I’m going to be smart, shut my mouth and learn as much as I can from them and everything will go real smooth,” David quipped. “One of the great things about this job is that I’m inheriting a real good staff with a plethora of experience. It’s not like I’ve got to come in and reinvent the wheel. It’s probably the easiest transition I could ask for coming in.”
David, a native of Morgan City, played at Central Catholic and graduated from Nicholls State.
After serving as a student assistant at Nicholls, David returned to his high school alma mater and joined the staff of Tommy Minton for one season at Central Catholic.
David went with Minton to Plaquemine High for two seasons followed by eight years at Patterson. He then headed to Oklahoma where he coached at two schools, serving as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.
David returned to Louisiana in 2010 and coached St. Edmund’s to a 47-26 record in six years. The Blue Jays were 4-7 a year ago, falling to eventual Division IV state runner-up St. Mary’s.
While he continued his teaching duties at St. Edmund, David began his transition period to Opelousas Catholic, becoming familiar with his players and coaching staff where he talked about implementing his up-tempo, spread offense.
“We’ll be a lot offensively like we were at St. Ed’s,” he said. “We’ll have to fine tune some things to fit the talent we have here; what fits the kids best.”
Because of the success of OC’s baseball team which reached the Class 2A state tournament, coupled with multisport athletes that took part in track, David opted not to conduct his permissible 10 days of spring training.
Instead, the Vikings will get an addition five days of fall practice beginning Aug. 1 to better implement both their offensive and defensive systems and give David and his staff a better evaluation of personnel once they start practice in full pads.
“We’ll do a little 7-on-7 to learn timing and new routes,” David said. “Within the summer rules, you can go out and teach on the field that will help the kids learn. It’s nothing that will give you a true answer until you put pads on. Everybody usually looks good stepping on grass.”