LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Louisiana lost a legend on Saturday when former Sulphur football coach Shannon Suarez, Who battled COVID-19, passed away.
“He was a master motivator. A master play caller. A master at football,” former Sulphur and Texas A&M quarterback David Walker said. “He knew everything there was about the game. A tremendous influence on so many players. Wouldn’t of turned out the same without coach Suarez. "
If you know Southwest Louisiana football, you know Shannon Suarez. The long-time Sulphur coach was an inspiration on the sidelines, always striving for greatness.
“He was tough. He was hard nosed. He always used to tell us that you don’t listen to your girlfriend or mommy and daddy,” Walker said. “You don’t believe the newspaper headlines. I’ll tell you when you’re good. And that always kind of stuck with us.”
In 17 seasons at Sulphur, Suarez led the Tors to 10 district championships, three undefeated regular seasons, and 11 playoff appearances.
That success led to his induction into the Louisiana High School Hall of Fame in 1996.
“He was just different. I think him being a marine,” Former Sulphur tor and current McNeese senior associate athletic director, Todd Buttler said. “Not letting things slide. He demanded excellence from every player on his team. He was an exceptional coach.”
Suarez was unique in his coaching techniques and often leaned on an Alabama icon.
“In his early coaching days when he met Bear Bryant he fell in love with everything that Alabama was doing. He wanted us to be as much like Alabama as we could,” said Walker.
“He was best friends with Bear Bryant. They were very good friends,” said Butler.
Butler says Suarez respected Bryant so much that he named his first biological son after him.
The impact Shannon Suarez made in Southwest Louisiana can never be measured.
“Coach Suarez, I’m just telling you, you meet people in your life that impact you in ways that you look back and you’re just thankful and honored that you had to opportunity to be a part of his life. He touched me and many others. I know that there’s many people that are successful that played for Sulphur High and coach Suarez,” said Butler.