Jesuit Theology Teacher Chris LaMothe Honored at Tulane Football Season Opener
Chris LaMothe is happily retired these days, assuming your definition of retirement is having only one full-time job.
No longer does the Jesuit theology teacher report for a second shift as a football coach, breaking down film during his lunch hour, sweating through afternoon practices, and spending three nights a week at stadiums either calling plays from the press box or scouting rivals.
“Coaching football at a big-time school can really consume you, and to a large extent it did,” says LaMothe. “Now, I go to Mass every morning, have dinner with my wife every day, and exercise regularly,” says LaMothe, who has shed more than 100 pounds since stepping away from coaching.
He hasn’t left the game altogether. During the summer of 2014, LaMothe volunteered his Tuesday afternoons to work with the Christian Brothers Falcons middle school football team.
More recently, he spent a good deal of time doing one of the things he does best—mentoring young quarterbacks. This summer, LaMothe worked with recent Jesuit graduate Trey LaForge ’15 on his throwing mechanics. The work seems to be paying off—LaForge, a preferred walk-on at LSU, was just added the Tigers’ official roster, according to a report posted August 25 on NOLA.com.
While LaForge is a work in progress, LaMothe’s tutelage has already paid off for another former Jesuit signal caller, Tanner Lee ’13, who has earned the starting job at Tulane.
That mentoring began pretty much the day Lee arrived at Carrollton and Banks. “When I first came to Jesuit (LaMothe) said I’m green as grass,’’ Lee told NOLA.com in October of 2012. “He put me in front of a chalk board and began teaching me.”
“I’m not sure my influence had too much to do with Tanner’s development,” says LaMothe. “He’s as coachable as they come. He wanted to learn. He wanted to reach his full potential.”
Early last week, LaMothe got a phone call. He checked the caller ID and saw the Tulane Athletic Department was on the line. “I figured they were after me about season tickets,” laughs LaMothe.
Instead, the caller on the line was offering two freebies to the home opener against Duke. And that was just the beginning. LaMothe was told he was one of five teachers being honored on Teacher Appreciation Night. His benefactor? Tanner Lee, of course.
Between the first and second quarters, LaMothe and four other people cited by Tulane football players for having profound influences on their lives were escorted on to the field. Moments later, there was Lee on the Yulman Stadium Jumbotron delivering pre-taped words of thanks for his friend and mentor. In the video clip, Lee credited LaMothe with “changing his life.”
LaMothe was obviously moved as he watched the heartfelt tribute.
“This was a special night. I’m really glad I was able to attend.”
“You just don’t get to coach many kids like Tanner,” LaMothe continues. “He embodies everything we try to teach young men to be at Jesuit High School.”
About the only thing that didn’t go well during the evening was the game itself. Tulane lost to a Duke team that came into the season riding a three-year streak of appearances in bowl games.
“One loss isn’t going to affect Tanner,” says LaMothe. “He’s a level-headed young man. He’s going to bounce back.”