Cowboy Sanchez joins Rec. Dept.Aug 1st, 2011 | By William Dilella | Category: News
Jeff Sanchez—a former Dallas Cowboy and a recent inductee to the St. Bernard Sports Hall of Fame—has signed with the Parish Recreation Department as the program director.
A resident of St. Bernard, Sanchez said he wants to stress fundamentals to young athletes and offer guidance to the youth in the Parish.
“I am happy that I am in this position,” Sanchez said. “Every kid that plays in our recreation system may not play high school or college ball, but the things that we are going to teach them on the field—the work ethic and the discipline—can help them in other avenues of life.
[We] want to create better people, which in turn creates a better community.
“If we take the several hundred kids in our programs, and we produce one doctor, one attorney and one professional sports player and they come back to St. Bernard, that makes our community better,” Sanchez said. “That’s my idea in the broader scope of things.”
Parish President Craig Taffaro—who coached Sanchez back when he played at Archbishop Hannan High School—believes Sanchez will accomplish great things in his new position.
Jeff will bring a balance to the department in establishing the right focus between competition, sportsmanship and skill development,”Taffaro said.
Parish Recreation Department Director Melissia O’Neil agreed that Sanchez’s expertise will bring a new dynamic to programs.
“Jeff is a great addition to our department,” O’Neil said. “He brings a vast knowledge of many sports and will be a tremendous help with teaching and setting up our clinics for our youth. He loves the kids.”
Born in New Orleans, Sanchez was raised in Violet. In his teen years, he attended Archbishop Hannan High School before moving to the Tulane University team. Then he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.
He played as a defensive back for six games, remaining with the team through their 2003-2004 seasons. Later, Sanchez was traded to the Detroit Lions, before he went on to Europe, playing as part of the Amsterdam Admirals in the NFL’s European league, and making the NFL All Europe Team twice. After his two years in Amsterdam, Sanchez joined the Tampa Bay Storm before moving back to Violet.
As the Recreation Department’s program manager, Sanchez will oversee development of training programs, like the pre-season football clinics and one of his first initiatives to the position—a drive inviting residents to donate cleats and sports shoes, as an affordable alternative for players.
“I’ve always known kids who couldn’t afford sports shoes,” Sanchez said. “There are a lot of kids that won’t come tell you, ‘My mom can’t afford to get me new shoes.’ I think this would be providing a good service to th community. I see a lot of kids that come to football practice with tennis shoes. I think there are a lot of parents out here who may even go out and purchase a new pair of cleats to donate.
It’s about creating equal opportunity for everybody.”
Sanchez is asking for all cleats to be donated by the second week of practice, which begins Aug. 29. Teams will be drafted in mid-August.