Bordelon loved then left DLS in better condition
After four decades of witnessing a floundering football program, I felt Corey Bordelon was the coach who had the best chance of rekindling De La Salle’s once glorious past on the gridiron.
And the 34-year-old coach was on the right track before he resigned last week for personal and family considerations I won’t get into.
From the time I first saw Bordelon work as coach of Archbishop Hannan – followed by his two years of working with Wayde Keiser’s staff as an assistant at Jesuit – I have felt that he was a rising star in the coaching ranks. And when De La Salle hired him in 2009, I felt the football program was on the right track to succeed in Class 3A football. His teams showed improvement during his three-year tenure, going from 1-9 in 2009 to 3-7 in 2010 and then 5-5 last season, when De La Salle qualified for the playoffs for the first time in nine years.
The numbers, including the school’s 9-21 record under his watch, hardly are impressive on paper. But consider this: De La Salle has not been viewed as a football power since the school won its last Catholic League title in 1969.
The school has not lacked outstanding athletes in recent years. Most notable were tackle Marquise Hill, who went on to play for LSU and New England in the NFL, and safety Chris Horton, a star at UCLA. But except for sharing a district championship in 2003, the school’s football records have been on the negative side.
When former athletic director Joe Hines hired Bordelon from Jesuit’s staff, the atmosphere quickly and positively changed on The Avenue.
“Corey brought the energy we hadn’t had in a long time,” Hines said. “He ran the weight room and the practices, and he had the kids in line from the first day. He not only pumped new energy into the football program, but the entire school.”
Hines is now the AD at Archbishop Hannan, a school that is flourishing in its Goodbee neighborhood.
In anticipation of an influx of students, the school is in the process of adding a 10-classroom wing and is planning to build a football stadium.
Hannan is in the right place at the right time for expansion. On the other hand, De La Salle’s administration feels it has found its niche as a smaller school, unlike its “glory days in sports” when it was able to draw students despite having one of the highest tuitions among the city’s all-boys’ Catholic schools. As it was then, De La Salle is committed to its Lasallian mission to provide a first-class education.
Athletic Director Tony Bonura said the school has begun its search for a new football coach.
Bordelon will be missed at De La Salle, a school he loved, but he has left the football program in much better shape than he found it.