Interview: McDonogh 35 coach Frank Daggs on football opportunities, dealing with injustices

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Born and raised in New Orleans, Frank Daggs has experienced the best of times and the worst of times.

Having attended St. Augustine High School, Daggs received an excellent education and preparation for the world. As a student, player and eventually, a coach, Daggs has had a tremendous impact on the lives of others and continues to do so.

Most recently, Daggs was promoted to head coach at McDonogh 35, replacing his late mentor Wayne Reese, who lost his life to COVID-19 on April 2.

Daggs had been serving with Reese with the Roneagles since 2003.

Now, he is the head coach at McDonogh 35.

While Daggs has seen the best of times at St. Augustine and in New Orleans, he has seen the worst of times as well.

Speaking on All Access on 106.1 FM NASH ICON Monday evening, Daggs addressed the difficult issues at hand.

In the coaching profession, Daggs is thankful for the opportunity he now has but he wonders about opportunities for other minorities in coaching.

“I was just on a Zoom meeting with others in my profession,” Daggs said. “In college athletics, they have over 260 college institutions at all levels and 40 minority head coaches. The other guys mentioned that out of 1,200 coordinators, they only have 140 minority coordinators. I didn’t realize that. I’m going to look it up, myself, and try to find out some more stuff on it.”

Does Daggs feel the lack of minority hires reflects subliminal or overt discrimination?

“It’s hard to for me to say because I’m not in the building or in those shoes everyday but I’ve heard from a bunch of commissioners around the country, the AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) and I’ve seen guys go into interviews and they are the right person for the job and all of a sudden, then went on and hired some other candidates,” Daggs said. “You never know the real reason. I really think it’s going to come out soon. It will come to light.”

Has Daggs experienced mistreatment from law enforcement in his lifetime?

“I’ve seen it many times in the African-American community,” Daggs said. “I can remember, I think I was about 12 at the time, me and all my friends, we had a habit of playing basketball in the street. We had about 15 or 20 of us. I grew up in New Orleans East. It was a summer day, everybody’s having fun, and then four cars pull up on us from every angle. They demanded us to put our hands on the car. The hot sun was beaming down. It was very hot. We were all kids and they searched us for no reason.

“We were just playing basketball and about 15 minutes, the whole neighborhood, all the parents came our in an uproar and then decided to back down to get out of there. It was like, ‘while are you all messing with us?’ I never understood that until I got older. Growing up and being an adult now and I really don’t understand why it happened. You try to understand. There are rally stereotyping a bunch of us playing basketball, playing football, just having fun. It was very disheartening at the time.”

Daggs teaches his student-athletes to try to rise above the distractions and inequities they experience.

“I know the kids in New Orleans right now, the people on our team, every week there is something going on,” Daggs said. “We try to keep them positive. I tell them to come to school, get your grades, play football so you can make a better life for yourself to go on to any college you want and make something great out of yourself. That’s our goal, right there, to keep them positive, to keep them motivated.”

Does the discrimination make Daggs sad, mad or both?

“A little bit of both,” Daggs said. “It makes you sad because you are still stereotyped or you’re still in a situation around your house or in your neighborhood or community where law enforcement is messing with you. It’s kind of hard to say, Ken, I’m not going to lie. There’s mixed emotions going on when you think about it.”

What does Daggs tell his pupils?

“Just do the right thing every day and everything should be good for you,” Daggs said. “Don’t get into anything going home or anything around the house. You know right from wrong. You know you made the right judgment”

Is progress being made in race relations and fair treatment from law enforcement with the actions of the past week?

“I hope it does,” Daggs said. “It makes me sick to my stomach when I turn on the TV the last three months about COVID and then now the last week or week and a half about protests. It’s bad enough. I’m a football guy. I’m waiting for practice, I’m waiting to watch football, I’m waiting to watch live sports on TV but everything is on the news about what’s going on, current events, and it’s like, ‘man I hope everybody opens their eyes and see what needs to happen.”

Daggs has a bright view of what the future would hold.

“We can be one big happy family, one brotherhood and everything and go on with your life and to stop judging folks by their color,” Daggs said. “Accept people for who they are and I’ll be happy. That’s what we all have to do and that’s the reason we were all placed on this earth, to make a difference, some way, somehow.”

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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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