Manuel’s work ethic helps set the tone for the Lady Demon’s success
By: TRACEY JAGNEAUX
Most of the time a person’s work ethic is instilled in them in their youth and is carried with them the rest of their lives.
Where does that work ethic come from you might ask?
Well, for Mamou head coach Kim Manuel, that is an easy answer; from her parents.
“My parents always told us that if you are going to do something, don’t do it half way,” stated Manuel. “So, we had to work hard at everything we did. That work ethic that they instilled in me is what drives me today and what will continue to drive me in the future.”
That work ethic that Manuel carries inside her today not only got her a chance to play on the next level, but it also has helped set the tone for her style of coaching.
Because of her coaching philosophy, the Lady Demons have been contenders since the day she took over the Mamou softball program. This season the Lady Demons, with only one senior on the team, made a deep run into the Class 3A playoffs, making it to the semi-finals.
For that reason, Manuel was selected as the Evangeline Parish Softball Co-Coach of the Year in 2019.
Manuel began her softball career playing summer recreation ball in Ville Platte. Her parents were her coaches all of her time spent in the recreational leagues.
Manuel’s parents were pioneers in a way, starting up the first travel softball team to play fast pitch in Ville Platte. It was there that Manuel developed into a pitcher good enough to become a talented All-State player at Sacred Heart.
After graduating from the Land of Troy, Manuel went on to Northwestern State to take her game to the collegiate level. She then transferred to McNeese State to finish out her career.
While in college, Manuel entered into the coaching ranks, coaching travel ball teams in Lake Charles. It was there that her parents saw something in Manuel that pushed them to give her what turned out to be some pretty good advice.
“Coming from a family of coaches and having coached travel ball, my parents knew that it was in my blood,” said Manuel. “When I first got into college, I was went into nursing and then switched majors to elementary education. My parents told me one day that I needed to focus on high school education and become a coach on that level. It was some great advice and I have no regrets about getting into this profession. I love the game and love to help kids overcome challenges and adversity.”
Once Manuel finished her degree, she found a job in Texas, teaching and coaching in Newton. Three years later after the passing of her father, Manuel moved back home to help out her mom.
After the return to Ville Platte, Manuel coached one year at Opelousas High. It was at this time that she met and married her husband Chad.
She then found herself at Mamou as an assistant coach under David Ardoin. The next season, Manuel took over the reigns as head coach and has held that position for the last 13 seasons.
Manuel immediately put her stamp on the program she took over. In her first year as head coach, the Lady Demons made a run in the playoffs, making it to the quarterfinals. Since then, Mamou has made it to the post-season in 11 of the last twelve years.
One of the reasons for the success of the Lady Demon program, according to Manuel, is the help she gets from her assistant coaches, including her husband.
“I am fortunate to have people around me that care about the players and the program and that have knowledge of the game,” said Manuel. “For example this season we had my husband Chad, coach Brent McCoy and Ms. Phyllis Soileau. All of them put out the maximum effort to keep this program at the level it is.”
When asked about what it is like to have her husband by her side everyday during softball season, Manuel’s face lit up.
“When we first started coaching together we did not have a child, so we considered the girls on the team our daughters,” stated Manuel. “Then once we had our son, they adopted him as a brother. It is like having an extended family. It is hard enough on coaches, so to have my husband be part of this is a blessing.”
Another conversation that puts a smile on Manuel’s face is the conversation about her team this past season. Manuel speaks highly of her club and their journey to this point.
“All of the girls on this team have been with us and started since they were in eighth grade,” said Manuel. “They have grown and matured so much. They are a special group. They are perfectionists on and off the field. These girls are so coachable. The only sad thing is that we lost a valuable asset to graduation. Katiee Bertrand was a leader on and off the field for us and had a personality that everyone was drawn to. She will definitely be missed.”
With that being said, there is no doubt that Mamou will be there in 2020!