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Joseph Getting His Due

Jun 14, 2024 08:53PM ● By Kelsey Swire

Photo courtesy of McNeese State University. Kerry Joseph is headed to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame later this month.

Joseph getting his due

By Jim Gazzolo

Long before he was coaching the NFL’s hottest newcomer, Kerry Joseph was making a name for himself as the quarterback of McNeese State.

He took the Cowboys to the brink of a national championship while rewriting the McNeese record book. 

In part for his play at McNeese, the New Iberia Native and current quarterbacks coach of the Chicago Bears, will be induction into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame the weekend of June 20-22 in Natchitoches.

Joseph will be included in a class that is highlighted by Drew Brees, the QB who led the New Orleans Saints to their only championship. 

“This is a special honor for me, especially with it being my home state,” said Joseph. “This has been just a special journey I had to go down. It has been amazing.”

Joseph will be the eighth person to represent McNeese in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. He will join Bill Reigel (1988), Ralph O. Ward (1991), Louis Bonnette (2001), Dr. Jack Doland (2002), Joe Dumars (2003), Buford Jordan (2011), and Leonard Smith (2015).

Ironically, he enters the Hall with Brees, who helped him in his post-playing career when he interned with the Saints coaching staff in 2014. 

“I learned so much from him and going through the camp with him and the Saints,” Joseph said. “It is great to go in with him and the others of such high character.”

While at McNeese from 1992-1995, Joseph posted a 43-10 record as the starting quarterback. He helped the Cowboys win a pair of Southland Conference and the program’s first playoff victory in 1992. 

Under his leadership, the Cowboys first appeared in the Division I-AA national championship game in 1995.

Joseph threw for 7,874 yards and 67 touchdowns as a Cowboy. He finished his career with 9,674 yards of total offense. He remains the all-time leader at McNeese in scoring tosses and is second in passing yards and total offense. 

Joseph was named both the SLC and Louisiana Player of the Year in 1995 as the Cowboys finished 13-1 and entered the postseason ranked on the I-AA level, now known as FBS.  

“This is an accomplishment that I could not have achieved alone,” said Joseph. “Championships are won with the people around you, and I was blessed with some great teammates and coaches. 

“My dream as a kid was wanting to be the best on the block. It didn’t matter what sport or what game.  

“I was a kid that wanted to win and help my teammates be the best they could be. I will share this induction with so many because this individual honor comes with the great people that God brought into my life. It’s an honor to represent so many people and organizations. It’s a bigger honor to represent my family name.  

“The Joseph family name will now always be a part of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.”

As a professional, Joseph played for both the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins in the NFL. He won a World Bowl Championship in 1998 with the Rhein Fire while playing in NFL Europe.

He then played safety for the Seahawks before moving back to quarterback in Canada in 2003 where he hit his stride. He won a Grey Cup while playing for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2007.  

During that season, Joseph was named the Canadian Football League’s Most Outstanding Player. He became just one of three CFL players to exceed 4,000 yards passing (4,466) and 1,000 yards rushing (1,006) in a single season in 2005.  

Joseph was inducted into the McNeese Sports Hall of Fame in 2006, the Southland Hall of Honor in 2012, the Roughriders Hall of Honor in 2019, and was named to McNeese State’s 75th anniversary team in 2018. 

Joseph returned to the McNeese program in 2016 as the Offensive Coordinator. He was the interim head coach for a short time after his former teammate Lance Guidry was let go.

Now Joseph is the quarterbacks coach of the Chicago Bears, where he is in charge of the development of first-round draft pick Caleb Williams, but he says he will always remember his time at McNeese.

“I love the NFL and working with the best in the world, but I’m always looking in on McNeese,” Joseph said. “If I can’t watch the game I’m checking in on the scores.”

Jim Gazzolo is a freelance writer who covers McNeese athletics. He is the host of Poke Nation on CBS-Lake Charles