College Football High School Memories of Texas Football NFL Uncategorized

LOUIS FITE, PARADE ALL AMERICAN

on
March 13, 2021

Louis: Hello?

Paul: Good. Paul Heckmann here, sir.

So, let’s get right to it. So I undertand you’re a SoCal kid, born in Compton, California?

Louis: Yes sir, I was born in Compton, California.

Paul: Wow, okay, all right. I know exactly where it’s at. I used to work in San Pedro on the ships down there.

Louis: Oh, yes sir, I know exactly where that’s at.

Paul: A little bit different place, you know?

Louis: Oh, my God, it was rough. Fights and worse happening all the time.

Paul:` How old were you when you moved to Waco

Louis: I didn’t move to Waco till I was 12.

Paul: Did your parents send you to Waco?

Louis: Well, my auntie sent me to Waco. I was living with my auntie. My mother, my father had left me with her, it was hard. She was doing the drugs and everything.

Paul: Oh no.

Louis: Yes, yes. I was homeless at that – like at age of 9 years old, on the street.

Paul: Oh my God. Oh, in Compton, too. Ooh, boy.

Louis: Yes, sir.

Paul: So, how did you survive there?

Louis: Just really just like trying to go to school every day, eat breakfast and lunch. I wasn’t really going to eat dinner, you know? I just – what I got out of school, you know, reality kicked in and I had nowhere to go. So, I just really went to convenience stores and they helped a lot. They give me something to eat, and after that I find me some homeless people and follow the trail with them.

Paul: Yes. Were you digging into trash cans?

Louis: Yes sir. I did all that.

Paul: Now, you said your auntie sent you to Waco.

Louis: Yes sir.

Paul: And now who was here in Waco that you knew?

Louis: Well, my mother was in Marshall, Texas, and my grandmother passed away. My mother’s mother passed away and left her house in Waco, so they moved to Waco and they got my auntie and told her we finally got a house. So, she sent me to Waco.

Paul: Okay. What part of town were you all in in Waco?

Louis: East Waco.

Paul: I see you all were over at Wiley, were you?

Louis: Yes, I was living by Wiley, but I went to Lake Air.

Paul: Oh, wow, that’s a drive.

Louis: That’s a drive, yes. It was crazy because like all the Waco kids, they were at Wiley and all the East Waco kids, we all went to Lake Air.

Paul: You know something? That happened when I was at Richfield, which of course became your HS, Waco High.

Louis: But my brother went to school at Richfield.

Paul: What was his name?

Louis: Dwayne. Dwayne Low. He was like ’82, ’83.

Paul: Yes, a little bit after me.

Louis: Yes sir.

Paul: So, you’re down at – you went to Lake Air Jr High. Did you play ball when you were at Lake Air?

Louis: Yes, I played some ball. They was like, it’s like when they – like after the sixth game of the season and the seventh game, the people said that I couldn’t even touch the ball no more because I was – like I scored every time I touched the ball, you know? So, they were like, you can’t touch the ball no more. I was like, really, coach? He’s like, yes, you gotta wait till next year to touch the football. You were bad, some people.

Paul: I guess you were going there with Curtis Jones, is that correct?

Louis: Yes, Curtis. I was to there – yes sir.

 Paul: And then Waco HS. Coach Tusa just loved me to death, man. You could tell, his voice just lit up when he was talking about you, so did Coach Harms. Yes, I talked to Coach Harms, too.

Louis: Oh, I loved those guys.

Paul: Coach Harms was my offensive coordinator when I want to Texas A&I so we reminisced a bit.

Louis: That’s crazy. Coach Harms was a good man.

Paul: We both followed the same path, just different times, you know?

Louis: Right. You got that right.

Paul: I’ll talk about him in a minute. I gotta talk about Coach Tusa.

Louis: Okay.

Paul: Now, you were there with Coach Tusa and Coach Grimes and some people like that.

Louis: Yes sir. Coach Grimes, Coach Love, Coach Bishop.

Paul: Now, tell me a little bit about in high school. Now, you come up from Lake Air. Now, I heard in one interview you did that you were homeless for a while while you were in high school, is that correct?

Louis: Yes, I was homeless my whole high school years.

Paul: No kidding.

Louis: Yes, I was homeless from the ninth grade to the twelfth grade.

Paul: So, what happened to the house over in East Waco?

Louis: It just – I mean, I don’t know. It’s like me, me and my father, we just couldn’t see eye to eye on – like a lot of stuff because I wasn’t used to somebody beating on my mom, you know?

Paul: Oh, no,

Louis: I wasn’t used to that. So, I used to always get into it with him, and my mom would tell me no. Next day he’d do the same thing. You know? So, I was like, he just told me to leave this house, get away from his house. I’m like, okay, I’ll just leave because I don’t want to see anything like that, you know?

Paul: Oh, man, that’s horrible.

Louis: So, yes, yes.

Paul: That’s horrible.

Louis: And so I just – you know, I had it in – I had it in for like a lot of people. A lot of people went to my mom and dad house and they had fun, and they say, you know, “Why you don’t be there?” I’m like, “Y’all don’t see the inside. Y’all see the outside. The inside is deeper, you know?”

Paul: Right. They put on a good front once they were outside.

Louis: They put on a good – yes, yes, yes.

Paul: That’s horrible for your mom, man. It’s absolutely horrible.

Louis: Yes. I don’t understand either. I don’t. You know, I feel like I raised myself. I did it by a lot of people mistakes that I seen them do, I’m not gonna do that. So, that’s how I raised myself on right from wrong.

Paul: Seems like you did one heck of a job, everybody – all of the coaches and everybody that I talked to always talked about your character.

Louis: Yes sir.

Louis Fite running for the Waco Lions, courtesy Louis Fite

Paul: And there’s a whole lot – what you’re telling me right now, that’s character. I love that, man.

So, let me talk about – let’s talk about being a student.

Louis: Yes sir.

Paul: Was that tough for you?

Louis: It was. It was tough because you know like when a kid got like a homework assignment, and he can go home and do it, and you got time, you got people that’s gonna help you out, you know?

Paul: Right.

 

Louis: I’ve never had that. Like anything, homework, anything, I just – I didn’t have time to do it because I had to go get me something to eat, I had to go make sure that I could probably go spend the night over some kid house, you know? And I probably gotta wait till 10:00, 11:00 just to ask his mom and dad because it was hard because I never had a stable place to do a homework. I never had a stable place to study. Because when I got to school, it was class class class, football. Class class class, football. And when I went home, I didn’t have a home.

Paul: Right.

Louis: I didn’t have nowhere to go. I was living in like North Waco Park. I was living sometime in East Waco Park. Sometimes somebody let me spend a night in their den or something like, but I never had a home.

Paul: Little Lions Park, too I bet.

Louis: Yes, yes, yes, Lions Park, you know? So, I never – it was hard for me. I never had a chance to relax and really do what I could do. That’s why people say “Aw, Louis Fite was dumb.” I never had a chance.

Paul: Yes, yes.

Louis: I flunked the SAT test when I was getting put out on the streets. I didn’t know anything. All I knew is I had to survive, go to school, be right. You know, saying get your work done, make sure everything is done before you leave because you can’t take that home. You got nowhere to go, you know?

So, I never – that’s why I never – you know, people say you should blame Coach Tusa, you shoulda had somebody. But we didn’t have no time. He didn’t know what I was going through. I didn’t come through like that. Every now and then I did, but he never knew until my last yearr– until like to the game we played against Copperas Cove. I had like 285, like almost 300 yards in the first half. Coach Tusa was like, “Hey, you know, we gonna get you out.” And I was like, “Coach, I can’t get out to the game.” He was like, “What’s going on?” I said, “Coach, I have my school shit.” I was like, “I want to go back and eat.” He’s like, “Then score.” That’s the only way people get me some, you know?

So, he was like, “What?” I’m like, “Coach, I gotta score. I know I got that many yards, but I need to score. I need to score.”

Louis Fite and Coach Johnny Tusa back Louis's Waco HS Days, courtesy Louis Fite

Paul: So you earned food by scoring?

Louis: Yes.

Paul: Oh, wow, that’s something.

So, did you graduate from Waco High eventually?

Louis: Yes sir, yes sir. I graduated in ’91.

Paul: Okay, all right. Well, let me go backwards just a little bit there. Now, tell me about breaking the rushing record against Temple as a senior.

Louis: When I play football, I just play football. I play with all my guys, I have fun. But that night right there, I didn’t know anything about it until Coach Tusa, he kinda let it slip out, he was like, hey because we was driving up, and it was like 99 degrees, and the field was soaking wet. Soaking. So, we about to get out the bus, Coach Tusa say, he was talking to Coach Love, he say, “Oh, they gonna wimp out on the field.” He’s saying, “I guess they don’t want to try to break this record tonight.” I said, “What record, Coach?” He talking about the rushing record.

He’s like, “You need like 175 yards away.” I say, okay, well, let’s go get it, you know? I wanted to do it for the team, I wanted to do it for all the players that played with me, you know? Some of the kids had died. Some of my friends that I feel like if they would’ve been living, they really would’ve hit up the football team because they was kids that got caught up in bad situations. But I wanted to do it for the whole Waco, you know?

So, that game was kinda pressured because now I got something to do now. It’s just not a football game no more. It’s like I gotta do this, you know?

And so when I broke it, it was like this is for everybody. And Coach Tusa asked, you know, you need to prove it. I said, “Coach, anything I get, you leave it at Waco High because I did it for Waco High. I didn’t do it for the individual thing. It was all team for me.”

I promise you, I promise to God, the only time I knew about a college is when I was a junior – because I didn’t know that you play football in high school and you go to college. I didn’t know that. I just played football to give me something to eat. I didn’t know anything about college. I didn’t know.

I knew about Baylor. I didn’t know how to get to Baylor, but I knew about Baylor because I used to go to the games when I was young, but I didn’t know how to get to Baylor.

Paul: Right.

Louis: Because I didn’t know that you could play high school football and go to Baylor. I didn’t know that. So –

Paul: You had to achieve certain things to get into Baylor, too.

Louis: Right, and I didn’t know anything. I was just playing football. But the first time I noticed about colleges is Keifer Chatham. I don’t know if you knew Keifer Chatham, he was a defensive end for us. He was like a top 20, a top 30 ranked. He was a senior when I was a junior. And I came out the locker room, when I came out the locker room I was running, and I did a flip. I ran and did a flip, woo! And I was almost like a double. I got lead and I kept running. I guess all of the scouts was out there. They was like, “Who is that?” Because he was like, “That’s Louis Fite. He is gonna be the best.”

And I got talked to by a lot of colleges, but I didn’t know what they was talking about.

They like, “You know, we would love to recruit you,” and stuff. I’m like, “You gotta talk to Coach Tusa about that. You gotta talk to Coach Tusa.” I don’t know what to talk about, you know? And that’s the first time I knew about college.

Paul: Because when you go to college, you get fed.

Louis: You get fed. I’m like, “Okay, I can go get fed again.” I was like, “Oh yeah, my senior life, I’m gonna kill it,” and that’s the reason why. That’s the reason why because I seen it. I seen the stats. I seen Keifer set to go to – you know, so I’m like, “Okay, I can do this. I can do this.”

Paul: Oh, man.

Louis: People didn’t – like I didn’t know anything about no college. I was just playing football.

Paul: Well, you were a Super Centex running back, too.

Dave Campbell, I saw the picture of you and Dave Campbell.

Louis: Yes sir. I love him to death, man.

Paul: He did more for football in Texas. You know, one thing, when you finally made that Texas football magazine, that’s when you know you’re good.

Louis: “Team Ball.” That’s when you know you’re good. There used to be a million kids looking for this Texas high school book, Texas Football Magazine. I mean, I’m like – yes. We wanted to see who was in there, what was – yes, that was the day, that was the day. And for him to vote me on the parade, All American, I was like, thank you for everything, you know?

I mean, he had told me plenty of times, he’s like, “Louis, I’ve seen running backs all my life. I’ve been in this game. I’ve never seen a running back like you.” He said, “You is the best I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen some of the best.” He said, “You the best high school running back I’ve ever seen in my life.”

That was amazing to me.

Paul: Oh, wow, wow, that’s – and big, big words from that man. Big words.

Louis: Big words.

Paul: Oh, man. So, were you in track also when you were at Waco High?

Louis: Yes. I ran a 21.5 in the 200. I was fast. I was fast. One thing I could do was run.

Paul: Yes. Tell me about the accident with your cousin, James. I know it’s a sad story, but it is part of your story.

Louis: Yes sir.

Paul: Tell me a little bit about what happened with your cousin.

Louis: It was just – he was a good guy. He was a good – he was a person that kept me focused, you know?

Paul: Yes sir.

Louis: But he always said, yes – you know – and it was just, it was one night we was walked to a store. We should’ve drove the car. But we had no gas in the car, so we said hey, let’s walk down to the store and get those old jungle juices.

Paul: Yes, yes, yes.

Louis: Those old jungle juices, you know? So, we walked down there to the store. It was me and his sister. So, we walked down there and we turned back around.

Paul: Yes, I know exactly where it’s at.

Louis: And so we walking, and first I was on the outside, you know? And I said, so when we got across the street, it’s a little school called, I forgot, an elementary school. And so I got on the bar. It was like a little bar that you could walk all the way. It’s like a little balancing bar. So, we was walking, I was walking on the balancing bar, and next thing I heard was “Rrrrrrr.” And I looked, and it was boom.

So, when he hit James, like it slowed down. I think, you know, James probably would’ve lived. He probably would’ve had a broken back or something like that, but he still would’ve lived.

Paul: Yes, yes, yes.

Louis: But the man stopped hard. When he stopped hard, James flipped over his head. His head hit the hood, and James took off about 20 yards. He was high and he was like traveling. When he fell, I’m looking at this like it’s a motion picture. I’m seeing this in slow motion, you know?

Paul: And you can still see it till today.

Louis: Right now. I can see it right now.

Paul: Just like it happened.

Louis: I can see it right now. And it’s like when he landed, I’m looking at him, and his sister ran to him. So, when she grabbed him, she grabbed him by like his chest and his hips, and she pulled him up, and his head rocked back. And when his head rocked back, his whole brains came down.

Paul: Oh, no. Oh, man.

Louis: And I was –

Paul: So, his skull had been cracked open.

Louis: Yes. It was cracked wide open.

Paul: Oh, my God.

Louis: And so I said, “Christine, Christine,” I said, “hey, leave him alone. Come on, come on, come on, come on.” So, she wouldn’t leave him alone. She was just grabbing him. And so she finally just stood up and said, “What are we gonna do?”

This man is a passenger. He gets out the car. He gets out of the car and walked right past James. He looked at me first and said, “Man, I don’t got nothing to do with this.” So, he walked off.

So, the driver, the driver came out and said, “How much money I can give you? How much I can give you?” And I said, “You don’t have to give me no money.” I said, “You gonna come down here to this store and we’re gonna call the paramedics.” And he was like, “Nah.” I said, I said “No.” I grabbed him. I said, “Man, I’m for real. You’re coming down here with me. You’re gonna leave this car, you’re gonna come down here with me.”

So, we walked like two blocks that road, and about that time people already called. You know, called the police, called 911 because they seen it. And I was just sitting at the store and like, “What the – what just happened? I was just talking to him.” You know, just it was bad. That hurt me to today, yes.

Paul: Oh, my God. Oh. And then he passed away right then and there, huh?

Louis: Yes, he passed away that day. To the night.

Paul: Oh, wow. Oh my God. Now, he was going to Tarleton State at the time?

Louis: Yes, yes.

Paul: Okay.

Louis: He was running like 47, 46 in the quarters.

Paul: Oh, wow.

Louis: He could roll.

Paul: Wow, wow.

Louis: Yes, he could roll.

Paul: What was his last name?

Louis: Yes, Silmon. James Silmon.

Paul: Man, I’m so sorry for your loss, man. I know it’s one of these things that just sticks in your head, and you know that movie, Forever and Ever.

Louis: Yes sir.

Paul: But it’s part of your story.

But you were able to move on in a positive manner.

I loved coaching Louis. He was unbelievable. Tremendous talent, had a tremendous work ethic, he was a gamer, he thrived on competition, hard to tackle, had the quickest feet you’ve ever seen, and balance, when he got the ball, people (in the stands) started standing up early. He could make a 2 or 3 yard run into something special.

Dave Campbell used to come watch him, they couldn’t believe what he could do.

It was phenomanly challenging for the other team to tackle him, he could cut on a dime and give you nine cent’s change!

He came from some pretty humble beginnings and life was tough for him, but you would never know it by his attitude, he came to school with a smile on his face.

He was our punter too, I remember telling him to punt the ball but he would tell me the rush was coming too fast. We both smiled. We knew that he wanted to keep the ball in his hands. He always wanted the ball!

I saw him one night against Georgetown, play was designed to go to the right, he took a pitchout and went left. They had two guys shoulder to shoulder in front of him, somehow he split them, spun out and they ran into each other and he ran for about a 60yd TD and there was a block made for him.

Those kinda things have nothing to do with coaching, some kids are just born with that kind of ability. We had several kids over the years like that but as far as being elusive, he was unmatched
I loved coaching Louis. He was unbelievable. Tremendous talent, had a tremendous work ethic, he was a gamer, he thrived on competition, hard to tackle, had the quickest feet you’ve ever seen, and balance, when he got the ball, people (in the stands) started standing up early. He could make a 2 or 3 yard run into something special.

Dave Campbell used to come watch him, they couldn’t believe what he could do.

It was phenomanly challenging for the other team to tackle him, he could cut on a dime and give you nine cent’s change!

He came from some pretty humble beginnings and life was tough for him, but you would never know it by his attitude, he came to school with a smile on his face.

He was our punter too, I remember telling him to punt the ball but he would tell me the rush was coming too fast. We both smiled. We knew that he wanted to keep the ball in his hands. He always wanted the ball!

I saw him one night against Georgetown, play was designed to go to the right, he took a pitchout and went left. They had two guys shoulder to shoulder in front of him, somehow he split them, spun out and they ran into each other and he ran for about a 60yd TD and there was a block made for him.

Those kinda things have nothing to do with coaching, some kids are just born with that kind of ability. We had several kids over the years like that but as far as being elusive, he was unmatched.

Coach Johnny Tusa, longtime coach at Richfield, Jefferson-Moore and the renamed Waco High School. His teams went 181-87-2, made 19 playoff appearances, and guided the Lions to the Class 4A Division II state championship game in 2006 and the Class 5A Division II state semifinals in 1991. Tusa spent 4 years working with Grant Teaff at the American Football Coaches Association before rejoining Waco ISD as athletic director. He retired and returned to work with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Paul: Now let’s get back to your football story. You originally signed with Baylor, or did you sign with Colorado?

Louis: I signed with Baylor.

Paul: Was Colorado in the picture at all?

Louis: Yes sir. Yes sir. Yes.

Paul: Okay.

Louis: Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State. That’s where I shoulda went. This is one thing about my father, you know, I gotta say, we went through a lot, but one thing about my father, when he met the scout for Oklahoma State, he told me, said, “That’s where you need to be.” And to this day, like if I’da went to Oklahoma State and Prop 48, and had three years at Oklahoma State, I woulda broke all sorts of records, easy.

Paul: Oh, man, Prop 48, I forgot about that.

Louis: Yes. I coulda Prop 48, but I didn’t know anything, and nobody tell me nothing. I was just – I was out there on a limb. I didn’t – every school I went to, they lured some bull, you know, and I was like, I just didn’t know what to do. I mean, I didn’t have nobody.

Paul: Yes. It’s not like today, where you have all the people advising you.

Louis: Yes, it’s not like today. I was just by myself. And to be the number one running back in the nation, and I don’t know anything – I was like, oh, man. It was crazy.

Paul: Oh, yes, man. So, you signed with Baylor. Grant Teaff would’ve been the coach, right?

Louis: Yes sir.

Paul: And who would’ve been your position coach there? Do you remember?

Louis: I don’t know. I don’t know. I would just – the reason I signed I signed with Baylor is because of Grant Teaff and Pete Fredenburg.

Paul: Okay. Oh, that’s right. Yes. I remember them, yes.

Louis: Yes. Two good men. But grades got me.

Paul: So when I talked to Coach Harms, he said that Don Pittman started talking to you.

Louis: Don Pittman. But first I went to Navarro JC. I rushed for 2,788 yards that season. I was coming out of junior college, like ranked number one, you know? So I mean, Texas A&M, Florida, Georgia Tech, they used to come down there, watch me run the 40. I ran a 4.29 on grass.

Paul: Holy cow.

Louis: So, I tell them “Man, I gotta go back to Baylor.” So, all of a sudden I get a phone call from somebody I didn’t know. I had to go up there to the coach’s office. I got a phone call, they say, “You gotta to go” – I had to go to Kansas. It wasn’t in the city. Fort Scott. I gotta go to Fort Scott, Kansas. I’m like, “What? For what?”

Paul: Yes, Coffeeville, yes.

Louis: Yes, yes. I went to – so, I was like, why – I just did two years at Navarro. Why do I gotta go to Kansas? So, to make a long story short, I went to Kansas, and I’m doing good up there, I was practicing with their football team, but I was just, I was getting ready to come back to Baylor. So, all of a sudden, all of the coaches at this school, they quit. They left in one night.

Navarro JC teammate Stuart Parsons and Louis, courtesy Louis Fite

 Paul: Wow.

Louis: Yes. It was me, and I don’t know if you remember this guy named Mario Bailey.

Paul: Yes, yes, yes.

Louis: Yes. It was me and Mario Bailey, we were the only two that was from out of state, so we had to live off campus. So, they was paying anything for us. But when the coaches left, they kicked us out the apartment.

Paul: Oh, my God.

Louis: I couldn’t go back to school. I was trying to call Baylor. I don’t know what’s going on. But no phone calls being answered. So, when I got back to Waco, I seen a guy named Keith Pittman that used to play with me at Waco High. And he was like, “Why ain’t you going to school, boy? You should go to Baylor, eat it up.”

I’m like, “Naw, man, I don’t know what’s going on.” I said, “I just gotta be careful.” I said, “Man, I don’t even know if I’m eligible to go anywhere.” And he was like, “You go to Baylor.” I said, “Man, Baylor ain’t answering my phone calls.” I said, “I don’t really want to go over there because I’m not disrespectful like that.” I said, “I don’t know what’s going on.” He’s like, “I’m gonna get you on the phone.”

He got me on the phone with Coach Pittman that night because Pittman came to pick me up. I was on the streets again. He came and picked me up from North Waco in the park. All I had was my jeans, my shoes, my jeans, and my shirt. He say, “Do we need to go somewhere and get something else?” I said, “Coach, this is all I got.”

Paul: Oh, man.

Louis: “It’s all I got, Coach.” I say, “You gone take me up there and feed me, I go to school, Coach, that’s all I want to do.” I just wanted to play. I just wanted to play football. So, I gotta go find me a place to lay down. I didn’t want to go back this hood and do nothing crazy for my life. So, I’m like, “If you crank this car up, Coach, I’m riding with you.” He came and got me the next day. He sure did.

Paul: And then you went right down to Kingsville.

Louis: I went right down to Kingsville. He had an apartment set up for me and everything, and I was like, I’m cool. Yes sir.

Paul: And Coach Harms loved that.

Louis: It like, it was so crazy, but like when I was sitting there talking to Coach Harms, Coach Harms saying – if I ask him, I say “Coach, if I make this team, I will do” – he say, “Do you know who you are?” I say, “What?” He say, “You’re Louis Fite.” Say, “Man.” He say, “Louis, it’s a blessing for me for you to even sit up in my office.”

Louis Fite induction into the Waco ISD, courtesy Fred Neusche and the TAMU-Kingvsille Javelina Highlights

Paul: Wow.

Louis: He say, “You’re good, Louis Fite.” He say, “I know what you can do. Just go into your apartment, everything is cool. You’re with this football team. We want you here.”

Paul: Okay.

Louis: I say, “Okay, Coach, okay.” Because I didn’t know if he wanted me there or not. Because I never took my talent as being thinking that I’m better than anybody, probably because I was homeless. I never had a team to just really clutch onto it, that I’m popular, I got a lot – I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that.

Paul: You didn’t know you were Louis Fite.

Louis: I did not know. I didn’t, you know? I’m just a regular person. I just play football, you know?

Paul: And that speaks also to your character.

Louis: Yes sir.

Paul: You know, that you don’t have a super big ego that a lot of people get. I mean, to be a parade All American and things that you got there just in high school, a lot of people would have a big ego.

Louis: Oh my God. Yes sir, yes sir.

Paul: You know, we all have a little bit of ego in us, but man, that character, man, that comes out.

Louis: Yes sir.

Paul: That’s a great story. Coach Harms just loved you to death, just like Coach Tusa. He was so thankful that you came down to Kingsville to play for Texas A&I.

Louis: Yes sir.

Paul: Or was it Texas A&M Kingsville by then?

Louis: A&M Kingsville, yes sir.

Paul: Okay, all right. We lost our identity a little bit when that happened.

Louis: We sure did, yes. Yes.

Louis: Yes sir. I mean, it was some athletes down there. Oh my God.

It really is. So, let’s move on back to Texas A&I. Or, I’m sorry, Texas A&M Kingsville. Okay. So, he said to ask you about Portland State.

Louis: Portland State.

Paul: That was the NCAA Game of the Year, when Louis scored a touchdown, he said we’re doing a flip over the defensive back and landing on his feet in the end zone.

Louis: Oh, yes, yes, yes. I remember that. I remember that. It was like a pinch out. Like I come around the corner and I seen this guy coming. He was coming full speed, and I just charged right over him and land on my feet. I was up for the infield war.

Paul: And then he says, to follow that up, he says, the next week you tried it and you got penalized.

Louis: I sure did. I sure did. Against Northern Alabama. Yes. I flipped over a guy. But that was a crazy one. I flipped over this guy, landed on my feet, and kept running to the end zone, and the linebacker grabbed me like, “What did you just do, man?” He’s like, “I ain’t never seen” –

And they threw my whole – like, he say now, “You can’t do that.” I say, “I can’t flip over nobody?”

And so the referees was like out there like, “Can he do that?”

Paul: What did they penalize you for? What did they finally do?

Louis: I don’t know what they did. I think they gave me the touchdown, but I think they said it was like a celebration. Which I didn’t do no celebration.

Paul: No, you just – you just avoided the tackle. Yes.

Louis: Yes. I just avoided the tackle, you know? I don’t want to get hit in the stomach. He was coming at my stomach, so I flipped over his head and kept going.

Paul: Oh my God. Oh my God.

Louis: Yes sir. Because only what I – because I was in the game, he say, “What do you be thinking about out there?” I say, “I don’t know.” I say, “I just want to score a touchdown, Coach.”

Paul: Sounds like all that pounding might have taken a toll on your knees. Did you ever have them worked on?

Louis: I had three knee surgeries.

I just heal so fast. I don’t know. I remember the doctor telling me, like I came in after ACL surgery. In like three months, I came in. He was moving my leg. He was like, “You know, I don’t feel no movement in the ACL. You almost healed.” I said, “Well,” I said, “I been out there playing for basketball.” He said, “You been playing basket?” “Yeah,” I said. “I been playing basketball, running a little bit.” I say, “Making a little moves.”

He was like, he told me, saying “Son, you’re abnormal. I’ve never seen that.” I said, “Doctor, because my mom is – my grandmother was a full-blown Indian.”

Paul: Oh boy. She was – what kind of Indian was she?

Louis: She was Blackfoot.

Paul: Blackfoot. So, that’s like in the Dakotas, isn’t it?

Louis: The Dakotas, yes sir.

Paul: Oh wow. Wow.

Louis: Yes, yes.

Paul: Well, maybe they’ll give you some money for being the Indian casino.

Louis: I always – I see the guy that – I see the guy from scholarships because my mama told me, I’m like, “If you would’ve told me, I could’ve got some scholarships from just from my Indian heritage.”

Paul: Oklahoma.

Louis: Yes.

Paul: Oklahoma does, I know for sure. But anyway.

Louis: Yes sir.

Paul: You live and you learn, man, I’m telling you.

Louis: You live and you learn.

Paul: Life passes you by, but then it catches up with you.

Louis: It catches right back up with you.

Paul: So, going back to Texas A&M Kingsville, Coach Harms just loved you to death.

Louis: Yes sir. He was a great coach.

Paul: He said “Louis was a good guy, had excellent character, and did a nice job. It was a pleasure to have him.”

Louis: Yes sir.

Paul: So, you get through with your Texas A&I career. How did – now, you graduated from TAMU-K?

Louis: No, I didn’t. I left in ’94. I should have, but I didn’t. I left in ’94.

Paul: You were there two years?

Louis: I was there two, but I had three years. 

Louis: Anyway, they coulda gave me $100, I woulda lived. Because that cafeteria was a dream to me.

Paul: Oh, yes.

Louis: Man, I could go to see Miss Martinez!

Paul: Oh, yes.

Louis: Oh, my God. Man, Miss Martinez in the back, she used to be like, “Oh.”

Paul: “Here comes Louis. Okay, here’s the good stuff.”

Louis: “Here comes Louis.” Yes. You know, because she know I’m sit there eat, and they really took care of me down there. Like I say.

I remember Louis signed with Baylor out of High School but for some reason didnt get in. Then if you remember Don Pittman, my assistant coach, found Louis and signed him at A&I. So Louis ends up at A&I which was a good thing for us as Louis was a very good player.

I remember him particularly in a game against Portland State, which was one heck of a game, I think it was ‘NCAA Game of The Year’ all divisions because we dropped way behind and then made a huge comeback.

I remember Louis scoring a TD by doing a complete forward flip over a defender and landing his feet in the end zone. And then he tried again the next week and got penalized!

Louis was a great player for us and had great character. It was a pleasure to have him on the team.

College Hall of Fame Coach Ron Harms. Harms served on Gil Steinke’s staff at Texas A&I in 1974 and 1975 before becoming an assistant to Grant Teaff at Baylor for three years. Harms returned to Texas A&I in 1979. In his first season, he guided the Javelinas to a NAIA national championship. With Harms at the helm, the Javelinas captured ten Lone Star Conference Championships. All in all, he compiled a coaching record of 219–112–4.

Paul: So, let me go back here just a second here. So, who were some of your other teammates down there at Texas A&M Kingsville? Some of the best players.

Louis: Best players. Let me see. I’d say Kevin Doggins.

Paul: Oh, yes. Played for the Bucs and the Bears, oh, yes, he was good.

"The Wall" at TAMU-Kingsville, blockers for Louis. Courtesy Fred Neusche and Javelina Highlights

Louis: But the best, what I can say, I think Doggins and Jermaine Mayberry.

Paul: Oh yes, yes, yes. I remember him. 1st rounder, played for Philly for a long time. I think the Saints after that.

Louis: Yes. But I’m gonna tell you right now, and this is serious talk, the best offensive lineman on that team was Jamie Martinez.

Paul: Oh, I remember him.

Louis: Man, Jamie could block, he could pull. He was an athlete, man. He was the best. And he never got a chance to go to the league, but I’m like, why Hymie didn’t go? You know what I’m saying? Like, Jamie was the best. He was skilled. He was like a technician. I always ran behind him.

Paul: Oh, man.

Louis: I ran behind him.

Paul: You guys had a great offensive line, I remember that.

Louis: Oh my God, we had a great one. You looked at it, it was three of them that played for Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They started.

Paul: I remember pictures.

Louis: George Floyd The guy that died when the police was standing on his head, he went to school with us.

Paul: I remember hearing that

Louis: Yes. His cousin name was Jeff Green.

Paul: Oh, really?

Louis: Yes. His cousin, Jeff Green. He was always at my apartment. Always. Because when I seen his face, I said, “Man, I know him.” And I would say to people like even before he came up that he woulda take that in Kings – I’d say, “Man, you went to Kingsville, man.”

Paul: Yes, he was.

Louis: I say, “He did.” I’d say, “I’m telling you, he was in my apartment.” They say when it came out, people came, all apologize me. I say, “I told you.”

Paul: Yes.

Louis: “I knew that guy.” Yes. I knew George Floyd.

Paul: Yes, he kinda went downhill a little bit after he left, didn’t he?

Louis: He did. Yes, he did. He started messing around with the rapper guys and stuff like that.

Paul: Yes. Some people you hang around with, man, they influence you way too much if you don’t have great strong character, you know?

Louis: Right.

Paul: That’s why I love to hear these coaches telling the same thing, always the same thing. “Louis had great character. Great character.”

Louis: Yes sir. Yes sir.

Paul: I mean, that, to me, I just knew I was gonna love talking to you.

Louis: Yes sir. Thank you, I appreciate it. Yes sir.

Paul: So, let’s talk about after Texas A&M Kingsville. You went to Chicago Bears.

Louis: I went there. Like they brought me up there, like I go through that. They brought me up there, but I never did touch the football field because got a bad attitude and impossible, you know? So, they never did let me really touch the football field too much.

Yes, yes. I was there with the old Cowboy Coach, Dave Weinstadt.

Paul: Yes.

LouisSo, this agent was there, and me and him start talking. He was like, “Man, I got some connections in the CFL.” So, I’m like, “Sir, all I want to do is play football, you know?” He’s like, “Well, they’re not gonna let you on the field.” He said, “They about to close out training camp. You’re probably gonna get cut.” He say, “What you want to do?” I say, “Whatever you want me to do, I’m gonna do.”

So, he sent me to Baltimore Stallions. They was like on their tenth game of the season, and so like I was out there with like 80 guys they was flying out. And like we was right there by the football team. The football team was practicing, we was at the end zone, you know? We was running 40s.

So, after I ran the 40, the coach was like, “Hey, take a minute and go get the jersey.” So, I was out there with a jersey on with my shoulder pads on, rapping with the offense, and them guys were still down there training. They were still down there training. They was still down there trying out for the team. I ran one 40. One 40, they said go get him dressed. I was like, thank you, thank you, I ain’t going home.

Louis Fite's Canadian League Grey Cup Championship Ring 1995, Courtesy Louis Fite

Paul: Thank you, God. Thank you, God.

Louis: I’m gonna get a paycheck. That’s what I need, was a paycheck.

Paul: Well, I would think the CFL was perfect for you with your speed, you know?

Louis: It was. It was. It was.

Paul: Wider fields and all that stuff, yes.

Louis: Yes sir. I had fun. I had fun in CFL. Yes sir.

After we won the Grey Cup, we won the Grey Cup again, we moved to Montreal the next year. Yes, and I played for Montreal the last two years.

Paul: Okay. That’s the Alouettes?

Louis: Yes, Montreal Alouettes.

Paul: Okay. So, why did you leave there?

Louis: I was just – I did three years, and I just – like before my last year, I was at the high school. You know, like I say, I know football, but I didn’t know the insides of it, of the coach’s office. So, when I went to the coach’s office and I heard some coaches say, “Well, I don’t too much care about this kid. No, man, speed up. Speed up your workouts.” Some of the kids don’t know what they’re doing, man. Just pass them by. That kinda got to me, you know?

I left it off with them, but it got to me because I was like, is this how they do it? Like, if the kid’s not good enough, they don’t care? They not even gonna try to train the kid to get better? Because you got some guy that just don’t know, but if I figure it out, I’m better than the guy in front of me. I just don’t know what’s going on, but I like getting the chance.

So, to me, those underachiever guys, those guys who’s willing to work and don’t want to be flashy, those the guys that’s – I don’t know too much, but if you teach me, Coach –

But it’s like everybody wanted to go to these All-American kids and leave these mediocre kids out. So, what I seen that, and I went to another school, I wanted to see. I know some guys, I go talk to them. “Come to the football field, and I go see.” And I seen them doing the same thing. They would not help out the kids that just wasn’t good enough, you know? That right there told me right there, I need to start training. I need to start training kids.

Because every guy that’s second and third string behind me, I made sure what I know, you know.

Paul: Right, right, right. Yes. So they can chip right in, your back.

Louis: Yes. So, if I get hurt, here you go, you’re stepping in, there’s no mistakes. So, I wasn’t scared to show people what I know. I wasn’t scared about that. But a lot of athletes like that, you know, they’re not gonna teach them everything. So, I mean, especially I’m just checking the second stream – those the guys that are looking for your job. But to me, it was a family, you know? If I know it, you know it. If I know the play, you know it. I show you how to read a play, I show you how to cut, I show you what the D’s are just setting up. Stuff like that.

Paul: Right, right, right. How to get that elbow at a certain point.

Louis: Right. How to do things right. So, after I seen that, I just said I’m gonna play one more season. My calling is really to help out these kids, and that’s what I been doing.

Paul: Right. So, was the pay pretty good in CFL?

Louis: It’s pretty good. My first year was $50,000. I think my third year – no, my second year was $75. I came out of it, my last contract was $109,000.

Paul: Yes. Nothing to sneeze at, yes.

Louis: For a guy like me, that’s generous. Nothing to sneeze at.

Paul: That bought a couple of burgers.

Louis: So, yes, like I say – yes. I could get cheese on it now, you know? So, I was just happy. I saved it, every one of my paychecks. I just did it right.

Paul: So, let me ask you something real quick here. Now, you were talking about your girlfriend at Texas A&M Kingsville.

Louis: Yes sir.

Paul: Is that your wife today?

Louis: No. She passed away.

Paul: Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.

Louis: Yes, she passed. She passed away off of a car wreck.

Yes, we was together all the way through CFL and everything. So, in 1999, she had a car wreck.

Paul: Oh my God.

Louis: Yes.

Paul: You had a lot of tragedy in your life.

Louis: Yes, yes, yes. That’s why I live one day at a time. I make sure I live the whole day because you’re not guaranteed that tomorrow.

Paul: Right, right. So, how did you meet your wife that you have today?

Louis: Well, I met her when I came to Fort Worth because I was throwing a football camp, and she’s a bigtime – she’s a technician, you know? She teach kids how to long jump, triple jump, kind of the same thing –

And she’s a heck of a volleyball coach. She’s like the winningest volleyball coach in Texas history, you know? So, she was out there at the football camps, you know? She seen me helping out the kids, and we just started talking and talking and talking. And she was like, “I don’t believe a man like with your stature, you’re out here, you’re not even taking no money from the kids.” I’m like, “No. I don’t do this to be rich. This don’t pay my bills.” I say, “I’m doing this so I can really help out these kids, you know?”

Paul: And that was your introduction.

Louis: And that was my introduction. Right there. We just clicked on without the – after that, we been together for 10 years now.

Paul: Wow. Well, congratulations.

Louis: Yes. Yes sir.

Paul: Wow. That’s incredible.

Louis: I think she would say 20 because I’m a little rough…

Paul: Well, you’re from Compton.

Louis: Right, right, right. I’m not really rough, she just tell me “You need to start charging. You need to charge these people more money.” And I look at her. And like ever since she be with me, she have seen so many kids come to the house and live. You know, homeless, because I take care of a lot of homeless kids, too.

Paul: Oh, wow.

Louis: So, she see a lot of homeless kids. Because she wasn’t used to that. She from San Saba, so she’s not used to that. And for me to bring in people and take care of them and give them stuff, she seen me stop and I take my shoes off where the kid walking down the street. I ask, “Hey, what size you wear?” “I wear size 10.” “Hey, I got some. Let me get you some.” And I give some brand new – you know, just anything I got on my foot.

I’m just – because that was me back in the day. I needed that, you know? I needed somebody to do that. I used to go – I couldn’t even tell you what kind of shoes I wore now because I never had a first day school clothes. I never seen a Christmas. I never had an average Thanksgiving. I never had that.

So, I do it for these kids now.

Paul: Right, right. So, how are you making a living these days?

Louis: Well, I do football camps right now, and I was coaching at Bishop Dunne High School, and they said I was doing too much. I was helping out the kids too much. So, I’m talking about the coaches were saying that. They was like – because you know, the kids fell in love with me. They Googled me up, they seen my background, they can see what kind of person I am. The coaches got kinda nervous that I’m coming for your job, but I just want to work. I just want to come and help out kids. I don’t care about no head coach job. To me, that’s just a label.

Paul: Yes.

Louis: A head coach is a guy that go out there and show his love for these kids and make sure these kids are getting scholarships because that’s gonna better their lives. That’s what we’re coaches for. We’re coaches to get these kids –

Paul: Well, they need a guide.

Louis: Right.

Paul: They need a guide. Somebody who can guide them through the things you had to learn by yourself.

Louis: Yes sir. Yes sir. And they got kinda nervous about it, so, you know, we – but this one school said I was gonna be the head coach, but I didn’t because I don’t have my education. I could’ve been a head coach last year for Bishop Dunne, but I just don’t got my education because of what Coach done did. And so it’s like, you know, like I’m not coaching no more, but I train kids, and I’m blessed to have a wife that’s willing to be there for me and pick up the pieces where I don’t have. So, like what I don’t got, she has.

Paul: If you’re lost, she kind of smooths you out.

Louis: Right, right. If I don’t got this, if I don’t got the money for this football camp, she’s gonna do it, you know?

Paul: That’s incredible.

Louis: Yes. Just like she been helping me out for so much. That’s why she’s telling me, like –

Paul: It’s a passion. You have a passion.

Louis: Yes, okay. Yes. And she’s like, okay, this year right now, you got 22 kids with Division 1 scholarships. And these were the kids that they gave up on. These were the kids that they say they can’t even play on my football team. I took over one year, trained them, and then made number one – I got the number one linebacker in the nation. I got the number one quarterback, I got the number one private school quarterback in the state of Texas, the number one inside wide receiver. It’s gonna go to – I mean, these kids was ganging up on – and I taught them from bottom to top, from bottom to top. And right now they’re some of the best kids in the state of Texas right there playing football.

Paul: That’s incredible.

Louis: So, that’s why she like, “Hey, now it’s time to charge.”

Paul: Yes, yes. But you gotta have a passion. That’s one thing I’ve heard from every coach, is he had the passion.

Louis: Yes sir.

Paul: Besides character, they said he worked his butt off, you know?

Louis: Yes sir, yes sir.

Paul: It’s a lot like what I do. I mean, these Memories of Texas Football, it’s all part of Memories Incorporated. It’s a nonprofit.

Louis: Right, right.

Paul: What we do is we simply talk to people like you and get the stories.

Louis: Yes sir.

Paul: I want your words. I’m not gonna reinterpret this interview. I’m gonna put down there almost word for word.

Louis: Yes sir.

Paul: You know, I’ll clean up any – we didn’t really have any bad language in here, but I will!

Louis: Oh no sir, no sir.

Paul: You probably know the guys like me, the hanger ons.

Louis: Yes. I’m telling you, I love them guys, man. I was always out front. I’m telling you, I didn’t care who it was. You went in the start or not a starter. If you knew me, we were out front.

Paul: Oh yes.

Louis: I never jazz it, at all.

Paul: Okay because you’ll be able to see this thing forever. It’s like your bio.

Louis: I appreciate it. Thank you.

Paul: John Fitzgerald Booty was our first one that was for the Football page.

Louis: You know, that’s my uncle.

Paul: Oh, he is? No way.

Louis: That’s my uncle.

Paul: Now, have you read my interview with him?

Louis Fite's uncles, longtime NFL Vets John Fitzgerald Booty and Robert Newhouse, courtesy Louis Fite

Louis: Yes, I been seeing those. I been seeing those. Yes. That’s my uncle. That’s my uncle.

Paul: I love John. He’s just such a positive guy, man.

Louis: Yes.

Paul: John. That’s the guy.

Louis: Robin, you know Robert Newhouse is my uncle.

Paul: No way!

Louis: Yes sir, yes sir. That’s my mom’s brother.

Paul: Oh, wow. Because we used to call him The Thigh.

Louis: The Thigh, yep.

Paul: The Thigh because he had the biggest thighs –

Louis: The biggest thighs.

Paul: I think I’ve ever seen on a human being, his thighs.

Louis: Yes, my legs is big, too.

Paul: Oh, really?

Louis: Mm-hm. I got some big thighs.

Paul: You played about 190, didn’t you?

Louis: More like 196, 185.

Paul: Okay. All right, man. Now, how tall are you?

Louis: 5-8.

Paul: 5-8, okay. So, you’re kinda stocky.

Louis: Yes, yes, yes.

Paul: Okay. Well, are you still 196?

Louis: Yes sir. Everybody say I still look the same way I did in high school.

Paul: Oh my God, man. I wish I did. I wish I did. I look at these old pictures when I was lifting heavy, man. Of course I had the massive chest and everything like that. But I think I had a 32 waist.

Louis: Oh, that’s – yes, yes.

Paul: Now it’s more like a 42.

Louis: Just a couple of pounds, that’ll be all right.

Paul: Oh my God, oh my God.

Louis: That would be all right.

Paul: Yes, man. Well, listen, Louis. thanks so much for your time. But before we go, I want to make sure folks that need training know how to get hold of you. Go to https://www.facebook.com/Louis-Fite-Building-Field-Leaders-972451592796106/ on Facebook or give him a call at 817-877-7052.

Louis: Thank you. Thank you so much

Paul: This is gonna be a great interview. You went through so much and still found the right path. I love it. Thank you, sir.

Louis was a gamer, really flashy. There were a lot of great backs in my time but only two others come to mind, Terry Upshaw from Lubbock Estacado and the great Johnny Bailey from Houston Yates.

5’8, 180 – 190, Fites was sculpted and totally fearless. He wouldn’t back down from a matchup on or off the field and wanted to walk, talk and look the part even now, he was impossible to outwork

He led quietly by example, had a great work ethic. Seems like a good character type guy, Fire ate slept and drank the part

He was on a Lubbock team and a few other I was on including the Corpus Christi Hammerheads and he was the talk of the league flipping over guys in the end zone.

Robert Watson, former TAMU-Kingsville and semi-pro player with Louis

Some of the kids Louis has worked with, photo courtesy David Curtis

I was privileged to be Louis teammate at A&I / A&M Kingsville in 93 & 94. We were a solid team not only winning the Lone Star Conference Championship, but we were NCAA Division ll National Championship contenders. (Lost both years to National champion North Alabama 27-25 in 93 in the semifinals & 16-10 in the Championship game).

Louis was the most electrifying player / athlete I had ever seen. His agility, speed, vision, and more importantly his work ethic was amazing. When Louis had the ball in his hands you knew something special could happen at any moment a cut here, a spin there, or even a 3 yard flip over a would be tackler into the end zone. That flip brought the school National prominence appearing on ESPN plays of the week, and sports caster Marv Albert played a clip of it on David Letterman on a bit of amazing sports clips from around the world. With all that being said the best thing about Louis was his humbleness and kind heart. Back in our time most studs were jerks and felt a sense of entitlement, not Louis he spoke and respected everyone, and was always ready to help and guide others. In my opinion Louis was a great player, but an even greater person. 

David Lopez – Athletic Director- Head Football Coach of the Crystal City Javelinas – Crystal City Texas

TAGS
RELATED POSTS

LEAVE A COMMENT