The love of sports and coaching has driven Arvie to be his best
By: TRACEY JAGNEAUX
Every since he can remember, Ville Platte High softball coach Devinskie Arvie has had a love for sports.
The fourth year head coach of the Lady Bulldogs lived and breathed sports as an adolescent, but the love of sports in general and the passion to mentor young adults has driven Arvie to try and become the best coach possible.
This past season, that passion paid off for his softball club. Not only did the Lady Bulldogs finish the season with a winning record, but they also did something they had not done in 22 years; win a playoff game.
For that reason, Arvie has been named as the Evangeline Parish Softball Co-Coach of the Year.
Arvie began his coaching career in 2005 after a pretty successful stint as a student/athlete. The somewhat grizzled veteran played football and baseball at Ville Platte High, even starting as catcher for the Bulldogs from his sophomore year on.
Once Arvie graduated in 2003, he kept coming around practices at Ville Platte High, helping out as much as he could with football. Two years later, Arvie landed a spot as a CECP coach in Pine Prairie under head coach Bryan Deville. At that same time he was assisting Bayou Chicot Jr. High head coach Craig McGee.
“Coach Bryan actually gave me my first opportunity to be an assistant coach in football,” stated Arvie. “He saw me always coming around at practice and at the games on the sideline and thought I had what it took to be a coach. I always loved sports since high school but I never expected to be a coach. One day Coach Roy Serie told me to go and take the test to be a CECP coach and I did. Every since then, I’ve been in the coaching profession.”
After Deville left Pine Prairie for Oakdale, Arvie followed, brining his passion and knowledge to the Land of the Warriors. Arvie stayed in Oakdale until 2011 and then found his way back to Ville Platte and his alma mater to assist Serie.
Amazingly, Arvie only coached football up until four years ago. When the opportunity came up to coach the softball team, Arvie was a little apprehensive about taking on the role.
“I was hesitant at first to take the softball team because I knew the game was different in some ways compared to baseball,” said Arvie. “Don’t get me wrong, I was excited that it was offered to me, but I was worried that I did not know enough about the game, especially about the pitching aspect of it. I took the chance and got some really great help from coach Jessie Fontenot. And now I love it.”
Another factor in his hesitation to take on the softball program was the fact that Arvie now had to coach girls; something he had not done in his coaching career. According to Arvie that transition came with a lot of trepidation and thought but also came with some firsthand knowledge about how to deal with the opposite sex.
“It was a pretty tough transition for me to coach girls instead of boys because you have to deal with different needs,” said Arvie. “But, I had some good teachers having sisters around the house. I think the main thing is that these girls on the team know that I am there for them and that I will not treat them different because they are girls. They trust me to make the tough decisions and they are good about understanding those decisions.”
The first three years that Arvie had the team, he had to rebuild it back up. The Lady Bulldogs only won eight total games during that time frame. However, this past season Ville Platte High not only matched that total, they beat it by one whole game, winning nine contests. Arvie credits the jump in wins to his assistant coaches and his continued learning process.
“It truly helps when you have good people next to you that know the game and how to coach it,” commented Arvie. “The two assistants that I had this season (Fontenot and Joe Bordelon) were such a blessing. One thing is for sure, I am becoming more confident in how I feel about understanding the way high school softball is played. I am always trying to learn and be a student of the game myself.”
One of the changes that seemed to make a difference this past year is the overall attitude of the team. That coupled with a touch more discipline from Arvie allowed the team to grow and become more responsible for their play on the field and the bond that they formed with each other.
“This year, I decided we needed to change our outlook on practice and our approach in terms of discipline,” commented Arvie. “I know I was not as strict on the team in the past three years and needed to approach things differently. So, we became more serious about our work ethic and it paid off. The girls really bought into it and that allowed them to become more of a family. Now we have a core team that really love the game and really love to get better and better.”
With almost everyone of his players back this coming year, Arvie and Lady Bulldogs are ready to make their mark in 2020!!