Tregle’s donation offers a trip down memory lane
By: SCOTT JOINER
There is nothing like hearing old stories about past accomplishments on the football field.
Every sports fan has heard them, but sometimes it’s tough to believe the tales without any evidence.
Retired football coach Al Tregle has taken a step towards helping those storytellers prove they are true. Tregle recently donated his collection of old game tapes to the Morgan City Library.
The library staff has converted the tapes to DVD and will be selling them for $10 each.
One of Tregle’s former players, Kevin Lewis, said he was surprised the coach held on to the tapes for so long.
“Yeah, that is surprising,” Lewis said. “But that’s him. He has an undeniable love for the game. He loved the athletes and showed that every kid was important to him whether it was the No. 1 man on the team or the No. 99 man on the team. He showed no difference.”
The tapes go as far back as 1971 with the majority coming from Tregle’s days at Morgan City and Berwick.
At this point, there is just one tape of a Central Catholic game against Berwick from 1993 and another has Berwick playing Patterson in 1993, but Tregle has another box of tapes that might have more games from his first coaching job at CCHS starting in 1964.
Lewis played for Tregle from 1983-86 at Morgan City and went on to play at Southwest Baptist University. Lewis was one of the few that made it to the college ranks, but every player was important to Tregle and he made sure they were in the best possible shape.
“Coach Tregle was a stickler for paying attention to detail,” Lewis said. “If you messed up, as long as you messed up going 100 miles an hour, full speed — he was alright with that. He didn’t take slacking lightly. In the weight room, that was his domain. You were going to hit the weights and you were going to be in condition. You might not be the best athlete on the field, but you were going to be in the best shape.”
Lewis said the game was different back then from the crowds to the style of play and that current players would be able to tell the difference.
“They would see the intensity we played with and the will to win,” Lewis said. “You weren’t going to give up when you got down. They would see what perseverance is — for sure. That’s a key. Right now, when one bad play happens, they throw in the towel. They would see that every man is important, we played everybody.”
The stands were packed in those days with overflow crowds standing around the field and, in some cases, the band was moved behind the end zone to accommodate more people in the stands.
“The crowds, man it was packed,” Lewis said. “People came out and supported us. Even if we didn’t win, they knew it was going to be a ballgame. We were going to be competitive from whistle to whistle.”
After a successful run at CCHS, Tregle moved on to Catholic High in Baton Rouge.
He only lasted half a season in Baton Rouge before getting an offer to be the defensive coordinator at McNeese State.
Tregle spent four years in Lake Charles, but the schedule was tough with recruiting trips to different corners of the country cutting into his ability to spend time with his family.
Morgan City’s administration at the time sent an airplane to pick Tregle and Ronnie Dees up and bring them over to see the area.
Both were interested and made the move with Dees taking over the baseball program and leading them to the state title in 1974.
In the late 80s Tregle stepped away from coaching for a break and worked in the trucking business. Tregle also coached a year at Patterson in the late 80s when Ike Hilliard was a freshman.
He then moved on to False River in 1988.
At the time, False River played in the Louisiana Independent Schools Association and won the state title in 1989. LISA disbanded after the 1991-92 school year with the members joining the LHSAA or the Mississippi Private Schools Association.
The success at False River caught the attention of Berwick’s administration, so Tregle came back to the area to coach the Panthers in 1992 and stayed until ’94 before returning to Morgan City for one last year.
Each team in the area has had success in football, but some of those days are further in the past than others as success seems to run in cycles. For instance, in one of the tapes from ’93, Berwick beat Livonia 62-7.
Several of the tapes feature big Morgan City wins from the 1980s, including a few playoff games.
Tregle had stories to tell about all of his teams and was as proud of the scrappy undersized kids that went on to be successful businessmen as he was of the players that went to college and were stars in high school.
Lewis said he was a mentor to his players and was just as concerned with producing responsible young men as he was with teaching them how to be better football players.
“Away from the field you couldn’t ask for a better person,” Lewis said. “He’s more like a father to you, as well as a coach and a mentor. He always gave examples of how to be successful; he talked a lot about life. It wasn’t always football, it was about producing fine young men after football. He let you know not everybody was going on to play in college and probably nobody was going to the NFL. So, it was a matter of what you obtain in the classroom and trying to get everybody going on to college so you can be successful in life.”
The DVDs are available at the Morgan City Library on Everett Street.
DVDs currently available for purchase at the Morgan City library:
MCHS vs Opelousas 1992
MCHS highlights 1971-75
BHS basketball 1993
MCHS vs Lafayette and
Capitol of Baton Rouge 1974
Berwick Highlights 1993
MCHS vs Lafayette 1974
MCHS vs Capitol 1974
MCHS vs New Iberia 1978
BHS all games 1993
MCHS vs NISH 1978
MCHS highlights 1978
BHS vs PHS 1993
BHS vs CHSPC 1993
BHS vs Livonia 1993
BHS vs Boothville-Venice 1993
BHS vs Hanson 1993
BHS vs All 1992
MCH vs Acadiana 1986
BHS vs Cameron 1993
BHS vs CCHS 1993
MCHS all games 1995
BHS vs Teurlings 1993
BHS vs Loreauville 1993
BHS vs N. Vermilion 1993