Shane Savoie a fixture on NFA coaching staff


Shane Savoie a fixture on NFA staff

Solid organizations are loaded with solid people, and that helps explain why NFA is so well established across the country and in Canada and getting stronger with each passing day. Having a coach like Shane Savoie on the NFA staff since 2006 has given countless young quarterbacks a big edge both on and off the field.

“The thing I love the most about coaching is the interaction with the player, getting to deal with a young man in his most formidable years and getting to talk to him about what it really takes to be a man in the world today,” Savoie said. “I can use the game of football to drive home points these kids are going to use 10, 20 years down the road as CEOs, as citizens, as electricians, as husbands, as fathers. To me, that’s the real joy of coaching, the idea that whatever I teach them today, the real victory is going to happen well down the road for these guys.”

With passion like that, it should come as little surprise that Savoie is a huge success himself. A former standout quarterback at powerhouse St. Thomas More High School in Lafayette, La., Savoie went on to play college football at McNeese State and Arkansas Tech.

A decade ago, he returned to his high school alma matter and still serves as the offensive coordinator/QB coach at St. Thomas More under legendary head coach Jim Hightower, who ranks second all-time in Louisiana high school football history with 367 career wins. “I played there and now I’m back there coaching,” Savoie said. “It’s a really special place to be.”

‘Dream come true’

When he was playing prep football for the Cougars and preparing for the next level, Savoie wasn’t quite sure what the future held. “When I first got into coaching I kind of thought it would really be nice and it would be a dream come true if I could come back and not only coach at my old school, but coach for the coach who I got to play for,” Savoie said. “It’s been great. There is definitely a passion in the South for football. Louisiana has a really unique breed when it comes to football. Towns are kind of surrounded by it. You hear a lot about Texas and Florida but Louisiana, per capita, is one of the top high school, top player producing states in the country.”

Armed with so much quality experience and football knowledge, Savoie has been a natural fit on NFA’s high-powered coaching staff.

“There seems to be a lot more successes and a lot fewer failures when I’m coaching with NFA,” Savoie said. “And it’s just a simple fact, I get to deal with the kid. If I just get to deal with the kid and there’s no score being kept, I’m going to win. We’re going to have a victory and this kid’s going to get better and in the long run this kid’s going to be successful and I’m going to succeed, too, because of it. When you get to get to train a kid one-on-one, you get to build a relationship with them and for me, there is no failure. Even the kid that ends up being a fullback, or the kid that ends up just being a baseball player, did he grow, did he learn how to become a leader, did he learn how to sacrifice, did he learn to do all the little things we teach, of what it takes to play football but really what it takes to be a man?”

Playing quarterback in college gives Savoie an added edge as an NFA coach. “I think there’s a unique advantage just with the network you create when you play college football, with all the guys you played with in college,” he said. “Many of the guys I played with in college, at Arkansas Tech and at McNeese State University, they are coaching now and it’s unique to be able to talk with those guys and network with those guys both at the college level and the high school level. And there is an added advantage of understanding what it takes to be on that next level and what it takes to be successful at the next level.”

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Scot Gregor is an award-winning sportswriter for the Chicago Daily Herald. In addition to writing about Big 10 and Notre Dame football, Gregor has also covered the White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and college basketball. He grew up in Pittsburgh and watched the Steelers rise to prominence in the 1970s. Gregor has a B.S. degree in Journalism from Ohio University