University of Louisiana’s National Championship Weightlifting Teams
by Warren A. Perrin, Attorney at Law
Part Two: Olympic Weightlifting
Chapter 1 – High School Weightlifting
By the time I was a junior in high school I had already completed in several meets throughout the state, including Lafayette, Shreveport, Monroe and New Orleans. In April, 1964, I competed in the Louisiana High School Weightlifting Championships in New Orleans in the 148-pound class and finished second with a press of 175 pounds, a snatch of 165 pounds and a clean and jerk of 220 pounds for a total of 560 pounds. I was determined to win this event in my senior year. But following this meet I did not do any heavy lifting and concentrated on my track and field events. I continued to use the weights to strengthen my legs.
When I was a sophomore, my older brother Terry had a best friend named Carlton “Bubby” Falgout, who had been on the USL weightlifting team. He was the head football coach at Mount Carmel High School in Abbeville, Louisiana. Henry High School had too few students to support a football team. Falgout wanted me to transfer from Henry to play football for Mount Carmel in Abbeville. I said that I preferred staying at Henry with my friends. I never left Henry. But, to entice me to transfer to his school, Falgout had a secret plan: Mount Carmel had a new set of Olympic-style weights and he let me workout in their weight room to prepare for my meets.
In March, 1965, the Mount Carmel team went to New Orleans to compete in a weightlifting meet and I was brought as part of the Mount Carmel team although technically I was not a student at the school. In some of the meets, was ultimately listed as an independent. Finally, my goal was reached. I won the high school championships in the 148-pound class in 1965, my senior year, with a press of 190 pounds, snatch of 195 pounds (new state novice record) and clean and jerk of 245 pounds (new state novice record) for a total of 630 pounds (new state novice record). I was awarded the Best Lifter trophy. Despite persistent requests that I change schools, I resisted even after Falgout engaged my brother Terry to influence me to go to the bigger school. Two of the lifters from the Mount Carmel team later lifted for USL: Bill LeBlanc and Eddie Young. The weight training at the larger Catholic school provided a wonderful opportunity for me to meet and make lifetime friends.
I reached out to Bill Leblanc, a former student at Mount Carmel and one of the state’s best weightlifters, to share with me memories of our weightlifting together in high school the mid-1960s. He replied with this email on July 8, 2020:
On Fridays during my senior year in high school, you would come and workout with me at Mount Carmel. I was pretty raw at the time. I was using the split technique for snatching and the clean and jerk. You changed my lifts’ technique to the squat position and told me to get my legs as strong as I could. You gave me great advice. At that time, you started talking to me about lifting at USL. In my mind, lifting was all over after high school, until you started talking to me of USL. Coach Falgout was very generous and supportive to me; he let me use the school’s equipment. I believe he saw potential in me, but his job was based on what football accomplishment, not the weightlifting career of only one person. I would workout with the players on the football team and also on my own. I am grateful to him for his support.
I lifted after USL, until I was 30. I went to the Olympic Trials in 1980, placing third and called it quits after that. Not many of the USL lifters competed after college, ones I can remember included Walter Imahara, Joseph Murry Jr., Wayne Vizzini and myself.
While I was still in high school my brother Terry was lifting for the USL team and he brought me to a meet in Monroe, Louisiana, called the Twin Cities Weightlifting Meet. I was going to lift as an independent. One of the USL lifters got sick and could not lift so Terry asked me if I wanted to take his place on the USL team. Of course, I enthusiastically said “yes.” I finished in second place for USL while I was still in high school! Just as I had tried to start first grade a year before I was permitted to do so, this shows once more, that I have always been competitive, energetic and aggressive.