Inside this January 2009 edition of the L Club Newsletter:
- L Club Welcome
- All About You!
- Hall of Fame ceremonies set for April 25
- FOOTBALL RECAP: Warhawks beat SBC champ again but finish 4-8
- Young Warhawk cage teams not bad now, but better later
- EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK: Baseball is right around the corner
- ULM Football Signing Day Luncheon
- L Club Wrap-up
- L Club Newsletter Archives
L Club Welcome
Dear L-Club Member,
Welcome to the spring 2009 edition of our online newsletter! With basketball in full swing and baseball / softball just around the corner, it’s an exciting time for ULM and ULM Athletics. There are several reunions this spring (details below) and of course the big Hall of Fame Weekend April 24-25.
Thanks for your continuing support of ULM and the L-Club.
All About You!
Former ULM All-American Cyril Crutchfield (FB, 85-88), one of the stars of the 1987 national championship team, is the main character in a terrific new book, The Hurricanes. The book is the story of the consolidated South Plaquemines High School football team, a collection of players from the communities of Port Sulphur, Buras and Boothville-Venice which were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The team, whose members defiantly chose as their nickname “Hurricanes,” overcame great personal and collective hardship to win the 2007 state I-A championship in only the second year of the school’s existence.
Written by Louisiana native Jere’ Longman, the book is subtitled "One High School Team’s Homecoming After Katrina". It tells the individual stories of many of the players as well as the story of Crutchfield’s narrow escape from death in the hurricane and his fierce determination to give the ravaged communities a team to be proud of as well as the hope to maintain their unique lifestyle. The book also includes the story of Randall Mackay, one of Crutchfield’s former players who evacuated to Bastrop after the storm and led the Rams to a state championship they were forced to later forfeit.
It’s a great book that would be enjoyed by sports fans everywhere and anyone who appreciates the story of a coach and his boys who overcame tremendous odds to win a championship.
We had some terrific reunions during the fall. Football players from the John David Crow era got together for the weekend of the ULM-Lafayette game. Attending were:
OT Jimmie Adams, NG Darwyn Anderson, C Mike Andrews, QB Kirby Arceneaux, DB Roy Binion, OT Tony Crews, DB Kenny Gasper, OG Terry Herod, OG Steve Highsmith . . .
DE-DT Garry Hines, QB John Holman, OT Scott Ingram, OG Plez Jenkins, DB Benny Jones, OT Joe Kuhn, WR Robert Lowe, Mgr. Richard Matkins, OT Clint McCall, OG Dewey McDaniel, NG Stanford McNair, Trainer Ricky Mestayer . . .
FB Vernon Mills, DB Vic Minor, WR Tony Morrison, DT Mike Needleman, TE Robert Newman, OT David Nolte, DB Jody Norman, TE Mark Pickett, DE Danny Pringle, DB Jay Rivers, OT Kenny Roberts, Mgr. Jack Roszelle, LB Ricky Sanders . . .
RB Greg Schaff, OT Nelson Shepherd, Mgr. Andy Snelling, C Lance Stanfield, LB Harold Thompson, DB Jerry Thurman, K Bill Weimer, OG Jim Whitehead, Trainer Robert Williamson.
Thanks to Andy Snelling, who originated and pushed the idea of a "Crow" reunion, and Robert Williamson for their hard work in making this great event a reality.
The Tennis Reunion was held the weekend of the North Texas game (Homecoming - Oct. 18, 2008) and was the brain-child of Phil Trahan with wife Karen Zimmerman Trahan, Debbie Garner, Nancy Sloan, Padg Bolton, Miguel Perez, and Wilson Campbell also working hard on the project. The group met in the Student Center and the highlight of the affair was a presentation to former president Dwight Vines for his wonderful support of men’s and women’s tennis throughout his years at the university. Attending were:
Ann Bolton McIntyre, Bill Cooke, Bill Schwich, Bill Shepherd, Brad Coleman, Brenda Hook Morris, Chris Burns, Courtney Campbell Manasco, David Hall, Debbie Lawler Garner, Debbie Sanders Dahl, Deena Walters, Dr. Vines . . .
Jana Hanks Bailey, Coach Johnny Robinson, Karen Zimmerman Trahan, Keith deJong, Coach Ken Jantz, Kurt Thomas, Mark Sanders, Mark Weil, Coach Martha Hawthorne, Mary Arnie, Mary Dufour, Mary Swanson, Merri Bradford Jones . . .
Miguel Perez, Mike May, Nancy Sloan, Padg Bolton, Phil Trahan, Randy Cooper, Raymond Pascale, Richard Stuart, Rob Cloud, Sherry Dunkin, Tim Burnham, Tracy Rodger Harris, and Coach Terrence De Jongh.
It was good to see former All-American Vic Bender at the ULM-Tulane game. Vic is now retired and living in Hammond after a career that included coaching (his last stop was Mississippi State) and serving as a junior high principal. Vic was the center on the outstanding Dixie White teams of 1966 and 1967 and is the father of TE John Bender (1991-94).
Two former ULM players, WR Marty Booker (FB, '95-'98) and DB Kevin Payne (FB, '03-'06) were stars for the Chicago Bears all season long, especially in the Oct. 19 win over division rival Minnesota when Booker scored the next-to-last Bear touchdown and Payne set up the last one. Booker, playing with the Bears for the second-time-around after a stint in Miami, caught two touchdown passes in the 48-41 victory, the last one going for 51 yards late in the fourth quarter. Payne led the Bears in tackles with eight hits and one assist and returned an interception for 60 yards to the six set up Chicago’s final TD in the fourth.
David LeBleu (MTr, '62-'65), a long-time loyal supporter of the university and its sports program, died in October after a fall at his home in Jennings. A former pharmacist and automobile dealer, David was an active church and civic leader, a patron of the arts, a sportsman and an honest, generous and caring friend. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Joy Lewis LeBleu, one son, Dalton, a ULM graduate who lives in Monroe, and one daughter, Heather LeBleu Neyer of Chicago.
Former ULM TE Floyd Giblin (FB, '65-'68) is now living part-time in Destin, FL, and is married to the former Susan Meadows (ULM, 1976). Their daughter is a Las Vegas show girl . . . Don LeBoyd (FB, '71-'74) retired last year after a career with Target stores. He was a store manager for more than 20 years in the St. Louis area . . . Ex-sprinter Tim Holcomb (MTr, '83-'84) is assistant professor of management at Florida State and was recently named to the business policy and and strategy division executive of the Academy of Management, the largest professional organization for management academicians in the world . . . Lisa Owens Heckford (WTr, '82-'85) is now an adaptive PE teacher for the Ouachita Parish School System . . . Former Warhawk tackle Jon Heidenreich (FB, '90-'91) is writing a book after eight years as a pro football player and a later career in professional wrestling.
We ran into David Hankins at the Warhawk Athletic Foundation kickoff last fall. David, a member of ULM’s Gulf States Conference championship cross country team in 1961 and famous for running all the way from Monroe to his hometown of Oak Grove, is still running—and winning—distance races. He won the gold medal in the 5,000-meter run in the 65-69 age class at the Louisiana Senior Olympic Games in Baton Rouge on August 16.
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Hall of Fame ceremonies set for April 25
The 2009 ULM Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will be Saturday, April 25, at the university.
Four new members of the Hall of Fame, a project of the ULM L Club, will be inducted in ceremonies at the University Conference Center, located on the seventh floor of the ULM Library, begining at noon, according to L Club President Robert Williamson.
Announcement of the new Hall of Fame members will be made in the coming weeks. We’ll send a special L Club E-Newsletter with that announcement.
Hall of Fame events will begin at 10 a.m. on April 25 with the President's Reception at 4508 Bon Aire for the inductees and other invited guests.
Saturday evening the new Hall of Fame members will be treated to a fish fry at Warhawk Field during the baseball game between the 2008 Sun Belt Conference champion ULM team and Florida International that will begin at 4 p.m.
The Hall of Fame ceremonies will be part of a busy sports day on the ULM campus April 25. Besides the baseball game, the Warhawk softball team will be in action, also against Florida International and also beginning at 4 p.m., at the ULM Softball Complex, while the ULM Classic Track Meet will run all day at the Bob Groseclose Track.
Hall of Fame – 2010
The L Club web site now has an online link for your Hall of Fame nominations — www.ulm.edu/lclub/hof.html. While there, make sure to look over the “Lost Members” list and help us try and locate these lost Alums.
FOOTBALL RECAP: Warhawks beat SBC champ again but finish 4-8
For the second consecutive season, ULM’s Warhawks were the only Sun Belt Conference team in 2008 to defeat the league’s football champion.
This time, it was a thrilling 31-30 win over Troy, the SBC champion and New Orleans Bowl entry, in Malone Stadium Nov. 1. In 2007, it was an even more exciting 33-30 victory in overtime at Fort Lauderdale over the Florida Atlantic team that tied for the SBC title with Troy and went on to defeat Memphis in the New Orleans Bowl.
The 2007 victory was part of a late-season rally that saw ULM win six of its last eight games to end the year with a 6-6 overall record and 4-3 conference mark for third place. That strong finish—highlighted by a 21-14 upset of Independence Bowl winner Alabama--earned Coach Charlie Weatherbie’s Warhawks third place in the 2008 pre-season poll of Sun Belt coaches and writers.
But the win over Troy turned out to be one of the few highlights in a disappointing 2008 season. ULM wound up with a 4-8 season mark that included a 3-4 record in SBC play and a three-way tie for fifth place. The Warhawks came close several times, losing three games by three points or less. In the second game of the season at Little Rock, ULM led Arkansas 24-6 in the third period before the Razorbacks rallied to come away with a 28-27 victory. Florida Atlantic scored with 20 seconds to play to pull out a 29-28 victory in Monroe and Middle Tennessee was a 24-21 victor at Murfreesboro.
Major personnel losses because of academic problems and injuries were some of the factors in the losing record. Before the season even began, four starters and a promising second teamer went out, all-conference wide receiver LaGregory Sapp, cornerback Tay Ogletree and redshirt frosh linebacker Ken Dorsey because of grades and offensive guard Aaron Schutz and defensive end Alaric Coleman because of chronic back injuries.
Other injury losses were star safety James Truxillo (ACL) in the Arkansas game Sept. 6, second-team DE Travis Eickman Sept. 10 (ACL), DT Chuckie Beyers (ACL) in August, WR Tim Taylor missed the first eight games (hamstring), DB Troy Giddens was hurt in August (ACL), WR Marty Humphrey suffered at broken leg vs. Troy and starting CB Otis Stamps (broken arm) and deep snapper Brandon Woodside (ACL) were hurt vs. Ole Miss.
These were just the major injuries. There were numerous other less serious physical problems that caused players to miss one or more games.
The healthy Warhawks produced some outstanding statistics during the season, led by first team all-SBC linebacker Cardia Jackson and senior QB Kinsmon Lancaster.
Jackson led the Warhawks with 127 tackles and was No. 2 in the SBC and No. 8 nationally. His total was the most by a Warhawk since safety Chris Harris, now in the NFL, had the same number in 2002. The last time a ULM player had more was in 1998 when DB Brian Taylor had 144 stops.
Jackson and senior TE Zeek Zacharie were first-team selections on both the all-Sun Belt Conference and all-Louisiana squads. Zacharie, who had been a second-team all-SBC choice for two years, led all conference tight ends with 46 catches and was second high in yards and TDs with 510 and four.
DE Aaron Morgan, DB Josh Thompson and OT Larry Shapley were second team all-conference choices while Thompson and fellow DB Greg James made the all-state second unit.
Seven Warhawk rookies made the All-Sun Belt Freshman Team selected by conference beat writers. They are OG Justin Roberts, WR Anthony McCall, DE Troy Evans, CBs Nate Brown and Darius Prelow, and return specialists Luther Ambrose and Robert Williams.
Lancaster ended his ULM career as one of the school’s all-time leaders in offensive production. He finished No. 4 in pass completions (509) and touchdown passes (38) and No. 5 in passing yards (5,769) and pass attempts (881). The Shreveport senior also gained more yards rushing than any other ULM quarterback with 1,557, only 22 yards out of the top 10 among all Warhawk runners regardless of position.
Monroe junior Darrell McNeal led the Warhawks in receiving in 2008 with 51 receptions for 558 yards.
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Young Warhawk cage teams not bad now, but better later
The short-term future of both ULM basketball teams was murky as the year 2009 began but the long-term prospects are high-noon bright.
Orlando Early’s Warhawk men were only 4-9 as 2008 passed into history but were beginning to play their best basketball of the season. As for Mona Martin’s girls, they greeted the new year with an 8-5 record that included a championship in the Marshall University Tournament and a strong start to Sun Belt Conference play.
But the most encouraging factor for both teams is their youth. The men’s starting five consists of three juniors and two sophomores. The girls’ squad includes seven promising freshmen and only one senior.
Women’s Team—Senior Lottie Moore, who leads the girls in scoring, rebounds, assists and steals, will doubtless be missed in the 2009-10 season, but Coach Martin will have a still young but very talented group of players coming back.
Junior guard Jessie Carrier (5-10) as 2009 began was second on the team in scoring (9.1), in the top five in the conference in 3-point accuracy (.410%) and had not missed a free throw. She was named the Most Valuable Player in the Marshall tourney after hitting last-minute shots to win both games. Shannon Davis (6-1) has been a defensive force in the middle as well as the team’s second leading rebounder (5.6). A third junior, 5-10 Ashley Wallis, is sharing the starting job at a forward post.
Sophomore Sannisha Williams (6-0) is the most improved player on the ULM team. After averaging only 1.6 points last year, she is averaging 6.3 this season, ranks in the top five in the SBC in FG accuracy with .524% (up from .343 last winter) and is averaging 4.5 rebounds (1.5 last season). Two other sophs, Kassie Courtney (5-10) and 6-2 Jordan Rawson, have played in every game and Courtney has started four.
The two most active freshmen have been Sumar Leslie and Elizabeth Torres, both 5-6, who have shared starting time at the point. Leslie is the third leading scorer on the team with 8.4, is second in assists (2.7), ranks in the SBC’s top 15 in steals with 1.78 and would rank in the top five in 3-point accuracy with .423% if she met the scoring minimum. Torres is averaging 5.6 points and is third on the team in assists with 2.1.
One other freshman, 6-2 Larrie Williams, has started a game and scored 15 points to lead the team against Morgan State in the Marshall tournament.
Men’s Team—Coach Early’s Warhawks closed out the 2008 portion of the schedule with four straight outstanding performances, winning two home games and almost beating a pair of heavy favorites on the road.
ULM whipped UNO for its first SBC win on Dec. 19 as Malcolm Thomas scored 25 points. Four days later, against heavily favored Colorado at Boulder, the Warhawks led for most of the game before finally losing by three points, 65-62. Lawrence Gilbert scored 19 points to lead ULM, Thomas had a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds, and Rudy Turner scored 12 points.
Playing at home against a Tennessee Tech team that had beaten them by 38 points earlier in the season, the Warhawks stunned the visiting Eagles, 85-78, on Dec. 30 as three players enjoyed career-best performances. Gilbert scored 22 points, Turner had 21 points and a game-high eight rebounds and Dynile Forbes came off the bench to score 18 points.
ULM forced Sun Belt West Division favorite Arkansas-Little Rock into overtime before the Trojans pulled out a 95-87 squeaker at Little Rock on New Year’s Eve.
Thomas and Forbes each scored 20 points for the Warhawks while Turner had 14 points and 11 boards and Kenneth Averette also scored 14 while handing out nine assists.
The Warhawks entered 2009 with three players scoring in double figures—Gilbert with 14.5 since becoming eligible in the seventh game, Thomas with 12.3 and Turner with 11.6. Turner was No. 4 in blocks in the conference with 1.93 and No. 5 in both rebounding with a 6.6 average and FG accuracy with .581%. Thomas was No. 4 in 3-point accuracy with .444%.
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EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK: Baseball is right arond the corner
By Bob Anderson
The Hot Stove League Season in college baseball is at full blast at ULM because the Warhawks were the Sun Belt Conference champions last spring and are probably going to be even better in 2009.
The main reason for the optimism is the return for his senior season of Ben Soignier, the greatest ULM baseball player since another Ben, Ben Sheets, was playing in maroon and gold. The all-American shortstop collected a basket-full of honors last season and more accolades are already pouring in this year.
Soignier has been selected to three pre-season all-America teams already and has been placed on the Brooks Wallace National Player of the Year Watch List. One of his latest honors is his selection as one of the nation’s top 10 senior players by Rivals.com.
All this attention is the result of his super season in 2008 when he led the NCAA in runs scored per game (1.29), ranked seventh nationally in total runs scored (83), 27th in total bases (166), 38th in slugging percentage (.703), 41st in on-base percentage (.496) and 43rd in hits (a ULM record 93).
Soignier also had the seventh highest batting average (.394) in Warhawk history and the second most home runs (16).
In addition to Soignier, the Warhawks return five more position starters—first baseman Matt Collins who hit .345 and drove in 52 runs; OF Jon Prevost (.327), catcher Ryan McMillan (.298), 3B Nick Wade (.286) and OF Matt Laird (.281).
Perhaps the most convincing argument for another Warhawk pennant is the pitching staff. One of the team’s weekend starters is back in big RH Drew Graham (2-5, 7.20) plus relief ace RH Derek Ward (5-3, 3.38) and five other 2008 hurlers, including the amazing Mr. Soignier, who was 2-1 and 4.55 on the mound in his spare time.
LH Keith Christensen returns to active duty after redshirting last year. He started a team-high 14 games in 2007, going 4-5 and ranking second on the team with a 4.27 ERA.
As for the new pitchers, a listing of some of their records in junior college will give you an idea of how promising they are—7-0, 7-1, and 8-3.
Back to guide this promising aggregation is Sun Belt Conference “Coach of the Year” Jeff Schexnaider, who has made his alma mater a power in one of the NCAA’s strongest baseball conferences in only two years.
Last year’s SBC title is the latest chapter in a rich baseball tradition at ULM. The university has claimed one national second place and16 conference, district or division championships in four leagues under six different coaches.
While we’re talking baseball, I have to include one big gripe.
The failure of the NCAA to extend a tournament invitation to ULM after it won the Sun Belt title last year was a grievous miscarriage of justice. SBC Tournament winner Western Kentucky was invited to the NCAA playoffs, as is customary, and the University of New Orleans. The obvious question is if the Privateers were so much better than ULM, why didn’t they win the conference season title? Moreover, why did they lose all three regular-season games to ULM on UNO’s home field?
It seems to be a trend in several sports to downgrade the importance of the regular season. One example is the NBA, which seems to send more teams into the playoffs each year than stay home. Another recent example is the BCS championship game which included Oklahoma instead of Texas, which defeated the Sooners by 10 points at a neutral site during the regular season. And of course ULM is not the first conference regular season champion to be ignored when the NCAA Tournament invitations go out in baseball, basketball and other sports.
Why do we play a regular season conference schedule? Why not just let each team schedule who they want during the regular season, fellow league teams or not, since the round-robin results—the best measure of any team’s strength—mean so little?
We know ULM had the best baseball team in the Sun Belt Conference last year even if the NCAA didn’t. And as I said earlier, the Warhawks will probably be the best team again this spring.
The Sun Belt Conference had another pretty good football year with wins over teams from the Big 12 (Arkansas State over Texas A&M), ACC (Middle Tennessee over Maryland, which ended the season with a bowl victory), and CUSA (FAU over UAB), sent two teams to bowl games (Troy, FAU) and went 3-0 against the Mid-American Conference, a league strangely rated stronger than the SBC in the Sagarin Ratings.
League teams came close to wins over other big name teams—ULM lost late to Arkansas by one point, ULL fell to Illinois by three points, MTSU was edged out at Kentucky by a touchdown, and Troy led LSU for much of the game before losing, 40-31.
At this writing, ULM has more football recruits committed or signed than any other Sun Belt team with 22. The Warhawks rank No. 2 among the nine SBC football schools and No. 79 nationally among 120 major teams. ULM also is one of four SBC teams to have more than one three-star or higher rated recruit committed with two. Western Kentucky, which begins SBC football play this fall, is first in recruiting in the league with a No. 77 national rank.
But nothing’s final until they sign on the dotted line and star recruits on paper quite often turn into duds when they get on the field. Still, recruiting season is always exciting and sometimes even more fascinating than the real thing.
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ULM Football Signing Day Luncheon
ULM will hold its annual Football Signing Day Luncheon on Wednesday, Feb. 4, beginning at 11:30 am in the University Conference Center on the seventh floor of the ULM Library. Admission to the catered luncheon is $15 for members of the ULM Athletic Foundation and $20 for non-members.
The program, which will begin promptly at noon, will feature comments on all of the new Warhawks from head coach Charlie Weatherbie. There will also be thumbnail sketches and a highlight video of each signee. Space is limited for the event and fans are encouraged to reserve their spot early. Reservations can be made by calling Evelyn Matheny at 318-342-5360 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
To join the ULM Athletic Foundation call 318-342-5428 or visit www.gowarhawks.net. Fans will be able to get full coverage of Signing Day 2009 on www.ULMWarhawks.com. Coverage includes up to the minute updates of signees, audio commentary from Weatherbie and highlights of all the signees in Warhawks All-Access.
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Basketball – Men’s AND Women’s Reunion
Whether you were a NLSC Indian, an NLU Indian, a ULM Indian or a ULM Warhawk, you are invited back to campus on February 28, 2009. This is the last regular season playing date for both Warhawk teams. It is also the last regular season home game for our seniors.
We learned, laughed, sweated, and bonded on the court as well as on the trips. Wow, I think my back is hurting already from those bus seats!! Honestly, we may have thought differently at the time, the college basketball years were some that we can pull memories from and smile even a small smile of enjoyment.
Come back and see how the campus has changed, visit with old teammates and watch our Warhawks in action! For more information on the reunion, give me or Coach Vining a call / e-mail. The reunion is set for 6:15 on Saturday, Feb. 28 – between the Women’s (4:30 p.m.) and Men’s (7:00 p.m.) game.
You are always welcome back on campus. Come see us and stir up some memories!! If you need more information contact either:
Robert W. Williamson
Assistanct Athletic Trainer 1983 – 2008
Coach Mike Vining
318-342-5406 or firstname.lastname@example.org
25 year celebration for the 1983 team. Coach Shake has this reunion in the planning stages. The reunion will be held on Saturday, May 16 vs. Houston Baptist. For more information, contact Coach Jeff Schexnaider at 318-342-3589 or email@example.com
Track and Field Reunion – “It’s all about the 90’s”
ULM’s annual Track and Field Reunion will take place Saturday, Apr. 25 and this year we’re celebrating the 90’s! All of our alums are invited and encouraged to attend the reunion which will be held the same day as the Warhawk Classic and it is also Hall of Fame Weekend.
L Club Wrap Up
We hope you have enjoyed our spring online newsletter. The Magazine is scheduled for mailing after the Hall of Fame weekend and will be sent to all our dues paying members. Speaking of dues, a special thanks to the ULM Alumni Association for not only “taking us in” but for offering the discounted dues option. I hope all of you will take advantage of this opportunity to join the L Club and the Alumni Association at a discounted rate. We really need your financial support.
Did you know . . . ?
- We have 2,680 alumni in our database identified as former student-athletes
- Of that 2,680, 214 are “lost” (we do not have a correct mailing address)
- 1,380 L-Clubbers are receiving this e-newsletter
- We have 126 Life Members
- We have had 95 L-Clubers pay their dues since September 1, 2008.
L Club President