LAFAYETTE, LA — The Rajun Cajun’s fanbase rallied to remember a legendary coach Friday.
The season-opener against Southeastern Louisiana meant more because it was the first game in 25 years without Head Coach Tony Robichaux.
“Tough times don’t last, just tough people.” “You can’t sharpen a knife with a Kleenex.” Those are just two of Coach Robichaux’s quotes or Robeisms as they are called.
Everyone was offered a poster full of them for attending, but that was only the first of many ways he was honored.
Fans, players, and family packed Tigue Moore Field for the game but also for a friend.
“Everything is here because of Robichaux,” longtime fan and UL Lafayette alumni Ronnie Louvier said.
The head coach died late July 2019 days after a heart attack. Friday the entire fanbase honored him with a retired number, home game flag, and first pitches from his sons, but it also helped everyone to heal.
“This was a can’t miss event”, former player Scott Dohmann (98-2000) said. “You can’t put words to it. It’s just surreal that we’re here.”
Dohmann and other former and current players surrounded Robichaux’s widow Colleen and their family.
“I wanted to bring my sunglasses, and I didn’t do it. And some tissue paper because I knew I was going to have a little bit of tears running out of my eyes, and I did”, Louvier admitted.
He says Coach Robichaux made him an even bigger Cajuns fan, “He treated me like I was something special. Like I was something important, and I’m a nobody.”
Phil Devey played for Coach Robe in the late 90’s, but his words never left him, “As a freshman, he told me, ‘Phil, be the hunter, not the prey. He was a coach of a sport, but he was also our life coach”.
New number 36 gear which debut Friday is a popular way for everyone to hold on to the late coach away from the diamond.
Ragin Cajuns Store Associate Director Sarah Armentor said the caps, shirts, etc. have flown off the shelves and other additions will come to the store throughout the season, “It’s still so soon, and so everyone is just looking for a little piece, and I think this line is a great way to do that.”
With a standing ovation, the Robichaux family learned (if they didn’t already know) the love their coach, dad, father, brother, showed the Cajuns will not be forgotten.
“What they lost out on (was) those times that he was with us instead of them”, Dohmann We are here for them now as Tony would want us to be, and that’s the bottom line.”
Festivities remembering Coach Robichaux continue Saturday. A player-funded statue of Head Coach Tony Robichaux will be unveiled before a home game against Louisiana Tech at 2 P.M.