By Ed Daniels, Sports
When it comes to talking down his team – and talking up the opposition – Frank Monica has few equals. Here are some of my favorites:
“They are so fast, even their cheerleaders run 4.4.”
Or, when he discusses one of the opposition’s best players: “We did such a poor job of blocking him, he didn’t even have to take a post-game shower.”
Or, my favorite, which causes me to laugh every time I hear it every summer: (Reporter) “Coach, how good are you guys going to be?” (Coach) “We are so bad, we can’t even break the huddle.” And, then this little nugget: “I am not sure we can make a first down.”
If you go to his school’s quarterback club meeting on a Tuesday night, you can hear from the coach himself about how talented his opponent is. Then, on Friday night, his team wins by 40, and he seems incredibly surprised. Or, he is just sly like a fox.
His teams practice hard every day. They are a mirror image of him. He turns 69 years old on Oct. 3.
Two years ago, when a WGNO Sports reporter asked Monica how long he planned to coach, his reply was immediate.
“Forever,” Monica said.
Monica wins, a lot. Last year, his Comets reached the Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Classic Division III championship game, losing to Riverside. It may have been one of his best coaching jobs ever.
In Monica’s career, that is saying a lot. He won a state championship at Lutcher in 1978. Thirty-three years later, he won another at St. Charles Catholic.
That year, the Comets completed quite a double, defeating Parkview Baptist in the semifinals and Amite in the 3A finals.
If there ever was a team that had the will to win, that was it.
Running back Lazedrick Thompson played in the game on a bum knee. Athlete Marcus Hall played with a cast on his broken arm.
They were tough guys, just like the head coach.
Two years ago, he had a heart issue. It was fixed, and Coach Monica was back on the sideline. He was asked by his doctors to stay away for a few days. Fat chance of that.
Monica’s two sons are both coaches. Nick is the defensive coordinator at Archbishop Rummel. Ty is the offensive coordinator with his father at St. Charles Catholic and the school’s head softball coach.
Several years ago, Nick was job hunting. Rummel head coach Jay Roth hired him, based solely on the recommendation of Nick’s father.
A Monica is meant to coach. And, this fall, Frank Monica will be one of the few coaches wondering if we are videoing his game Friday night. And, if we aren’t, he will flat out ask me why.
And, I hope I have the correct answer.
“His attention to detail makes him as successful as he is,” says Nick Monica.
All of us, who have been coached up by Frank Monica, can attest to that.
Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.