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Story Archives: LSU Alumni deserve better
|LSU Alumni deserve better|
It's easy to be critical from where I sit.
And I understand there are two sides to every story (or as our general manager says, "There are three sides, one person's side, the other side and the truth.")
I was ready to bring up an old pet peeve before the latest Miss-Lou Area LSU Alumni & Friends was postponed for this week because of the rising Mississippi. It was scheduled to be held at the Bryant O. Hammett Vidalia Conference and Convention Center on Thursday.
Last year, local LSU alumni folks will admit they dropped the ball a bit and there was not a meeting for the first time in several years.
This year's guest speaker was, and I assume will still be, Tiger Rag Magazine editor Ben Love.
Now I love Tiger Rag and I enjoy listening to Ben Love on the radio.
But Ben Love is not Les Miles. He is not Trent Johnson (hey, he had a bad year, but he is still head coach). He is not Nikki Caldwell, and how fantastic would it have been to bring in this new Lady Tiger coach who I believe is going to have all Tiger fans falling in love with women's basketball.
He's not Steve Kragthorpe, John Chavis, Brick Haley, Tommy Moffitt, Frank Wilson, Ron Cooper or Billy Gonzales.
I repeat, this is not a jab at Love or Butler. And I'm sure Love will give an excellent program on May 12.
I just think local LSU fans deserve more for the support they have given the program.
Just for review, this is what I wrote last year:
While Les Miles has paraded off to places such as Texas, Mississippi and Florida, the Miss-Lou has been fed leftovers.
Two years ago seemed to be the biggest slap in the face to me. Mack Butler, LSU Director of Football Operations, was the guest speaker in Natchez. Nothing against Coach Butler, but let's face it, he's not a big name and he's not the kind of guy who is going to have LSU fans running to scoop up tickets.
Two years ago, tight end and recruiting coordinator Josh Henson was the featured guest. Nice guy. Little more interesting.
In 2005, we had Tiger offensive line coach Stacy Searels.
But still nothing like 2004 when Will Muschamp visited, or 2003 when Jimbo Fisher came along or even in 1999 when John Brady made the first of two appearances (2006 the other), even though I never was a big Brady fan.
In 2001, we had two assistant football coach at Panola Woods — the always likeable and talented Pete Jenkins and George Yarno.
In 1998, Gerry DiNardo worked the crowd and did what he does best - test the food. (As we found out later, it sure wasn't coaching).
But at least LSU sent the head football coach at that time.
Curly Hallman made an appearance and even Nick Saban graced us with his presence in 2000 at the Ramada Hilltop in Natchez. That was Saban's first year at LSU.
As a matter of fact, Les Miles is the only head football coach not to visit the Miss-Lou. Mike Archer made his way here in 1987.
And while I'm not expecting the LSU Tiger Tour to stop by the Miss-Lou, having a head coach or top assistant would certainly make me feel better about how LSU feels about this region.
There are a number of LSU fans just on both sides of the river and this kind of event draws from Catahoula, Tensas and Franklin parishes, as well as Wilkinson County.
And Vidalia has (and will have again) a beautiful facility in the Bryant Hammett Vidalia Conference and Convention Center to handle such an event.
Even the Miss-Lou Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame has struck out when it comes to bringing an LSU guy.
I wrote a letter to the Tiger Athletic Foundation asking about Les Miles speaking at a banquet that has seen Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen and Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt.
OK, now back to the future.
So I sent an e-mail to Dr. Charlie Roberts, president of the LSU Alumni Association.
I stated that I realized how difficult a task it is trying to satisfy so many people and working around schedules.
I asked what it would take to bring in a top coach or assistant. I told him Les Miles has never been to the Miss-Lou chapter and as far as I know he is the only head football coach who has not spoken at our event.
Our conference and convention center has hosted Bobby Jindal three times in the past year and is one of the most impressive buildings around and makes a great meeting facility.
If you put Natchez, Vidalia and Ferriday, and even Jonesville and Woodville LSU fans together you could easily fill Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night.
Last week I received a response from Jason Ramezan, Vice President of LSU Alumni Relations.
This is Ramezan's response.
"I am in receipt of your email to Dr. Charlie Roberts in reference to the selection of speakers for Alumni meetings. I work directly with our chapter representatives to help with speakers. I can tell you that in the past few years, the number of speakers traveling to Alumni events across the state and country has decreased. With the popular Tiger Tour making its journey around the state this time of year, it is very difficult to secure high profile speakers.
"We have several alumni chapters who never get a speaker. One of the main criteria for sending a speaker to your area is attendance. We generally don't like to bring a speaker to an area that does not have at least 150 in attendance. Let's be honest – the Miss-Lou area's attendance the past couple of years has dipped. Of course, that could be attributed to the profile of the speaker, but at some point attendance will have to increase to attract the bigger names.
"You hit it right on the head though in your email – schedules is the biggest roadblock we get when trying to secure a speaker. These coaches are very busy especially football coaches – it's a 365 day a year job – they rarely get breaks with Spring ball and recruiting. Honestly, over the past couple of years we have learned that the media type speakers will give you more information than the coaches will. If you would like to speak with me more on this – I am available at the numbers below. I look forward to hearing from you."
So there's your answer local Tiger fans. When this event is re-scheduled, be sure to make a point of attending. The folks who count notice. And if we can fill up the building for the next meeting and have standing room only, maybe that big tour could make its way through the Miss-Lou one day.
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