Sports in the By David Butler ’77 THROUGH THE YEARS there have been many families who have impacted the Catholic High School Athletic Program, but as Coach Pete Boudreaux ’59 recently stated, “You have to begin with the Didiers.” In 1936, Irby Didier decided to move his family from Marksville to Baton Rouge. The oldest son, Bob Didier, graduated from Marksville High School before the move, but the rest of the Didier boys, Raymond ’37, Clyde ’39, Pearce ’41, Mel ’44 and Gerald ’50, made their way to Catholic High. “Dad sent all the boys to Catholic High because of Brother Peter,” said Mel. “Dad had gone to St. Stanislaus as a young boy and knew Brother Peter. When we came to Baton Rouge, we went to Catholic High because of that relationship.” Raymond was only at CHS for one year, competing in football, basketball and American Legion baseball. “At that time, CHS did not have organized high school baseball, but played American Legion ball which was school based,” commented Gerald. Raymond received a football scholarship to Southwestern Louisiana Institute, which is now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He eventually became the head baseball coach and then athletic director at Nichols State University. Clyde competed in football, basketball and was a catcher in American Legion baseball while at Catholic. He also participated in the National Catholic Basketball Tournament, hosted by Loyola University in Chicago. After graduating from Catholic High, Clyde received a football and baseball scholarship to Southwestern Louisiana Institute. His sons, Clyde Jr. ’65, Daryl ’70, Gary ’73, and Brian ’77, all graduated from Catholic High. Pearce Didier is best known for his quarterback play and kicking in Catholic High’s upset over the 1940 St. Stanislaus team led by Doc Blanchard. With seconds left in the game, Pearce kicked a 16-yard field goal giving Catholic High a 16-13 win. After graduation, he attended Louisiana Tech University on a football and baseball scholarship. World War II broke out and Pearce was drafted.
Fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, he was captured by the Germans and held prisoner. After the war he returned to Louisiana Tech making Little All-American as a tailback. Mel Didier is in his 60th year as a professional baseball scout. While at CHS, Mel played football, basketball and baseball. In football, Mel made All-State and All-Southern States teams as a center, and received a football scholarship to LSU. During his senior year at CHS, Mel approached Brother Ralph to form a school baseball team that Didier played on and coached, advancing to the State tournament. Mel signed a professional contract with the Detroit Tigers, but after injuring his arm, returned to coaching. In 1953, he coached Catholic High to its first State Baseball Championship. Gerald was the last of the Didier’s to graduate from Catholic. “I started Catholic High in the fourth grade which back then was the earliest you could start,” noted Gerald. “Sports were all I knew. I would watch my brothers play and practically lived in the school gym.” Gerald lettered three years in baseball, basketball and football. In football, he scored a touchdown in Catholic High’s 1948, 14-6 upset over national powerhouse, St. James, from Port Arthur, Texas. In 1948, the Catholic High baseball team won the prestigious Houston Chamber of Commerce Prep Baseball Tournament and Gerald was named to the All-Tournament Team. He signed a basketball and baseball scholarship at Southwestern Louisiana Institute. In 1952, Gerald signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers where he spent five years in the organization. Raymond, Clyde and Mel were each inducted into the Catholic High Grizzly Great Athletic Hall of Fame. “In the 1930’s and 40’s the Didiers were a major part of Catholic High athletics. There was always a Didier in school and they were all so good,” said Boudreaux. “The greatest thing that happened to our family is that mom and dad made us go to Catholic High,” said Mel. “We learned great discipline in life and how to be men. The Brothers were all great teachers and wonderful role models.”
A Brothers of the Sacred Heart School Since 1894