After the departure of Head Coach Billy Napier, the Ragin’ Cajuns football program has seen themselves scramble to fill in the missing pieces. With Napier heading to Gainesville to coach the Florida Gators, the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year took numerous staff members with him to create a new culture in the SEC.
Taking so many staff members from Lafayette creates a number of mixed emotions for Cajuns fans. Giving bigger opportunities to his staff and a higher pay grade, it’s easy to understand their decision to follow him to Gainesville, but it also puts the Cajuns in a bind having to revamp their entire coaching staff.
For Athletic Director Bryan Maggard, his plan is simple: keep the same culture in Lafayette and build off of what they’ve accomplished. It’s why he promoted Michael Desormeaux: an in-house coach who has been nothing but loyal to the university and this program.
Now, this team looks to grow from the last few seasons and hit the ground running to keep this roster in check. Yes, they’ve lost much of their talent to the transfer portal, but the fact that they retained much of their production is worth mentioning. With COVID-19 giving players an extra year of eligibility, this team still brings back an incredible amount of talent.
The roster and loyal coaching staff still remain much the same. It’s been a major point of emphasis for Desormeaux to hire staff that have ties to Lafayette or a deep coaching history in the South.
The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns take on App State in the Sunbelt Championship Game Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. Both of which apply to newly named defensive coordinator LaMar Morgan. A teammate of Desormeaux in their playing days at Cajun Field with SEC experience on the sidelines, their relationship is likely what led him to hiring such a key piece to their coaching staff.
Keeping the culture in Lafayette can be difficult. With so many people ready to throw in the towel and accept a full rebuild process is on the way, times have been tough for this program.
But it’s important to note just what Desormeaux brings to the table. A Cajun at heart who has had the chance to sit under Napier for a handful of years, his experience and resume is off the charts. It’s even shown in his first true recruiting class since taking over.
With less than three months on the job, Desormeaux still assembled a notable recruiting class for the Cajuns, landing eight three-star prospects. Also dipping into the transfer portal, this coaching staff even landed Michigan State transfer James Ohonba. The powerful offensive lineman looks to showcase his talent for a Cajuns program that is known for developing offensive linemen.
This team, this coaching staff and this fan base all are ready to see this new chapter of Ragin’ Cajuns football unfold. Adding talented staff members to this program and retaining much of their roster, the culture this squad has developed over the last few years has the chance to continue being special.