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Band-Aid: Coach Helps QB Change His Tune

11/9/2022

Student and teacher play tuba together.

McMillan eighth grader Daylon Gordon plays tuba alongside his football coach. “Daylon is a natural leader and everyone knows it,” Coach Cazabat said. “The kids know he’s ‘the guy.’ He has a good head on his shoulders.”

In the band hall full of junior high students at McMillan Junior High during fourth period, one of them stands out among the rest. Sitting in the next to last row, playing the tuba, he has a full beard and is wearing a coach’s windbreaker.

He’s a bit rusty. After all, it’s been 10 years since he played an instrument in his own high school band in St. Francisville, La.

“It took a little while to come back to me,” McMillan football coach David Cazabat said about playing the tuba with the eighth grade band.

Attending a small 3A school, Coach Cazabat not only played football in high school, but he was also in the band.

“Where I’m from, they encourage you to do everything,” Coach Cazabat said. “It’s a good thing to be well-rounded.”

He likes to pass that lesson on to his students. Coach Cazabat teaches college and career readiness, and coaches football, track and cross country.

“It’s our job as teachers to share our experiences and build relationships,” Cazabat said.

When they learned he used to play tuba, the MJHS band directors, Kimberly Hernandez and Pete Jodal, invited Coach Cazabat to visit their band hall anytime. Coach Cazabat decided to take them up on their invitation, so he attended band practice and sat next to a tuba player, who was also the quarterback of his football team.

“After I sat down, Mr. Jodal brought me a tuba, so I started playing,” Coach Cazabat said.   

Student plays tuba. Coach plays tuba.  

Coach Cazabat played football and tuba in his own high school band, just like his quarterback, Daylon Gordon.  

Eighth grader Daylon Gordon was taken aback. He had spoken to Coach about how he wasn’t sure how to balance all of his extracurricular activities.

“I had a heavy workload with sports and training,” Gordon said. “I was starting to lose interest in band.”

Ms. Hernandez continued teaching the class and treated Coach Cazabat as if he were one of his students.

“She called on individual students to play the scales; then she called on me to play them,” Coach Cazabat said.

Ms. Hernandez even had the football coach read sheet music.

“The whole class loved having him there,” Gordon said. “They all welcomed him.”

Playing tuba with Coach Cazabat reignited Gordon’s love for band.

“I like playing tuba,” Gordon said. “I like my part; we lead the bass line.” 

Playing football and the tuba aren’t the only things Gordon and Coach Cazabat have in common. Gordon is from Louisiana too. He and his family moved to Wylie eight years ago. 

“My mom wanted a better life and school district for us,” he said.

Gordon hopes to one day play football for Louisiana State University.

Coach and student. 

Both from Louisiana, Coach David Cazabat and eighth grader Daylon Gordon connect through football and band as well. “Coach Cazabat makes learning easy,” Gordon said. “When I do something wrong, the way he approaches it, makes it easier to learn.”

It’s evident that Coach Cazabat builds strong relationships with his students. As he walks down the halls, they stop to tell him the good news happening in their personal lives.

“I want them to learn from my experiences,” he said. “There are things I wish I would have stuck with, like baseball. I encourage my students to try everything. I want them to look back and know this is something they will have with them for the rest of their lives.”