LAFAYETTE, La (KLFY) – Billy Napier is without a doubt the most successful UL head coach in program history.
First-ever road win over a top-25 opponent.
First-ever national ranking.
Longest win streak in school history.
First-ever outright Sun Belt title.
But the big win was how he connected with people off the field – his players and the fans.
“You feel like you got into coaching because you wanna help young people, you wanna impact people,” Napier says. “The reality is they impact you. You get the result that you want from them,” Napier says. “I think that’s the gratification in coaching if that makes sense.”
Defensive lineman Zi’Yon Hill and quarterback Levi Lewis reflected after the game on the four years they played for Coach Napier.
The consistent theme was how well he cared for his players.
“He understood me as a human being other than a football player,” Hill says. “I’ll say that’s the biggest thing. I wouldn’t trade him for the world.”
“Just personally speaking, he changed my life from a mental standpoint and from the game,” Lewis says. “How I approach the game, even outside of football, he would talk to us about life, talking to us about how it’s bigger than football.”
Though the Georgia native spent just four years in Lafayette, he connected with the community like a local could, inspired by the fans that supported him.
“I don’t know what it is about the people, but it’s unique,” Napier says. “They’ll give you the shirt off their back. We’ve tried to play off of that and create it amongst our team. I think we did. I think we did.”
From his first walk into Cajun Field to his last Napier built a lasting culture, one he believes will continue in the next chapter of Louisiana Football.
“I would say that I’m hopeful that some of the progress that’s been made will be continued,” Napier says. “I don’t think it’s over if that makes sense.”