The Charpentiers: Acadiana’s coaching family

LAFAYETTE — When the games began at the Charpentier house, there was one rule about performance etiquette — especially when family members were involved.

“It didn’t matter what game we were playing with dad. It was all about competing and the love of competition,” said Dane Charpentier, the offensive coordinator at Opelousas Catholic. “We learned that from dad, to be a competitor. Don’t give up.”

Love of competition and the game, he said, are the probably the primary motivators that led him and brother, Roch Charpentier, to follow their father, Teurlings Catholic football coach Sonny Charpentier, into high school coaching.

It’s also probably no coincidence that all three are offensive-minded coaches, the side of the ball where they can create attack-style formations, said Roch Charpentier, offensive coordinator at Vermilion Catholic in Abbeville.

“I think we’re all on the offensive side by default,” Roch said. “We all played offensive positions. That’s what we know best.”

Sonny, whose has 168 wins at Teurlings, said he never intended for his sons to become football coaches, but he’s not surprised they made the choice.

Coaching is not the vocation for one Charpentier brother, Brandon, the oldest sibling, who chose to become a Marine and is now a project manager for an offshore business in Morgan City.

Dane was a receiver at Teurlings, and Roch followed by quarterbacking the Rebels. Both played college football and spent time as assistants with their father before launching their own paths.

The urge to coach wasn’t apparent initially with Roch, but Sonny said he always suspected Dane would be calling plays.

“With Roch, I think it got to the point where he thought he liked (coaching),” Sonny said. “He got the job at (Vermilion Catholic), and it fit. Roch was always the one who was the business person, but in the end, I think he went with his heart. He’s been around (coaching) all his life, and I think he realized he liked it.

“Dane was in education from the beginning. Both are young and good at what they do. I’m proud of them.”

Roch and Dane said they couldn’t let go of their feelings for football.

“A lot of what led me into coaching is also love of the game,” Dane said. “After I finished playing, I still wanted to be part of it. Nothing quite excites me as much as teaching kids how to play the game and then seeing them have success.”

Roch said he didn’t have any definite vocational plans.

“I grew up not knowing what I wanted to do,” he said. “I loved sports and I loved competing and playing against my brother and my dad in the driveway. It got to the point where dad couldn’t beat us anymore, so he quit playing. The one thing I loved was the competition.

“I know, for me, preparation for the game is fun and the actual game day also makes it fun. Then it comes down to competing. I still like to compete. I learned that from dad, to be a competitor. When I realized I really wanted to coach was when I knew I wasn’t going to play anymore, I wasn’t ready to be a fan. I liked the game too much.”

It’s also not unusual to see Sonny at his son’s games.

Charpentier could be seen at many of Opelousas Catholic’s basketball games earlier this year where Dane is the boys coach. When OC hosted Port Barre two weeks ago, Charpentier viewed the game from Donald Gardner Stadium in Opelousas.

Dane said his father probably got some of his methods from the late Dick McCloskey, the longtime coach at Hanson Memorial, and the place he won 286 games.

“My father played for coach McCloskey, and I know he and coach McCloskey were very close. (McCloskey) is also my godfather,” he said.

Sonny said he and his sons communicate by telephone daily, but the discussion is not always football.

“It’s mostly about family things, that stuff,” Sonny said. “We do talk football a lot, though, and I’ve learned a lot of football from them. “We don’t run the same offenses, but we have the same philosophies. We do a lot of different things with our offenses, but they do know (the Teurlings) system. They grew up in it.

“Roch’s offense is more of a no-huddle, hurry-up offense, but we all have some of the same system.”

Dane said the three Chapentier coaches probably use the same offensive base.

“Coaching is a profession of thieves,” Dane said. “No one really invents anything. All three of our offenses are unique. We don’t really all run the same offenses. One thing about dad is he has always been good at developing quarterbacks.”

Sonny said he also knows how difficult a coach’s life can become, and at times he is concerned about his sons.

“You worry about them following their daddy,” he said. “They’ve seen what you go through, and they still want to go through and do (coaching). They’ve seen it and heard it all before, but they had to experience it for themselves.

“I am most concerned about them being good teachers. After all, that is what they are paid for.”

“Coaching is something they do after school.”