High School Sports

Mar 3, 2014 9:36 PM by AP

Legendary West Monroe Coach Don Shows Dies

WEST MONROE, La. (AP) - A high school football coach who won eight Louisiana state championships has died.

Don Shows, who was 75, died early Monday morning at Ochsner Medical Center near New Orleans.

Shows will be cremated, The News-Star reports (http://tnsne.ws/1kPpwRG) and a memorial service will be held Friday at the West Monroe High School stadium. On a field named for him, the service is planned to simulate a football game.

Shows' West Monroe teams won eight titles from 1993 to 2011 and were state runner-up five more times. Twice, West Monroe was voted the best in the nation, and he was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

A number of Shows' players went on to college careers at LSU. Among them, defensive end Barkevious Mingo, offensive guard Will Blackwell and defensive end Jordan Allen played for current LSU coach Les Miles.

"Don was a great man, coach and father and he will be missed tremendously," Miles said. "He did so many wonderful things that impacted the lives of the players he coached. He had great success on the football field, but it was the positive impact on the lives of the young men that he coached and the relationship that he had with his players that made him so special."

The coach took over the West Monroe team in 1989 after coaching at Farmerville, Jonesboro-Hodge and Pineville. At Jonesboro-Hodge, Shows took over a 1-9 team and led it to the state title game in 1977, winning state coach of the year honors for the first time.

West Monroe had struggled before Shows' arrival, but he turned the school into a powerhouse, playing before sellout crowds of 8,000. West Monroe reached the state finals seven consecutive seasons from 1996-2002 and won 40 straight games from 1996-1999. The school's football program also was featured in a season-long ESPN reality show in 2008.

"We all know how great he was, not just as a coach but a human being," Ouachita Parish superintendent Bob Webber said. "He's done some incredible things and the pride that he's brought to West Monroe and the school system has been amazing."

Shows was also an offensive line coach at Northwestern State University. As a player, he was a notable running back at Ruston High School.

The coach suffered a concussion in November 2012 and later suffered two strokes.

"His appetite wasn't there," Ouachita Parish school board member Jerry Hicks said. "They were trying to get him to eat. Ochsner ran all the tests they could run to try to make his life better and less painful and get him into the state where he could eat."

When he stepped down, Shows hoped to return to coaching. Former West Monroe defensive coordinator Jerry Arledge took over as head coach. Arledge had served since 1993 as an assistant coach under Shows.

"I've always felt like Don was one of the smartest coaches that I was fortunate enough to be around," Arledge said. "He was very intelligent, and I think his success that he's had through the years has been through that. He was an unusual guy, and there's not many like them."

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