In life, people get many opportunities, meet a new person, try a new meal or even take a new job. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor the average worker holds ten different jobs before the age of 40.
Not exactly the case for UL Women’s Basketball Coach Garry Brodhead, who had two professions. Basketball, and before he was on the courts, he was cultivating the crops, farming!
Sports Director George Faust has more on this unique path to sidelines.
This is where we are used to seeing Louisiana Ragin Cajun Women’s Basketball Coach Garry Brodhead.
Walking the sidelines of the program he’s built and cultivated for more than a decade. But, before he took the whistle and dedicated his life to coaching. Garry learned the value of hard work by watching his family and their strong work ethic running various family businesses.
Garry says, “Talk about what Cajun people are they are honest people. even though my last name is Brodhead, I’m a Patin, Delahoussaye, Guidry, Guidry’s Hardware is my grandfather. That’s all my people, we call it, just honesty. Learning from the culture, How hard work can really bring you success. And I think that is what I was taught!
Garry graduated from USL in 1980. Headed from the graduation state to his father-in-law’s farm.
He says “We were farmer growing soybean, and wheat and all of that, right out of high school, and it allowed me to coach during the winter times, because we didn’t have no crop.”
“We grew up, not fishing and hunting, but, playing basketball. So when I had the opportunity to coach, and do something that I really loved, the farming part of it. I was blessed, my father-in-law had a big farm, and when I married his daughter I was able to join the big farm and I learned a lot.”
Those lessons led him to become the first, and at the time the only farmer in the region growing cucumbers. The family began to grow them, because soybean prices, in the mid-80’s started to tail off.
Garry says, “Here I am 20 something years old, trying to be the first one in Louisiana trying to grow cucumbers for products. Cajun Chef products were involved in it, but, Dr. Ducel here at UL approached our farm about doing it… and we started with 10 acres, and that lead to 1000 acres later in life.”
As life tends to do, his two loves: farming and coaching came to a head. A seed planted by another passionate young basketball coach in the area, STM’s Danny Broussard pushed Garry in the direction of coaching. Danny told him to follow his passion.
Danny says, “I can still see it. He was on the tractor and I driving a bus, and I pulled over. He came on the bus, sat down, and said he wished he could coach. I say why don’t you! Your wife is doing well in her business, and you can farm on the side, and coach.”
With that extra bit of motivation, Garry began to transition from farmer to coach. He eventually decides with the blessing of his wife to leave the crops and head to the courts, FULL TIME!
Garry recalls, “You have to have a good wife, that’s really understanding, and i would have never been able to do if she didn’t understand what my real passion was the coaching stuff. And so, here I am. We are really doing well, built a house and really moving forward with the farm.”
He added, “To me, when you try to extend it for more than 20 years, you’re going to run into some bad times. And I hadn’t really run into any bad times. And I was kinda concerned about that. I was like, man we are in a good position and we have a chance to get out, and move into something I really want to do, kinda like retiring into the coaching part of it.”
Thus, a prosperous career began to bud! As an AAU coach, high school coach; winning a girls’ state championship in 2002 at Teurlings. Then heading to McNeese to get college experience.
Which led UL, and the past 11 seasons led some of the most successful years of women’s basketball in the program’s history. He’s led the Cajuns to their first Sun Belt Conference Regular Season Conference Championship, and the 1st ever Women’s NIT appearance.
Brodhead’s success, rooted in the lessons he learned from his family, and while no one knows what the future holds in story, you can bet Coach Brodhead will do it with passion.
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