Coach Becnel retiresJun 12th, 2012 | By Terri Sercovich | Category: community
It started as each of the Belle Chasse football banquets over the past several years had started, with a delicious meal eaten on the school spirited decorated tables in the Cardinal gymnasium. But on April 22, 2012 this football ceremony celebrating the accomplishments of the 2011 season would be different. This time around the football team would take a backseat for a brief time. This time instead of the entire program based on the Cardinal football team, it would focus its leader, Head Coach Robert “Bob” Becnel.
Coach Becnel has guided the Belle Chasse football program for 26 years and has quietly become an icon among coaches in Louisiana.
Under the direction of Principal Jemi Carlone and the organizational skills of track & cross country coach Ms. Dusty Harrison, the Cardinal football team, parents, and present as well as former coaches were treated to a special night which honored their Coach.
The tribute included a video, which highlighted Coach Becnel’s playing and coaching days, and several speakers who voiced their opinions on the effect Coach Becnel has had on their lives and careers.
Tax assessor Bobby Gravolet, Coach Becnel’s high school coach and teacher, was the first to speak. Mr. Gravolet spoke of Coach Becnel’s playing days both high school and college and of the many accomplishments he earned. He also spoke of Coach Becnel as a leader, organizer, role model and one who inspires.
Incoming Cardinal Head Coach Clint Harrison spoke of what Coach Bencel has meant to his coaching career and how much he has learned while serving an assistant under Coach Becnel.
Former quarterback Shane Shelley who guided the Cardinals 2001 team to the State runner-up, spoke of the influence Coach Becnel had on him and his team and how proud he was to have had Coach Becnel as his coach.
Assistants Geoff Bourgeois, Derrick McNeil, Josh Euper, and Dennis Skeins also gave credit to Coach Becnel for believing enough in them and helping them to earn their accomplishments.
Belle Chasse track and cross country coach and long time friend Augie Bourgeois informed the audience in his speech of how Coach Becnel trained in college and of the outstanding characteristics that Coach Becnel possesses.
State Representative Chris Leopold presented Coach Becnel a copy of a resolution he authored in the State Legislature commending Coach Robert “Bob” Becnel for the contribution to Louisiana athletics upon his retirement as head football coach at Belle Chasse High School.
During his speech, Coach Becnel thanked everyone and stated individually how much those who spoke as well as many others had a part in the success that he has had. He also thanked his parents Bob and Lois Becnel and his family for their love and support and the important role they played in his career and life.
In high school at River Oaks Academy Bob Becnel was All-District in Basketball and Football. As senior he was selected as the District defensive football MVP and earned a full scholarship to Tulane University.
After a rigorous off season training program the summer prior to his senior season, Becnel earned a starting outside linebacker spot and went on to earn All-South Independent First team, Honorable Mention All-American, and was selected permanent team captain on a Tulane team that went 9-3, beat LSU, and appeared in the 1979 Liberty Bowl.
After making the Dean’s List in six of his eight semestesr, upon graduation Becnel returned River Oaks Academy where he coach football and basketball for four years and served as an assistant track coach.
In 1986 Coach Becnel became a member of the Belle Chasse High School family where he coached football for the next 26 years as its head coach. During that time the Cardinal football team won 60% of its games, qualified for the playoffs 19 times, and had two State Championship appearances. In 2001 the Cardinals finished as the Class 3A runners-up and in 2008 won the Class 4A State Championship.
Personal honors have also been a part of Coach Becnel’s coaching career. He was named as District Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2002. In 2008 he was selected as New Orleans Quarterback Club Coach of the Year, Metro Coach of the Year and Class 4A Coach of the Year. In 2001 he served as Head Coach of the West All-Stars in the annual Louisiana East/West All-Star game.
Coach Becnel has influenced a large number of teams and individuals over the years. As a teacher, coach, athletic director, and sports’ camp director he has helped guide and inspire. If you were fortunate to have been associated Coach Becnel in some capacity then you should, as do many, count your blessings and be thankful. He is truly one in a million.