Banner Image by J.R. Lawless
As community ambassador, I’ve been asked to go and touch base with our pool of SFL talent to help get to know better the people involved with our league. I was given a new assignment by one the head of the Beat Team, Mr. Ray Bentley. Bentley asked me to travel down to the Bayous of Louisiana for an interview with Gerald Smith, the new owner of the Louisiana Revolution. I found this news quite interesting because the last time Gerald and I had spoken, he was still coach of the St.Louis Gladiators
“I’ll see you when you get back – and make sure you please bring a box of King Cake and beignet mix.” Ray said. I agreed and headed off to my new destination: the Louisiana Revolution headquarters.
When I arrived on location, I noticed the colorful homes, the Delta Queen River boat, bayous and the lush, verdant life of the area. Even the wilting Spanish moss and Weeping willows help to give the Louisiana area some scenic charm. It personally reminded me of Savannah, GA. In Houma, Louisiana, I was greeted with strong smells of gumbo, sweets and the river. Basking in the ambiance wasn’t what I was here to do, though, so it was time to meet my assignment: Mr.Gerald Smith.
“Welcome to my home AJ. I’m so happy to have you here!” Gerald’s warm demeanor was immediately welcoming.
“Thank you for having me” I said. We sat and had a spread of local delicacies: fresh fruit and mint, spicy gator, clams, gumbo, and shrimp and crawfish poboys! With so much culinary delight, keeping focused on the matter at hand was difficult… but not impossible.
AJ: How does it feel to be one the newest owners in the league?
GS: I feel blessed and excited to be a part of the ownership group. It’s a goal of mine since joining over two years ago.
AJ: How were you approached about being the new owner of the New Orleans Pharaohs, and how did that experience make you feel?
GS: I had heard a rumor that the owner of New Orleans might be leaving ownership so I reached out to owner (Aaron Arrington) and everything kind of fell into place afterwards. Once we agreed in principle on the sale it was then taken to the next step for owner approval. I was nervous but all went well.
AJ: What are your plans for hiring coaching and front office staff?
GS: I have an excellent GM in Jeff Melinyshyn already, but I plan to get staff hired at all necessary positions in the front office. I am also very much looking for scouts and coaches. There are lots of quality coaches in the SFLm right now.
AJ: Why did you decide to stay in NO instead of move the team elsewhere?
GS: I am from Louisiana. Born, raised and still live the state. I thought it was important to not only keep the team in the state but to represent the entire state of Louisiana.
AJ: What is your coaching philosophy?
GS: Its important to have a scheme offensive and defensively that puts the players in the best possible position to succeed. Know your team’s strengths, and build your gameplan around those strengths.
AJ: Do you have your team build and player builds set or are you in need of important positions to be filled?
GS: At this time of this writing we are in need some key positions, but at the time that the readers are reading this I believe we’ll have some if those positions filled. A few of our key needs are QB, WRs, TE along with D-linemen. There’s excellent talent across the entire SFLm and quality FAs so I’m sure we’ll get those positions of need filled.
GS: Players can expect to join a fun yet professional setting in the locker room. Having fun is what it’s all about.
AJ: What are the differences,regarding time spent and responsibilities, between being a GM, owner, and coach?
GS: All 3 positions have a lot of responsibilities and needs a certain level of attention for the team to be successful. They each differ in some ways but all are essential to the overall success of the team.
AJ: What are your plans for S15 team-wise and personally?
GS: We plan to field very competitive team this season and beyond. Personally I’d like the players and all staff members to have fun because without the players and staff we don’t have a team. The happiness of the players and staff are as important to the organization as it is to the players and staff.
“I thank you so much for your time Gerald. I believe that you will make Aaron Arrington, your team, the United Houma Nation and the state of Louisiana proud!” I said.
“Oh I definitely plan to. People will know the Revolution is coming so the better look out!” He said with a smile.
I left feeling good that I received the chance to interview the man that would jump start an honorable franchise, and realized that I may have been a part of history in the making.