CROWLEY, La. — Richard Pizzolatto, 85, otherwise known as ‘Coach Pizz.’
He’s the man so instrumental in the development of the Crowley Recreation Department, and the man who spearheaded renovation efforts over at Miller Stadium.
Well, Coach Pizz, he's still with us. He's still sharp. And he's already thinking about the next step in his spiritual evolution.
He ran the Crowley Recreation Department and he was instrumental in raising funds - over a million dollars - to renovate the stadium in the late nineties.
But it's more than that - Miller Stadium is a place where his heart is intertwined into every fiber, so much so that - just beyond the reaches of the park - there's a cemetery, and it's where he - eventually - want to be laid to rest.
“Right behind the center field fence. I looked for a plot for 12 years,” laughs Coach Pizz.
Finally, a man in South Carolina who owned the plots made Coach Pizz an offer.
“'You can have them for $2,000,’ he said. I said ‘Tell him they closed that graveyard,’ He said, ‘Tell him he can have them for $100’. So, I bought both, and I’m going to put my golf clubs in the other plot.”
Tradition. Honor. Passion. That's what Miller Stadium has meant to Coach Pizz - a man who always wants to watch his ballpark.
I ask him what it’s like to see a tombstone, with his name on it, when he’s still upright and alive.
“Fantastic; that’s the way I want it,” he says.
I comment that with no death date, it means he’ll live forever.
“I plan on it.”
Coach Pizz tells me - in his playing days - he never quite knocked one this far.
“Never hit it is this far,” he thinks, standing near his tombstone and burial plot. “I hit some over the fence but never made it to the graveyard.”
But here is where he'll be; with the inscription "Remember, it's for the children" on his tombstone.
“Because it's for the children. not for us; when we did all of this work over here? We've got to do it for our children.”
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