2018 CHARLES VICKNAIR AWARD WINNER TERENCE CAHEE, II
By Karla Wall
Lots of readers may not know that Lake Charles College Prep even has a football team. The program was started only four years ago. And they hadn’t made that big a splash in the prep football scene.
Until this past season. The Trailblazers, 2-9 during the 2017 season, turned it around and posted a 9-1 record for 2018. Their season came to an end in the LHSAA quarterfinals, where they lost to Caplan, but the players and staff are immensely proud of a stellar season, and optimistic about the future.
For his part in the team’s successful year, LC Prep’s first-year defensive coordinator Terence Cahee II has been named winner of the 2018 Charles Vicknair Assistant Coach of the Year Award.
The award is named in honor of longtime SWLA high school football coach Charles Vicknair, who coached at nearly every high school in SWLA during his long career.
Vicknair passed away in 2008 leaving behind quite a legacy in high school football. It was estimated that 32 assistant coaches who’d worked under Vicknair had gone on to become head coaches, many of them considered the best in the history of the sport in SWLA.
The list of coaches who won the American Press Head Coach of the Year Award after serving as Vicknair’s assistant coach reads like a who’s who list: Jimmy Shaver; Russ Sutherland; Mike Johns; Former MSU coach Matt Viator, who served as assistant coach under Vicknair at Sam Houston High School early in his career; and Westlake’s late head coach Max Caldarera, who served as assistant coach at Westlake for two years under Vicknair, taking over as head coach when Vicknair left for Barbe in 1978.
Cahee played high school football in Westlake. He earned All-SWLA, All-District and All-State Academic honors, and led the team to the state finals in 2007. He went on to have a standout career at McNeese, winning All-Louisiana, All-SLC and All-American honors.
He had hopes of a pro career, but a knee injury forced him to re-evaluate. He was busy with rehab, trying to get back to the level where he could explore the possibility of a career in the Canadian Football League or the NFL, when he received a phone call that opened a new career path for him.
“I was offered a physical education and coaching position at Molo Middle School,” he says. “And it just took off from there.”
His next job was as defensive coordinator at Washington Marion, a position he held for two and a half years. Last August, he took the DC position for Lake Charles College Prep. And he’s had quite a first year.
“We made a lot of history this year,” he says. “The kids and the staff have been just phenomenal. It being my first year, I had to really earn the trust of my senior players, and they’ve been outstanding. Four of them were named All-State defensive players this year. It doesn’t get much better than that for a coach.”
What Cahee says he’s proudest of, however, is the fact that three of his players have earned scholarships to play college ball.
“That’s an amazing feeling as a coach,” he says. “These young men have an opportunity to change their futures, and the futures of their families. Some of these kids will be the first in their families to go to college. They’re setting the foundation for the future.”
Cahee’s efforts to help shape and mold young players isn’t confined to the school team. In 2014, he held the first annual Terence Cahee II Youth Football Camp,. The camp is still held each summer at Ward 3 Recreation Center. Attendees receive coaching in all positions by high school and college coaches, as well as current and former NFL players. Athletic Republic also provides athlete testing, and awards are given to standouts.
Cahee says he especially honored to win the Vicknair award and tries to live by the philosophy instilled in him by the late coach, whom he played under at Westlake through his junior year.
“Coach Vicknair taught me that you coach the person, not just the player,” he says. “You help them succeed in life, not just on the field. You help them develop as a person. Coach Vicknair was so invested in us. He was like no one I’ve ever been around.”
Cahee says his main priority as a coach is to be personable and approachable to his players.
“Your players need to know you have their backs at all times, for any reason,” he says. “They need to know you’re there for them no matter what.”
Cahee credits his success to many people: LC Prep head coach Freddie Harrison, who is also the former head coach at Washington Marion and the man who gave Cahee his first opportunity to coach high school ball; Eddie White, the first defensive coordinator he worked under; Erick Franklin, who “really deserves the credit for this award;” Charlie Smith, who was his defensive coordinator in high school; and Caldarera, who taught him the value of hard work.
And he also credits his family —his fiancée Shaylnn Lavergne, his son Brayden and his daughter Haylei.
“They’ve motivated me throughout the tough times, and supported and praised me during the good times,” he says. “They’ve also been patient and loving when the profession demands so much of my time.”
Cahee also mentions his father, Terence Cahee, Sr., who, while a strict disciplinarian, was extremely supportive.
“He was hard on me, but he was always there. He never missed a game or a school event. He was my biggest critic, but also my biggest fan.”
His aunt and uncle, Mike and Delores Wilrye, have also been key to Cahee’s success.
“They have always been by my side and supported me through everything, from walking me to elementary school to attending as many of my games as they could. They are truly my motivation,” he says.
Editor’s note: Local assistant coaches Pat Neck and Cody Gueringer earned Honorable Mention accolades this year in the Charles Vicknair Award voting.