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Sports Person of the Week
Lefevre’s Coaching Success Earns Him Hall of Fame Nod
Louis Lefevre, a 1984 graduate of East Haven High School, was named to the East Haven Alumni Association Hall of Fame for his wealth of success as a basketball coach. (Photo courtesy of Steve Narracci)
Louis Lefevre spent his junior and senior years as the starting point guard for the Yellowjackets’ boys’ basketball team before graduating from East Haven High School in 1984. When his playing days were done, Louis transitioned into the coaching game and, through the past 34 years, he’s compiled an overall record of 570-221, while winning numerous accolades with multiple teams.
During his three decades on the sidelines, Louis has coached basketball teams in Connecticut, Georgia, and Indiana, enjoying success at every stop along the way. For his efforts as a head coach, Louis was selected as an inductee for the East Haven Alumni Association Hall of Fame as part of its Class of 2020.
“I have great feelings for East Haven. As a kid, I grew up watching some of the people that have gone in” to the Hall of Fame, Louis says. “As a little kid, you wanted to be a special person as an athlete. I probably didn’t get in from being an athlete. What I’ve done as a coach has gotten me that. It’s something to feel really good about.”
Louis’s world revolved around sports as he grew up in East Haven. Between playing and watching, athletics was Louis’s true focus and passion in life. As he continued through his career both playing and coaching basketball, Louis’s passion continued to grow stronger.
“As a little kid, basketball was huge. If anybody knew me as a kid, sports was my entire life. I locked myself into not doing anything else, because I didn’t learn anything else. Sports was the most important thing in my life,” says Louis. “I lived and died with sports teams like it was the biggest thing in the world. It’s always been what I’ve been around, and it’s always what I thought was fun.”
Louis competed for coach Steve Narracci as a member of the East Haven boys’ basketball team. Louis says that Narracci played a huge role in his development as an athlete by helping him understand that being a strong basketball player is about more hustle than your ability to score points.
“Basketball is a game of hustle. You can’t be good at it if you don’t hustle. If you don’t hustle and you’re not tough, there’s such a low ceiling on how good you can be,” Louis says. “As a coach, you’re always rewarding the kids that show that. It was such a good first lesson to learn from me. If I wasn’t hustling all the time, there wouldn’t be a place for me.”
After helping the Yellowjackets win the Housatonic League title in his senior year, Louis attended the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he planned on playing basketball. However, following a death in the family and the realization that he didn’t want to be an engineer, Louis returned back home and began attending Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). Louis earned a bachelor’s degree in education (biology) and ultimately graduated summa cum laude.
During his second semester at CCSU, Louis saw a sign on the physical education bulletin board stating that Mary Immaculate Academy High School in New Britain was looking for a head coach of its boys’ basketball team. Louis decided to talk to Bill Detrick, who was the head coach of CCSU men’s hoops at the time, and asked Detrick if he would reach out to the staff at Mary Immaculate and put a good word for him. Detrick obliged and, at just 19 years old, Louis was named the new head coach at the school. In his time at Mary Immaculate, he led the boys’ basketball team to a 40-game win streak.
“Basketball was the only sport they had. There were about 50 boys in the school. They couldn’t find anyone to coach. But when the coach of the college called, they ended up hiring me,” Louis says. “It was the perfect place to learn. It was a great time to be on your own and figure out what to do and what not to do. It was cool to be a coach of significance to people who sometimes needed it. There was no other high school atmosphere like this place. It was like being in another world.”
In 1995, Louis became the head coach of the boys’ basketball team at Terryville High School. He guided the Kangaroos to a record of 27-1 and the Class S state championship that year.
Louis went on to coach at St. Pius X High School in Atlanta, Georgia from 1996 to 2003 before moving on to Providence High School in Clarksville, Indiana in 2004. In his 10 years with Providence, Louis posted an overall record of 175-52 and led the team to its first regional title.
Louis was also the head coach at Tipton High School in Tipton, Indiana for five seasons, earning a record of 91-28 and helping the program win its first 3A sectional championship. In 2019, Louis took the head coaching job at North Harrison High School in Ramsey, Indiana. In his first year, Louis helped the team notch 18 victories for its best season since 1990.
“The thing I’m the happiest about is that I’ve gotten to coach in the most different places,” says Louis says. “I went to the deep south and there was this culture shock. It was a world I had never been in before. It was a fascinating place to be. Tipton is a real rural, right out of Hoosiers’ kind of place. To me, it has been like a buffet. You try a little of this, a little of that, and you get to meet so many awesome people and awesome ways of life. It has been great.”
Louis has loved being involved with sports throughout his life and, above all, he’s enjoyed coaching the most. As he enters the East Haven Hall of Fame, Louis says that leading teams to success from the sidelines is exactly what he wanted to do.
“It’s something I felt I’d be good at. When I played, I always thought, ‘What would a coach do right now?’ I’d do the same when watching games on television. I’d drive people crazy,” says Louis. “I never went out with the idea that this is what I was going to do. It just kind of happened as a fluke. But when I got the chance, it was exciting. It was fun and it seemed like I was doing a good job. That made me feel good.”