Pictured above is the man tabbed to lead the Pine Prairie High School Panther football team, David Michael Carrell. The South Terrebonne High School and Nicholls State grad was named to the position in February. Carrell was a long snapper on the Southern University and LSU football squads. (Gazette photo by Tracey Jagneaux)
The Pine Prairie Panther football program will have a new leader at the helm of the ship, as David Michael Carrell took over the title of head football coach back in February.
Carrell follows outgoing head coach Yves Prince, who retired at mid-term.
Like Prince, Carrell brings college experience to the job, having played for two years at Southern University as a long snapper. Carrell was also a member of the LSU Tigers program at one point.
Carrell, a Church Point native moved to the small community of Bourg, which is located just south of Houma, when he was five years old.
“I go back to Church Point all the time,” stated Carrell. “We still have family there. It seems that every summer we were there. I really love the feel of little country towns.”
Throughout his childhood, Carrell played other sports, just like any other red-blooded kid. However, since he was old enough to begin playing youth football at age seven, Carrell decided that football was the game he loved the most.
Carrell carried that love with him during his playing days at South Terrebonne High School. One of the duties Carrell had as a member of the Gator gridiron squad, was being the team’s long snapper, a job he had ever since junior high football.
“During my seventh grade year, my dad, who was helping coach, got some of the players together and had a tryout for long snapper,” said Carrell. “After my first attempt, he said ‘looks like your the long snapper’. From there we found some camps to go to so that I could get better at doing that job. I just continued to improve throughout high school.’
Carrell got so good that by his senior season, he was the No. 1 rated long snapper in the state. In December of 2014, after graduating a semester early, Carrell received a full scholarship to Southern University to be their long snapper.
Carrell spent two seasons at Southern and then for personal reasons, he transferred to LSU. Carrell spent spring practice on the Tiger squad, but had to hang up his cleats after being diagnosed with Epilepsy.
“LSU approached me and told me that they could not keep me on with my condition because of liability issues,” commented Carrell. “I totally understood. From their perspective is was a business decision. At the end of the day, I accepted it and moved on.”
After doing a year of residency at LSU, Carrell transferred to Nicholls to finish his degree in History.
While at Nicholls, Carrell helped out the football program as a CECP coach at Ellender Memorial High School, located on the outskirts of Houma.
“Since my freshman year in high school, I have looked forward to being a football coach one day,” said Carrell. “I’ve always felt like I have understood the game. I knew that I was not going to play football forever. Using long snapping to get the college ranks allowed me to be exposed to the game at that level. After being part of a college program, I feel confident that I can pull my own weight.”
Through his connections in Church Point and being that Church Point is in Pine Prairie’s district, Carrell heard through the grapevine the head coaching position with the Panthers was up for grabs. So, after making a couple of phone calls, Carrell took a shot and sent his application and resume in.
“I thought, hey, I might be the youngest head coach in the nation, but it does not hurt to look into it,” Carrell said. “Fortunately, everything worked out. I am very grateful, despite my age, that the administration understand the vision I have for this program. The staff and administration believed in me enough to buy into me.”
Carrell knows that the head coach is only as successful as his assistant coaches. For that reason, the first-year head coach is keeping the staff intact.
“It would be a dream if I could fill the staff with the allotted seven coaches, but I know that may be hard to get,” stated Carrell. “I have every confidence in the guys we have on staff already, but it never hurts to have as many as you can get.”