Local football coach remembers Don Shula

Louis LeBlanc recalls his time with one of the greatest coaches of all time.

Posted: May 11, 2020 9:07 AM

Westminster Christian Academy football coach, Louis LeBlanc, worked as a graduate assistant for two years under Mike Shula at Alabama.
Meaning he got to rub elbows with Mike's dad, Don, the legendary Dolphins coach, who passed away Monday at 90 years old.
LeBlanc says the news shocked him. Now, he's holding on to the memories he made with one of the greatest coaches of all time.

As a graduate assistant, trying to launch his coaching career, Louis LeBlanc was tasked with picking up Don Shula from the Birmingham airport.
"Being a huge football fan, I'm trying not to freak out that I just got asked to pick up Don Shula," LeBlanc said.
Alabama's Head Coach, Mike Shula, didn't know at the time, but that little order for his GA, would be one of LeBlanc's favorite memories.
"Just kind of surprising, because I went into it thinking I'll be the chauffeur and they'll be in the back seat, but no coach wanted to ride up front with me, he wanted to talk," LeBlanc said.
Shula didn't just want to talk, the NFL's winning-est coach, took LeBlanc to lunch with his family on the way back to Tuscaloosa.
"Don said you better eat Louis, because I'm hungry, so we go in and they talk and ask me about my wife and my family," LeBlanc said.
It's one of the many times, Shula made an impact on LeBlanc's life.
"He was so nice, gah he was so nice," LeBlanc added.
LeBlanc's most memorable talk with Shula was inside the tunnel at Bryant Denny moments after the Tide took down Tennessee in 2005.
"He grabs me shakes my hand and says hey coach, heck of a win, great job," LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc says he still can picture that moment till this day.
"Just the fact that don went to that extent, to find me say congrats, call me coach," LeBlanc said.
Sure Shula's two Super Bowls and having the only perfect season in the NFL is impressive, but LeBlanc will forever remember Don Shula as the man who took interest in a young coach, who wanted to be just like "the goat."
"To hear a legend come over to a guy who was just getting his foot in the door with football and to make a purpose, to go fight the crowd, tell him congratulations, and say he did a good job, thankful for those little moments that I had," LeBlanc said.

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