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Friday June 5, 2020
Holy Name Catholic School To Honor Lehouillier

ESCANABA---Bob Lehouillier started coaching at Holy Name Catholic School when disco was king and bell bottoms were all the rage—in the year 1979.
 
Forty years later, though music and fashions have changed, the Holy Name football team is still going strong, as is Coach Lehouillier. Lehouillier returned to coach HNCS’s football team this past school year—his 40th year. He will be recognized at the Crusaders’ home football game versus Stephenson on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
 
Lehouillier’s former players, staff, friends, and the public are all invited to gather together at the Holy Name football field to honor him.

The evening will begin at 5 p.m. with cake and refreshments.

Since it is also HNCS Parents’ night, the players will walk with their parents across the football field at 5:45 p.m., followed by Coach Lehouillier being honored with a personalized plaque from HNCS Principal Joe Carlson. 
 
“I couldn’t ask for a better place to coach – at Holy Name,” Lehouillier said. “I’ve been asked by people to coach high school, but I tell them I’d rather stay at the junior high level. This is where they learn, where you can work with them easily, and the kids – I’ve never had a bad one.”
 
Lehouillier says he can’t pick his favorite player – or his favorite team. “Each team was my favorite. I’m not going to compare the teams,” he smiled. “My best memory is that I never had a problem with parents, and I got along great with the kids.”
 
Part of this positive relationship with his players and their parents is due to Coach Lehouillier’s philosophy of football – teaching, and no one sits out a game. “They all should get to play,” he stressed.
 
“I like playing everybody, no matter their skill level,” he said. “At the junior high level, you don’t worry about skill levels because by the time a player gets to high school, he can be your best player.” 
 
Happy to be coming back to coaching, Lehouillier is planning on making the football season enjoyable for his players—another one of strategies.
“I made sure it was fun for the kids. After the father-son game – and some practices – we’d have pizza, pop, and even candy bars, cookies, you name it. And when we had an undefeated season, that team got plaques. Even the athletic director got one.”
 
He says some more of his happiest memories are when parents worked along with him. “I hated to see them go,” he said. “We were like one big happy family.”
 
Back when he started, Coach Lehouillier first worked under then-Athletic Director Greg Veeser, then later with former Coach Pat Gannon, and also with former Athletic Director Dick Rusha. “Greg, Pat and Dick were all good. I got along with every one of them,” he said.
 
During his time with Coach Pat Gannon, Holy Name had so many football players that Gannon coached one team and he coached the other. Lehouillier also coached basketball for a while. “I got talked into that,” he smiled.
 
Lehouillier took great pride in the accomplishments of the Holy Name football team, particularly since the Crusaders went undefeated for many years.

According to Pat Gannon, who coached with Lehouillier in the 1970s and 1980s, Coach Lehouillier was very dedicated and he enjoyed working with him. “Bob was always coming up with ‘trick plays,’ such as reverses, double-reverses, you name it, and more often than not, they worked. It was fun for the kids to use these plays and then see how successfully they worked,” Gannon smiled.
 
“His dedication went above and beyond,” Gannon added. “Coaching Holy Name football with him was a lot of fun and something that I look back on with fond memories. My thoughts and prayers go out to Coach Lehouillier to have a successful return to coaching Holy Name football this fall.”
 
One thing is for sure: Coach Lehouillier’s football team will always be found praying together on the football field. That’s because another part of Lehouillier’s coaching philosophy is teaching respect and praying.

“We say prayer before and after practices and before and after games,” he said. “We do this for two reasons: First, we pray because we’re a Catholic school, and second, we pray so we don’t get hurt. It’s something I’ve done since day one, and something I’ll do until the day I die.”

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