Daye ready for Saints to march in

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 13, 2000

Ferriday, La., native Darryl Daye begins his second season as head coach at Nicholls State as spring training kicks off today for the Colonels.

But that’s not the only reason for the excitement brewing around Thibodaux, La.

The New Orleans Saints are coming to town.

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The Saints announced last week that they will abandon La&160;Crosse, Wis., for Nicholls State University, opening camp on July 13 and using the Colonels’ facilities until Aug. 18.

&uot;The exposure we’re getting from this is unbelievable,&uot; Daye said. &uot;I’ve had calls from friends all over the country from California and Missouri saying they saw it on TV. That kind of exposure you can’t put a price tag on.&uot;

Daye, who spent a lot of time recruiting in the Miss-Lou area, said the benefits for the Nicholls State football program are endless.

&uot;Other than what the improvements they’ll make to the facilities, it will mean our coaches spending a lot of time around pro coaches and they will get to know our players and get a better look,&uot; Daye said. &uot;It will improve recruiting and that will make us better coaches. I haven’t seen a jockey carry a horse over the finish line yet. We’re going to get better real fast.&uot;

The Saints return their training camp to Louisiana after a 13-year hiatus. Thibodaux won over Hammond, La., Lafayette La., Natchitoches, La, and Mobile, Ala.

The Saints have held training camp at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse since 1988.

Daye said the entire transaction happened real quick.

&uot;At first I was just saying that I was glad they were giving us a look,&uot; Daye said. &uot;Then it got a little closer and they kept looking. When all was said and done, it was just unbelievable. But our president and mayor deserve big kudos because they are the driving force who helped it all come to pass.&uot;

Daye will hold his spring game on April 8. The Colonels will return to the practice field for fall drills in August.

&uot;We will overlap about seven days so there will be some adjustment,&uot; Daye said. &uot;The Saints were asking that question when we first started talking to them. I told them we would practice in the cane field if we have to get them here, but it won’t be that much of an adjustment. It will be worth it.&uot;

New Orleans coach Jim Haslett will probably welcome Thibodaux’s laid-back atmosphere.

The first-year Saint coach and his family rode on the Endymion float during Mardi Gras.

&uot;We didn’t get to the Superdome until nearly midnight,&uot; Haslett told the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Haslett said he nearly ran out of beads and coins to throw, having to be a bit stingy during the latter stages so he would have some left when the float reached the Superdome.

&uot;The crowds were great though, even though sometimes it was hard to tell if they were screaming or swearing,&uot; Haslett was quoted as saying. &uot;One guy told me this is what we would get if we ever won a playoff game, much less the Super Bowl.&uot;

Haslett said his 7-year-old son Chase especially enjoyed the ride, including seeing some things the police were supposed to crack down on this year.

&uot;My son grew up a lot during that parade,&uot; Haslett said.

Joey Martin is sports editor of The Democrat. He can be reached by calling 446-5172 ext. 232 or at