Working To Win-October 2012 Personality Profile
Coach Glenn Fondal Excels With Conditioning And Discipline
By Barbara Gautreaux
The first football game of 2012 for Anderson Middle School Coach Glenn Fondal was Sept. 11 when the Tigers welcomed B. Edward Boudreaux Middle School of Baldwin.
The 7th and 8th grade school football team from the West End of New Iberia generally plays six games a season, averaging six wins. Coach Fondal’s statistics are impressive, including a 96-4-1 record (96 wins, 4 loses, 1 tie) and he has gone undefeated 12 of the past 15 seasons, and won 60 straight games from 2001 to 2010.
Fondal has won awards from area clubs, has been selected Teacher of the Year, and last year was surprised with a plaque and a gold whistle from the Iberia Parish School Board for his dedication to students. What Fondal has created is a winning system at AMS, where players excel in sports, then enter their high school years with the drive, the discipline and the support to continue to win.
People that know Fondal well say he supplies New Iberia’s Westgate High School with players that can win championships, and they love him for it. What is his secret?
“Here at Anderson we have an off-season program that no other Junior High has in the state,” says Fondal. The school year finishes in late May and students are given two weeks off before returning to school twice a week for sports conditioning.
“Every student that wants to play sports will start training the second week of June. We meet two days a week for weight training, and conditioning, throughout the summer,” he says.
In addition to the AMS students, Fondal will often have students that attend other schools in Iberia Parish contact him for permission to attend his summer training.
Fondal and his assistant coaches are not paid for any of the summer training they provide. How did it come about that Fondal began offering summer strength training?
Fondal Focuses On Winning
Fondal started the summer training at AMS when his son Tyler was 3 years old. Before that time, he would work during the summer off from teaching and coaching by helping the janitors at the schools get ready for the next year. Fondal’s father was a contractor, and he grew up learning carpentry instead of playing football or basketball. He is a graduate of Grambling University and he is married to former Belle Place Middle School Teacher Shelby Delahoussaye Fondal.
“I decided to spend time with my son,” he says. Since Tyler was getting used to spending time at the AMS gym, Fondal decided to commit to showing players how to get in shape and stay in shape in preparation for the upcoming year.
Tyler is now age 14, standing 6’3” tall, weighing 240 pounds, and Fondal is still serious about giving the extra training to his players. “It is a lot of hard work but it is a tradition,” he says. At the beginning of the summer when he is meeting his new players, he gives them the AMS Football Team Statistics. “No one wants to be that team that breaks the cycle so that is a motivating factor,” he says. “They love it. They want to win. They work hard and they actually will be at the school for about an hour before I arrive.”
Fondal says he has been asked by other coaches for his secret to motivating the students to want to do more. “How do I get them to do what I am doing? I tell everyone that basketball is the key, because everybody likes basketball whether they can play or not. I get the students to the gym to have fun playing basketball for an hour before we start conditioning training.
BPMS does also have a summer conditioning program, but it is not the entire summer. Says Fondal, “They are very competitive with us, maybe our best competition in the district.”
The summer conditioning does not involve football plays or practice, strictly weight and cardio training. “We will take them outside for 10 minutes in the heat to get them acclimated to the heat. Our plan there is that when everyone else is struggling with the heat, we are already used to it.”
The students are not judged or timed for their efforts. They do not run miles, mostly 20-40 yard sprints. The coaches can see improvement in the students after the second week. Their encouragement keeps the students coming back. “The only problem that I have is that they want to bring their little brother or their cousin and I have to tell them that this is not Daddy Daycare,” says Fondal.
Seventy-five students participated in the summer conditioning program at AMS. For Spring Football, Coach says 110 kids tried out. “They eliminate themselves,” Fondal says, “by not coming to practice or doing something they shouldn’t have been doing in school, or their grades.”
Fondal says anyone working with students will see unproductive behavior. “You have to show them some love and tough love along with that. A lot of them are from single parent homes, and to them I am a father figure. They know that I am trying to teach them the right way.”
Fondal says students that act up in class may get a paddle to straighten them up and some will quit before they take that discipline. Often the mothers will call to get them to be placed back on the team and to take their punishment. “I don’t have a problem with that. He can come back and take the punishment and not play the next game. But you see the record of AMS wins? It is not because people just quit and quit and quit and I don’t have anybody to replace them. We do a good job with everybody. The player has to understand that.”
Does the player discipline himself after that? “Of course,” says Fondal. They have their pride but they are learning. “I tell them all the time that I am not here to hurt them. I am here to help them. When I first started coaching, if they had an attitude, I would just say, ‘Good-bye’ and I wouldn’t let them come back. But now I know what the deal is, so I keep working them, I nurture them pretty good and they understand.”
Repeat offenders will have to practice even if they know they will not be on the field playing for AMS. “They have to come to practice even if they aren’t going to play. He has to come here and practice hard just like everyone else. When he shows up at the game he will be the water boy. Then he will move on. And he understands that.”
Coach Fondal is fond of both New Iberia Senior High, where he graduated in 1973 and of Westgate, where his son attends. He is full of advice for young men that he hopes his players take in. “I give a speech every day. They think I am a preacher.” Fondal will talk about homework or how to address their parents. “When you speak on the phone to your mother you say ‘Yes Ma’am, No Ma’am,’ because that was the way I was brought up. They need to learn that too.”
“The more you put into it the more you are going to get out of it, I guarantee it,” says Fondal. “They want to be the best so they push each other.”