Five-time state champion Jimmy Vidrine passes away at 73
February 19th, 2021| Written by: Staff writer



James Lee "Jimmy" Vidrine, the only wrestler to win five consecutive individual Louisiana state wrestling titles, passed away on February 3rd at his home in Scott, Louisiana.  Mr. Vidrine's online obituary may be seen below.

Mr. Vidrine attended Basile High School and won individual state championship titles in 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1964.  In his wrestling career at Basile, which started in eighth-grade, he was never defeated.

In Ready....Wrestle, Coach Bill Bofinger wrote the following about Vidrine in 1964:

 "Jimmy Vidrine of Basile, winner of the 155-pound title, was selected as the outstanding wrestler of the meet and was presented with the William B. Schriever Trophy.  Vidrine, coached by Ernie Duplechain, capped a fine high school wrestling career as the only five-time state champion in Louisiana wrestling history.  Vidrine did not lose a match in five years. His titles range from the 103-pounds in 1960 through 155-pounds in 1964.  It was also said that he wrestled "barefoot," but I don't that for sure."

Wrestling was only 18-years-old in Louisiana when he won his last championship and there were not that many teams participating to even consider separate divisions.  Yet each year Vidrine and his teammates from 1A Basile High School competed against Brother Melchior's 4A Holy Cross Tigers and Ed Stacey's 4A Jesuit Blue Jays.  And not against just one Tiger or Blue Jay (or South Cameron Tarpon or East Jefferson Warrior), but ALL of them - there were no limits as to how many wrestlers a school could enter in a weight class.  Jimmy Vidrine whipped them all.  In 1962, so did his older brother Clarence.

The 1962 Eunice News article on three Basile state champions
(L-R: Melvin Fruge, Jimmy Vidrine, Clarence Vidrine).

In the editor's 40+year memory of the sport, and more reliably on actual documentation, the opportunity to say one was the best at one's weight class for five straight years lasted about six hours.  For now, and probably for a long, long time, that can only be said of Jimmy Vidrine.

In 1964, Al Trevino, a junior on Ray Gremillion's new East Jefferson wrestling team (and who coached the vaunted St. Martin's Saints from 1973 to 1979), was paired against Vidrine at the state championships.  Gremillion told Trevino "Son, if you get past Vidrine you are going to win state."  To this day Trevino recalls Vidrine as "the toughest, meanest wrestler I ever encountered.  Just a tough country boy."  ("Meanest" is a compliment in this type of dialogue.)  Later he remembers Dennis Murphy, a Warrior teammate and later Rummel head coach, mentioning all of the sports on Vidrine's letter jacket they saw in 1964. 

In January of 2019, the editor conspired with Chris Briscoe, a three-time Division II state champion for the Bearcats, to have "Mr. Jimmy" attend the finals of the Ken Cole Memorial, at which it was expected Briscoe's son, Gavin Christ, would win a few weeks prior to becoming Basile's second four-time Division III state champion.  Upon hearing that Mr. Vidrine was "in the house," tournament director Keith Bergeron almost dropped his microphone, and when he introduced Mr. Jimmy to the crowd, Mr. Jimmy was doing something he loved, showing a young man an arm-lock (photo-left).  Following photos: Mr. Jimmy acknowledging the crowd at Comeaux High School, Kevin Bushnell, Mr. Jimmy and Gavin Christ, Mr. Jimmy and some of the Basile contingent (L-R: Anthony Guillory, Gabe Duplechin, Alex Menier, Gavin Christ and Isaac Cortez).

Online Obituary of James Lee Vidrine*

James Lee "Jimmy" Vidrine

October 29, 1945 - February 03, 2021

SCOTT ~ Memorial visitation will be held  Saturday, February 6, 2021 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Evangeline Memorial Gardens Chapel in Carencro for James Lee "Jimmy" Vidrine, age 75, who passed away Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at his residence in Scott.

Mr. Vidrine was a native of Basile and lived most of his life in the Carencro area. He was self-employed as a Food Broker and also worked for LUS Fiber for several years. A veteran of the military, Jimmy proudly served his country in the United States Army.

Jimmy was an incredible husband, father, and grandfather. He was an avid sports fan and enjoyed watching his grandchildren play football and baseball. He was their number one fan and biggest supporter. He will be so greatly missed by his family.

Survivors include his wife of fifty-four years, Sheila Daigle Vidrine of Scott; one son, Cory Vidrine; three daughters, Kaela Boyer and her husband, Anthony, of Carencro, Daughn Herring of Baton Rouge, and Denise Hope and her husband, Dan, of Fort Worth, TX; eight grandchildren, Chaz Boyer, Zach Boyer, Charlie Vidrine, Sam Vidrine, Jacob Herring, Hillary Herring, Alexandra Herring, and Hobie Hope; and one sister, Melanie Lance of Jennings.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Sadie Vidrine and the former Eva Marcantel; and one sister, Priscilla Roger.

*Obituary information courtesy of Melancon Funeral Home of Carencro, 4615 North University Avenue, (337) 896-6366, is in charge of arrangements.

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