OBITUARY

Shannon Suarez

January 19, 1934July 25, 2020
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Coach Shannon Suarez of Sulphur, Louisiana died on July 25, 2020 in a local hospital as a result of COVID-19. He was born in Biloxi, Mississippi on January 19, 1934 to Joseph Ambrose Suarez and Ida Mae Ingram Suarez. As a child, he had a love of sports and in the 5th grade he knew he wanted to be a coach. He never wavered from this goal in life. In high school, he was an outstanding athlete who lettered in four sports. It was in high school that he first met his mentor, Coach Bear Bryant. They developed a friendship that would last until Bear’s death in 1983. After graduating from high school, he went to Perkins Junior College where he played football and baseball. From there he transferred to San Angelo State where he also played football. He really enjoyed his time at San Angelo State and made lifelong friends. After San Angelo State, Shannon joined the Marines and served for two years, earning the rank of Sargeant. Next he went to Southern Miss where he majored in Education and continued on with his Master’s. After college graduation, his first job was at Jefferson Military Academy in Natchez, Mississippi where he taught cadets. While teaching there, Hollywood came and filmed “The Horse Soldier” with John Wayne in the starring role. Coach’s cadets were in the movie and he met and befriended John Wayne, himself. His next job was at Ocean Springs High School where he coached junior high basketball and football. He was promoted to head high school football and basketball coach after two years, achieving winning records his two years at the helm. Coach earned the respect of the entire community and kept in touch with many of his players from Ocean Springs throughout his lifetime. When he was briefly hospitalized on June 11, 2020, he visited with one of his favorite players from that era, Frank Galle. From Ocean Springs, he moved on to Sulphur High School in 1963 as the offensive and defensive line coach. In ‘64 the Tors advanced to the state finals and in ‘65 the Tors won the state championship. His star pupil, Arthur Davis, was named the Louisiana Outstanding Lineman and went on to a stellar career at LSU. Subsequently, Coach was promoted to the head coaching position at Sulphur High in 1966, and was named Louisiana Coach of the Year. He patterned his coaching style and his practices throughout his career after Bear Bryant. Coach Suarez believed in discipline, hard work, taking care of the little things, and having a strong character. He was probably best known for being a master motivator. He was often asked what it took to have such a successful football program and he would say, “It takes a lot of things to have a successful program. You have to have a good coaching staff, but probably the two most important things are to keep politics out of your program and have a good principal.” Coach Suarez had the privilege of serving under one of the best principals in Mr. B.S. Walker. While at Sulphur, Coach compiled an impressive record of 144-46-4. His team made the State Finals in 1968 (where they lost to Woodlawn and the legendary Joe Ferguson). His teams made the state semifinals twice and state quarterfinals 5 other years. He led the Golden Tornadoes to ten District 3-4A Championships. Coach was named SWLA Coach of the Year three times and was proudly inducted into the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. He was respected and loved by former players and students whom he taught lifelong lessons. Many of his players benefitted from college football scholarships gained under his tutelage and had outstanding careers. He was a wealth of wisdom and had many sayings and one-liners that stick with people to this day. The two he may be most known for are, “You can’t fly with the buzzards at night and soar with the eagles during the day,” and, “You never see a bluebird sitting next to a buzzard.” He was a popular speaker at coaching clinics, including at the University of Alabama. He would impart his vast knowledge about the game to the younger coaches who carried it on throughout their careers. Many called his system “ahead of its time.” He kept up with his former players and was always so proud of their accomplishments. As coach and athletic director at SHS, he really enjoyed watching his athletes competing in other sports and representing their school. He is survived by his daughter Kristi Suarez Sanner and husband Charles, son Wayne Suarez and wife Penny, son Bryant “Bear” Suarez, son Shannon “Cubby” Suarez, his six grandchildren and his six great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Eileen Suarez, his sister Inez Drieling, and his brother Joseph A. Suarez, Jr. The family would like to extend special thanks to Travis Stanford, who spent countless hours watching sports, especially football, movies, listening to gospel music and Elvis Presley during the last years of his life. He loved Travis like a son. They’d also like to extend thanks to Bertha Pappilon and his aide Paula Harmon. Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Hixson-Sulphur Memorial Funeral Home. Visitation will be held from 4-8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at Henning Memorial United Methodist Church, 404 South Huntington St., Sulphur, LA and will resume on Wednesday from 12 p.m. until the time of service at 2 p.m. also at Henning Memorial United Methodist Church. Burial will be at Mimosa Pines Cemetery South in Carlyss. If you’d like to make a donation in his memory, Coach Suarez was an avid supporter of St. Jude Hospital in Memphis, TN. His two loves were the Sulphur Golden Tors and the Alabama Crimson Tide, and at 1:45 PM on July 25th, he got the best seat in the house. Go Tors and Roll Tide!

  • FAMILY

  • Kristi Suarez Sanner (Charles), Daughter
  • Wayne Suarez (Penny), Son
  • Bryant “Bear” Suarez, Son
  • Shannon “Cubby” Suarez, Son
  • Eileen Suarez, Wife (deceased)
  • Inez Drieling, Sister (deceased)
  • Joseph A. Suarez, Jr, Brother (deceased)
  • six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Services

  • Visitation

    Tuesday, July 28, 2020

  • Visitation

    Wednesday, July 29, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Memories

Shannon Suarez

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Coach Linam

December 21, 2020

I coached with this good man at Tate HS, 1984. I only coached with him for 5 months. He made a lasting impression on me! Easy to love this coach/man! He will be missed! Love you Coach.

Kelley Stafford Smith

September 4, 2020

I'm so sorry for your loss. Your family will be in my prayers.

Dan Donaldson

August 1, 2020

Mrs.Katherine, Wayne, Kristi, Bear and Cubby,
Too many phenomenal memories to mention. Nobody could have or would have walked into mom's bedroom at 6:30 am on a Saturday morning but Coach. Remarkable man. Anytime I see one of my high school friends he is still in a story and someone is still imitating something he said. I will miss the thought of Aunt Baby and Coach. Your families will be in my prayers.
Dan Donaldson

Jimmy LeDoux

July 31, 2020

Coach had a profound impact upon my life. I will be forever grateful for the lessons of life and the desire to never give up. Many times in my career I felt that I could not achieve my goals. However the foundation that Coach gave us as players to fly with the eagles and to attain our dreams was profound. Thanks coach. I will forever remember!!!

robert lequeux

July 30, 2020

coach Shannon was one of the greatest persons that a student could have as a mentor. He always wanted you to treat everyone with respect,. he always wanted you to do your best. May he rest in PEACE

Larry Usilton

July 30, 2020

To the family and friends of Coach Shannon Suarez. Please know that all of you are in my thoughts and prayers. Coach Suarez was my PE teacher and basketball coach at Ocean Springs High School. Although he was only a part of my life from 1959 to 1963, he was a tremendous influence. In the years that followed, I thought of him often. Whatever I achieved in the realm of amateur athletics (primarily basketball and softball), I owe to Coach Suarez. To be sure, he will be missed. God bless all of you.

Mary Hale

July 29, 2020

Kristi, this is Mary Abel Hale writing.
I just heard about your dad. So sorry for your loss but I know you have wonderful memories of him. Coach Suarez, that’s all my brothers would talk about how he coached them and are so grateful for his
Hard work ethic and his passion for the game and winning. The more they tell the story the more the story grows....we get a laugh out of that. And I remember one of his favorite songs by Bobby Goldsboro “Honey I miss you“. When I use to baby sit you your dad would come home and put that song on. Your mom would yell at him to quit playing it!!!!! He just loved that song and when I hear it I think about him.
He would always make me feel special when I would see him. He would call me Mary Mary. So please know my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Take care

David Duhon D.C.

July 29, 2020

I always wondered why coach made me carry the football around with me after I fumbled in a starting game as a Sophmore, Then I just could not understand why I had to hold this ball all day long, well it dawned on me in chiropractic college one day, in anatomy class and understanding the human body he wanted me and the ball to be as one no matter what my other hand was doing the hand on the ball always held on and for that was an eye opening moment Coach was a genusis may prayers your way to your family and one day you can coach me again coach god bless.

Mishayla Vincent

July 28, 2020

Rest in Paradise Coach. The fact that he looked you in your eyes and he demanded the same when talking to you. Utmost respect. Pray for God's peace comfort and strength over the family. 143

Stephen Lyons

July 28, 2020

"Coach" had a way of doing things like no other, as students we actually really did not understand his true purpose but as adults because of the way and what he taught it becomes very clear! One day during PE he asked," Lyons do you do everything as well as you perform here in the gym? Of course, I said Yes Sir! Which was the wrong answer, he said why don't you come"visit" with me again this afternoon! Needless to say, it was not the visit I expected and one I will never forget!! Coach taught things to Boys that most Men do not know today. If you do things the right way, all the time, every time as a Team. The Impossible becomes Possible! "Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Suarez Family"
Stephen and Kathy Lyons & Family

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