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Scholarship to honor memory of legendary N.O. coach and mentor

24th March 2014   ·   0 Comments

By Ro Brown
Contributing Writer

Legendary high school coach Felix “Zoo” James was all about giving back. Fittingly, months after his death, his memory continues “giving back.”

Coach James, a highly successful football, basketball and track coach at L.B. Landry High School, passed away September 18, 2013. One month later, a group of his former student-athletes of 60 years ago got together in Tyler, Texas, intent on keeping James’ legacy alive.

That meeting gave birth to the Landry Texas College Athletic Association (LTCAA) with the primary goal of providing scholarships to graduating seniors at Landry-Walker High School through the Coach Felix “Zoo” James Scholarship Fund.

“I guess I was one of the first crowd from Landry that he got scholarships to Texas College, so we just wanted to keep his memory going,” says Denard Davis, a 1952 graduate of Landry and a 1956 alumnus of Texas College in Tyler, Texas. He was a three-sport letterman in high school and college.

“I got a list and I came up with 20-something kids that he just sent to Texas. That doesn’t include all the kids he sent to Xavier, Dillard, Southern and all the other schools”

Felix James graduated from Xavier University in 1941. He began his coaching career at Gaudet High School in New Orleans before moving to L. B. Landry where he coached football, basketball and track.

He led the Buccaneers to five district, three city and one LIALO state football title in 1959.

Basketballer Clarence Red who starred at Loyola of Chicago, Richard Jackson of the Denver Broncos and Alvin Haymond of the Baltimore Colts are just a few of the quality athletes he helped produce. In 1989 he was inducted into the Sugar Bowl Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame.

Coach James was also Orleans Parish Schools Director of Certificated Personnel.

So the purpose of the Home­coming 2013 Gathering at Texas College was an effort to do for current and future students what Felix James did for them.

“With ‘Coach’ it wasn’t just the team or the academics. It was going the extra mile,” Davis told The Louisiana Weekly. “That’s what he did for us and that’s one of the things I’ve done since I’ve been in California. He was our role model.”

Denard Davis retired in 1996 as Assistant Superintendent of Merced County (Ca.) Schools. Coach Felix James joined Davis at his retirement celebration, delivering the keynote address.

The Landry Texas College Alumni Association is accepting donations which will fund scholarships for deserving Landry-Walker graduates. All donations are tax-deductible and membership is $100.00 per year. Donations should be made to “LTCAA” for any amount each year.

The membership drive will take place from January 1 through April 15 of each year. Finally, donations should be mailed to:

LTCAA
Mr. Joseph Williams, Treasurer
6311 Brighton Place
New Orleans, Louisiana 70131.

The Landry Texas College Alumni Association has filed for a 501 (c)(3) designation by the IRS.(EIN:46-4415669).

This article originally published in the March 17, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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