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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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Longtime Tarpons to go out together

Longtime Tarpons to go out together

In the 1980s, Tommy Gisclair and Joey Guidroz got into coaching together — each working with the football and track and field teams.

Now, more than 30 years later, the two are stepping away together, too, leaving behind a lifetime of service where they’ve helped literally thousands of kids in the community mold into adults through sports.

Gisclair and Guidroz announced that the 2017-18 athletic year would be their last in their coaching roles, the end of a long, successful era for both men in the Tarpons’ athletic department.

Gisclair was a longtime football and track assistant coach, who even enjoyed a stint as head football coach in the mid-2000s.

Guidroz worked with the football team for 24 years, but was the head of the school’s track and cross country programs for 32 years.

Both men said leaving the Tarpon community will be tough, but added that they’re grateful for amazing rides.

Gisclair is retiring from teaching altogether, while Guidroz has one more year to teach before retiring, as well. In that year, he said he will help the track and field and cross country programs in their transition period.

“It’s been great. I’m just so blessed,” Gisclair said during a spring football scrimmage, which marked his final time coaching in Galliano. “There are a lot of people to thank and the kids have just been incredible. It’s been an amazing ride.”

“We started working together, so we decided we would go out together,” Guidroz said of working with Gisclair. “Being a part of this school and community are a unique experience. We have always had support, volunteers — anything we needed to help us progress, we had it. The fans have been great, and it’s just unique here. Once you cross that Intracoastal Bridge, things change. We take it for granted, but when you see other schools, you realize just how special things are here.”

Both men helped the South Lafourche athletic department thrive.

In football, the men were part of the coaching staffs of several postseason teams — including in 2005 when Guidroz worked for Gisclair when he head coached the team to the playoffs.

In track and field, the men helped turn the Tarpons into a state powerhouse.

In Guidroz’s time as head coach, South Lafourche had a run of 16-straight, then 5-straight cross country district championships. In track and field, the Tarpons won 14 district titles in the span from 1997-2014.

Guidroz said the Tarpons were successful because of big numbers and tremendous support. He said he wanted to thank T-Paul Pierce, Charlie Comeaux and others for volunteering their time over the years and also to Gisclair, who he said was the best field coach in the state.

In Guidroz’s time, the Tarpons sent dozens of performers to the next level — another source of pride for both men.

“Our goal was to put South Lafourche on the map,” Guidroz said. “And I think we did. I think we accomplished that. Whatever meet we went to, people knew who South Lafourche was.”

So now, retirement will bring spare time — something neither man has had in a while.

Gisclair said his heart will always be with the Tarpons and he will follow the team, while also spending time with friends and family. His son is an assistant coach at Nicholls State University and he’s also close friends with LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron.

Guidroz said he will help train kids who want a little extra help in track, but will also spend time outdoors at a couple of camps he has around the area.

Both men agreed that even while stepping away, they will always be Tarpons.

“We will still be rooting them on and wishing them well,” Gisclair said. “They’ll always be in my heart forever.”