Remembering ‘Big Dave’ Thibodeaux: A Man Who Transcended Sports
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL News) - Nine years ago today, Acadiana lost one of the largest personalities to ever broadcast on the airwaves. But, more importantly, we lost one of the most-giving, kind-hearted men our area has ever known.
"Big Dave" Thibodeaux was a unique blend of broadcaster, entertainer, businessman, and philanthropist. His big personality could only be outdone by his big heart. He had a passion for helping those in his community - Breaux Bridge, Cecilia, Parks, and St. Martinville. He helped those in need and helped those in need to fulfill their potential and make better lives for themselves and their families and owned a non-profit organization Fulfill Your Dreams.
If you never heard a football broadcast featuring the color commentary of "Big Dave," then you missed out. Along with Mike "Bandit" Bernard, they broadcasted high school football on Newstalk 96.5 FM KPEL for nearly two decades. Whether he was calling a big play in the game, telling the people in front of him to sit down, or very uniqueing promoting his sponsors, "Big Dave" brought a love the of the game and, more importantly, a love of people to his broadcasts.
"Big Dave" also co-hosted "Big Time Sports Talk" with "Bandit" on ESPNLafayette every Sunday morning and was a frequent guest on many programs.
When I first got my start in radio at ESPNLafayette 13 years ago, I will never forget how much "Big Dave" believed in me. He did whatever he could to help me out - and, trust me, he had a wealth of knowledge in the local sports world - and always checked up on me to see how my young career was going.
But, again, he loved people - especially young people - and always wanted to help them reach their potential.
He became such a great friend to me. Someone I will never forget.
"It was that big heart that gave out on Big Dave...not that Big Dave didn’t go down swinging," wrote fellow broadcaster Scott Brazda after "Big Dave" passed away. "He had battled a variety of health issues over the last few years, none of which…. walking cane aside… ever seemed to really slow him down."
Ask state Senator Fred Mills about "Big Dave" and he'll tell you how much he loved the man. And "Big Dave" would tell me the same about Fred.
We often hear stories about Shaquille O'Neal's big heart. Guess who knew him really well and shared that same passion to help others? "Big Dave" Thibodeaux.
"Big Dave" knew a lot of movers and shakers - like Fred Mills and Shaq, for instance - and worked with them to better the lives of those around him. Mills gave the eulogy at "Big Dave's" funeral eight years ago. It was funny yet respectful of the great man we all came to love. In the eulogy - which I watch every year now - Mills mentioned how much "Big Dave" helped people behind the scenes while telling hilarious stories about him.
"His greatest work was when nobody saw him," said Mills at his eulogy.
We lost "Big Dave" on Friday, April 25th, 2014 at the age of 63.
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