Raymond 'Chip' Didier inducted into LVCA Hall of Fame

Michael Tortorich
Raymond “Chip”?Didier Jr., center, was inducted into the Louisiana Volleyball Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame in January. Shown at left is his daughter, St. Amant volleyball head coach Allison Didier Leake. Pictured at right is daughter Rae Didier, an assistant at St. Amant. Retired from teaching and coaching after 33 years, Didier began as a volunteer assistant at St. Amant last season.

When Raymond “Chip”?Didier Jr. began his coaching career at Ellender Junior High in 1976, he wanted to get into baseball.

Didier wanted to be a baseball coach like his father, legendary LSU, Nicholls State and Louisiana-Lafayette coach Raymond Didier.

At the time, the school already had a head baseball coach, so Didier settled in as an assistant.

He also took over as head volleyball coach at the school, and eventually fell in love with the sport. It was the beginning of a long and successful career that he continues to this day at St. Amant High School as a volunteer assistant coach with his daughters, head coach Allison Didier-Leake and assistant Rae Didier.

After 33 years, Didier retired from teaching and coaching in 2009.

Earlier this year, he was inducted into the Louisiana Volleyball Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame.

He was the first male ever to receive the honor.

Self-described as “a man in a woman’s world,”?Didier credited his former players for their dedication and effort.

His coaching career was a successful one from the beginning. Head coaching stints were at Ellender (1976-80), South Terrebonne (1980-84), H.L. Bourgeois (1984-92), Nicholls State University (1993-98) and Terrebonne (1998-2009).

He led state champion teams at H.L. Bourgoeois (1987 and 1989) and state runner-up teams (South Terrebonne in 1983 and H.L. Bourgeois in 1992). He compiled a 665-220 record in his high school career, with a 195-39 district mark.

Didier holds the highest winning percentage in Nicholls State history. His 1997 team was Southland Conference runner-up (first and only time in school history).

In 2009, he coached Terrebonne to its best record (42-4) in school history. The team was a semi-finalist that year.

He volunteered his time as an assistant at St. Amant in 2010. The team made it to the quarterfinals with the best record in school history (30-13) and the highest ranking ever (fourth in Division I).

Didier also founded the Bayou Bandits Volleyball Club (1991-present). The club is in its 20th season with Didier as director and coach.

Didier’s career includes 12 district championships. He was the LVCA?Coach of the Year five times (1983, 1987, 1989, 1992 and 2009). He was an All-Star game coach three times (won two out of six wins).

Didier has served as LVCA?President and Vice President. He is an LVCA?Charter Member.

Aside from volunteer coaching, Didier has enjoyed his retirement with his family, including hunting, fishing and golf outings.

“He’s not just a coach,”?former player Shelby Bourque told the (Thibodaux) Daily Comet. “He takes it to another level and helps us in different ways, not just volleyball.”

Volleyball players were like part of the Didier family. They joined them on vacations, babysat, and even took them into their home if necessary.

Didier’s dedication to the sport he has grown to love is evident in his volunteer work. During the past season, he drove an hour each way to coach practices and games at St. Amant with his daughters.

“He rarely missed a practice or a game,”?Allison Didier-Leake said. “He just can’t stay away from it.”

He has also helped his future son-in-laws develop a love for coaching.

While Didier may have initially wanted to carry on a family tradition in baseball, it was the sport of volleyball where he left an everlasting mark. Even when he was offered the baseball job, he turned it down since he was having so much fun coaching volleyball.

At 58, he’s now working on a new chapter, helping his daughters achieve success.

For Gators coach Allison Didier-Leake, the longtime mentor is a welcome addition to the team.

“I?think Rae and I may have convinced him to coach with us at St. Amant again this year,” she said.