Coaching legend Shows dies at 75

West Monroe won eight state titles during his tenure

WEST MONROE — West Monroe High football coach Don Shows, who won eight Louisiana state championships, died early Monday morning.

Shows, who was 75, died at Ochsner Medical Center near New Orleans.

Shows will be cremated, The (Monroe) News-Star reported, and a memorial service will be held Friday at the West Monroe High School stadium. On a field named for him, the service is planned to simulate a football game. Arrangements are being handled by Kilpatrick’s Funeral Home of West Monroe. His wife Daune and three children head the list of survivors.

“Don was a great man, coach and father, and he will be missed tremendously,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “He did so many wonderful things that impacted the lives of the players he coached. He had great success on the football field, but it was the positive impact on the lives of the young men that he coached and the relationship that he had with his players that made him so special. He’s going to be missed.”

Shows’ West Monroe teams won eight titles from 1993 to 2011 and were state runner-up five more times. Twice, West Monroe was voted the best team in the nation, and he was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

Shows is the fourth-winningest coach in state high school history, with a 345-78 (.817) record in 32 seasons at West Monroe, Pineville, Jonesboro-Hodge and Farmerville. His West Monroe teams won eight state championships.

At Jonesboro-Hodge, Shows took over a 1-9 team and led it to the state title game in 1977, winning state coach of the year honors for the first time.

The coach took over the West Monroe team in 1989.

West Monroe had struggled before Shows’ arrival, but he turned the school into a powerhouse, playing before sellout crowds of 8,000. West Monroe was featured in a season-long ESPN reality show in 2008.

“We all know how great he was, not just as a coach but a human being,” Ouachita Parish superintendent Bob Webber said. “He’s done some incredible things, and the pride that he’s brought to West Monroe and the school system has been amazing.”

Shows was also an offensive line coach at Northwestern State University. As a player, he was an All-State running back at Ruston High School in 1957 He was a four-year track letterman before graduating in 1962 from Louisiana Tech.

In his three seasons on Sam Goodwin’s Northwestern State coaching staff, the Demons were 23-10-1, culminating in the 1988 season which brought Northwestern State its first Southland Conference championship and a trip to the FCS playoff quarterfinals. His 1988 offensive line included three All-Southland Conference selections, center Jeff Steers, guard John King and tackle Robbie Martin.

Shows suffered a concussion in November 2012 and later suffered two strokes.

Shows, who sat out the 2013 season, recently indicated plans to return to the West Monroe sideline next fall for a 50th year of coaching before his health turned in the past two weeks.

“His appetite wasn’t there,” Ouachita Parish school board member Jerry Hicks said. “They were trying to get him to eat. Ochsner ran all the tests they could run to try to make his life better and less painful and get him into the state where he could eat.”

When he stepped down, Shows hoped to return to coaching. Former West Monroe defensive coordinator Jerry Arledge, who had served since 1993 as an assistant under Shows, took over as head coach.

“I’ve always felt like Don was one of the smartest coaches that I was fortunate enough to be around,” Arledge said. “He was very intelligent, and I think his success that he’s had through the years has been through that. He was an unusual guy, and there’s not many like them.”