EDUCATION

Adkins resigns Donaldsonville positions

Michael Tortorich and Peter Silas Pasqua
The Ascension Parish School Board accepted the resignation of Donaldsonville High School athletic director and head football coach Gary Adkins during its regular meeting Tuesday night in Gonzales

The Ascension Parish School Board moved Tuesday night to accept the resignation of Donaldsonville High School athletic director and head football coach Gary Adkins.

The board made the move during its regular meeting at the Ascension Parish Courthouse Annex in Gonzales with several from the Donaldsonville school in attendance in a show of support for Adkins.

Among those supporting Adkins was Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan, who commented prior to the board’s action.

“The rumor is your minds are already made up,” Sullivan said to the board before a decision was made on the resignation.

The mayor also pointed to the student-athletes who showed up at the meeting in support of Adkins.

“I’m sure they don’t have a clear understanding of what’s happening,” Sullivan said.

The mayor asked the board to take into account the current and future students at Donaldsonville High when making a decision.

The crowd applauded at the conclusion of Sullivan’s comments.

Emile Chiquet, who served as principal of the school from1981 to 1993, also spoke in support of Adkins.

Chiquet called athletics a “shining light” for Donaldsonville High.

“He loves those kids, he really does,” Chiquet said of Adkins.

“I hate to see Gary go.”

He credited Adkins with instilling discipline into his team.

“We know he’s being forced to resign,” Chiquet said. “Why is he being forced out?”

Following the public comment period, the board voted to accept Adkins’ resignation and advertise for his position. At that point nearly half of the people in attendance walked out of the room.

Adkins was not in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I truly loved the time I spent at Donaldsonville and working with the kids here,” Adkins said in an interview Wednesday with the Weekly Citizen.

“They called me in and said that they felt like some things at Donaldsonville High needed to be changed, that they were having problems with the school, and things were going to be different, and I was going to be one of the changes,” he said.

In five seasons Adkins coached the Tigers football team to a 36-19 record. Donaldsonville made the playoffs in four of the last five years. The team was 0-10 before he arrived.

“I think when I took the job there certainly were some deficiancies,” he said. “I think that each year since I have been here the athletic department has gotten a little bit better every year. When those things happen there is much more to it than just the wins and losses. We got new uniforms for all of our teams. We had several kids make the academic and athletic all-state teams and sign college scholarships. That is very gratifying and rewarding to see all the hard work we put in is paying off for our young people because that is what this whole thing is about. It’s about our kids. It isn’t about us.”

In their best season, the Tigers finished with an 11-2 record and advanced to the 2007 Class 2A quarterfinals.

In the last two years, the Tigers were District 7-2A champions.

“I am very pleased with where we are in our athletic department,” Adkins said. “Unfortunately some other people want to move in another direction and I have to respect that decision.”

Adkins has coached for 27 years, compiling a 117-119 record. He previously coached at White Castle, Port Allen and Bishop Sullivan.

“We are certainly struggling in academic areas and in the athletic area we seem to certainly be above water,” Adkins said. “I think we have accomplised a lot and it gives our kids a reason to come school each and every day.”

Adkins maintained he did nothing wrong.

“I think it is human nature to think what went wrong when a coach has been as successful as I have resigns,” Adkins said. “The superintendent is keeping me on as a teacher and said if a coaching opportunity came along in the parish, he would certainly make sure that I had a chance. If there was wrongdoing I don’t believe the superintendent would be offering those opportunities.”

“What is important to me is my family and friends, the people I care about and the people that care about me. That is all that really matters.”