Dio Bernard: A journey to the Championship

Allison B. Hudson

“It all started when I was the only ninth grader to play varsity at Donaldsonville High that year,” said Bernard in an exciting tone.  “I walked in that season as a quarter back, by the end of the season I ended up playing wide receiver, running back, kicker, punter, and wherever I was needed.”

He recalls that all his friends teased him about being the coach’s pet.

“I was always the student of the game, by my sophomore year, I started the season as the starting quarter back due to injuries of other players. That year waiting to face at that time, the 5A power house, the St. Amant Gators, once again, by the end of the season I moved and finally found the place for me: defense.”

By his senior year, he had a new head coach, Bill Jones who also in previous years was his head track coach. That season, Coach Jones brought in a new defensive coordinator, Jason Brown.

“That’s when I felt the love with scheming opposing offense. Coach Brown really taught me a lot about defense. By the end of my senior season, the team and I brought back playoff football to Donaldsonville, which had not happened since 1996-1997, the Jarvis Green era, where Bernard was a ball boy for the team.”

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” said Bernard. “After the loss, Coach Jones called in all senior track runners and said we would win state in track that year.”

That vision became true because we won it with only six athletes in 2002.

That February of 2002, I signed a letter of intent to Southern University to start a new beginning at another level for football.

As a freshman, we won national title and SWAC conference championship titles.

“That was my second title in two years.”

“While at Southern, I became a “film junkie,” said Dio. “I would wake up at 5 a.m. to watch film with the Defensive Coordinator Terrence Graves and mentor. At 9 p.m. I would then watch the same film with Head Coach Pete Richardson.”

By his senior year at Southern, due to injuries, I was not able to play as much as I did in previous years.

“One day I thought of quitting and was talked out of it by my mentor and head coach,” said Dio. “In exchange for quitting, they asked would I help out on the defense side of the ball, and without hesitation and a big smile, I agreed.”

Once my football career was over at Southern, I journeyed back home to voluntarily coach at Donaldsonville High.

“It was then that we won back to back district titles.”

Once I graduated, I was hired as defensive back coach at Assumption High School in Napoleonville. The following year I was called back home to help out my alma mater Donaldsonville High as defensive coordinator. I then moved on to defensive coordinator at White Castle High School in White Castle.

With much criticism for the community and other outlets, I was told my decision to turn to White Castle was wrong.

“People would tell me we wouldn’t win a game and laughed when I responded that we would not only win games, but we would also bring the state title to White Castle, being the first time in history.”

Bernard also coached D’ville Biddy Basketball 11-12 year old boys’ team to two straight national tournaments where they finished second and third place respectively. He also helped coach the D’ville baby tigers this year where they lost out in the semifinals.

“This journey has been an amazing one, beyond words. I would like to thank everyone who coached me and supports me throughout my career, and my continued endeavors.”

Dio Bernard track record

02-3A state champions in track @DHS

2003- national/SWAC champion @ Southern University

2007- Defensive Back coach @ DHS

2008- Defensive Back coach@ Assumption High School

2009- Defensive Coordinator @ DHS

2010 – Defensive Coordinator @ White Castle