Before the spring season fades into memories and the sports fan’s thoughts inevitably turn to football, it’s worth taking a moment to realize how special the 2013 season was for both the UL baseball and softball squads.

Regardless of the outcome of the NCAA’s Baton Rouge Regional, the success of the Ragin’ Cajun baseball team this season was shocking when compared to 12 months ago. That the program arose from the dead after two seasons of what head coach Tony Robichaux called unacceptable results brought joy back to Tigue Moore Field.

04062013ulbaseball619
Photos by Brad Kemp / Ragincajuns.com
Going into Regional play in Baton Rouge May 31, junior outfielder Dex Kjerstad's team-high batting average of .398 (.436 since March 19) was 11th in the country. He had 12 home runs, with 58 runs scored and 43 RBIs.

The success at the other end of the Reinhardt Drive athletic complex wasn’t as surprising, since fans have come to expect excellence and deep NCAA runs from the Cajun softball program. That UL got within one run — twice — of a sixth trip to the Women’s College World Series is still impressive, especially considering the coaching-staff turmoil of the season’s first month.

Combined, the dual success reminds all Cajun fans that, as Mark Hudspeth so movingly reminded us over the last two years, it can happen here.

Check that. It is happening here.

Care to hazard a guess as to how many schools across the country had a softball team in a Super Regional and a baseball team in regional play? The answer would be eight — three from the SEC (Alabama, Florida and Texas A&M), two from the Pac-12 (Oregon and Arizona State), one each from the ACC (Florida State) and the Big 12 (Oklahoma), and that little ole school from Cajun country.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the lowest athletic budget of any of those other seven schools (Arizona State at $55.2 million) is still more than four times the Cajuns’ operating budget. According to USA Today research, Alabama’s $124.4 million in athletic revenue ranked third nationally in 2011-12, Florida’s $123.5 million ranked fourth and Oklahoma’s $104.3 million ranked ninth — each of them eight or more times larger than UL’s $13.56 million in revenues from that season.

Want to know some schools that had more athletic revenue than UL for that year? Try Binghamton, Stephen F. Austin, Albany, Vermont and North Dakota State on for size. Buffalo and California-Davis each had twice as much athletic revenue as the Cajuns in 2011-12, so remember that when it comes time to make Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation pledges.

The budgetary shortages are well documented, of course, and it’s pointless to continue to beat that horse. The UL athletic administration, with the university’s help, has made and continues to make remarkable progress with its numbers, but a level financial playing field remains only a dream.

04172013ulsoftball264
 UL sophomore pitcher Jordan Wallace won 32 games this season, a tie for fourth best in Ragin' Cajuns history. She struck out 382 batters, the second highest ever for the Cajuns.

The point that must be made is that Cajun coaches are doing more with less than just about anybody.
Hudspeth’s football teams have 18 wins in two seasons and won back-to-back New Orleans Bowls. Only two other schools in the country have won the same bowl twice in the last two years: Alabama and Boise State.

UL’s baseball team went 23-30 last year and didn’t make the conference tournament. A year later, Robichaux’s boys of spring have their first 40-win season since 2007 and may be the country’s most dangerous lineup top-to-bottom (they had a nation-leading 72 home runs in the regular season, and went into NCAA play with all nine regulars hitting over .300). Only three other schools nationally had that big a total-win turnaround.

All the girls of spring did was make the NCAA Tournament field for the 23rd time in 24 years and for the 15th straight year, and advance to the Super Regional for the third time in four seasons; only 13 other schools in the country can say that. Michael Lotief’s crew continues to be the school’s most successful on the national stage, and the program also brought Yvette Girouard home. All in all, a pretty solid year.

Given time — and the right resources — Bob Marlin and Garry Brodhead are going to have similar success in men’s and women’s basketball. The recent announcement of a $115 million master plan to upgrade and modernize athletic facilities will do nothing but help everyone.

College athletics is like most other ventures. Success breeds success, and UL’s spring seasons were just more examples. Ponder that over the summer while watching the mailbox for your football season tickets and getting your tailgating gear ready.

To post a comment, please log into your IND account. If you do not have an account, click the "register" button to create one. Facebook comments can be used as an alternative to creating an account at theIND.com.

feed-image RSS Feed
Loading
Chart
ABiz Stock Watch
o Home Bancorp 20.05 ▼0.07 (-0.35%)
o Frank's International 25.90 ▲1.24 (5.03%)
o IberiaBank Corp 67.34 ▲0.68 (1.02%)
o LHC Group 21.32 ▲0.22 (1.04%)
o MidSouth Bancorp 16.37 ▼0.06 (-0.37%)
o Petroquest Energy 5.68 ▲0.24 (4.41%)
o PHI Inc. 42.50 ▲0.60 (1.43%)
o Superior Energy 31.30 ▼0.33 (-1.04%)
o Stone Energy 46.33 ▲0.73 (1.60%)
o Teche Holding 77.49 ▲0.67 (0.87%)
o Facebook Inc. 58.94 ▼0.78 (-1.31%)
o Twitter Inc. 45.01 ▲0.59 (1.33%)
o Gannett 26.87 ▲0.23 (0.86%)
NYSE:HBCP

Home Bancorp

Company ID [NYSE:HBCP] Last trade:20.05 Trade time:3:59PM EDT Value change:▼0.07 (-0.35%)
NYSE:FI

Frank's International

Company ID [NYSE:FI] Last trade:25.90 Trade time:4:00PM EDT Value change:▲1.24 (5.03%)
NYSE:IBKC

IberiaBank Corp

Company ID [NYSE:IBKC] Last trade:67.34 Trade time:3:59PM EDT Value change:▲0.68 (1.02%)
NYSE:LHCG

LHC Group

Company ID [NYSE:LHCG] Last trade:21.32 Trade time:4:00PM EDT Value change:▲0.22 (1.04%)
NYSE:MSL

MidSouth Bancorp

Company ID [NYSE:MSL] Last trade:16.37 Trade time:4:03PM EDT Value change:▼0.06 (-0.37%)
NYSE:PQ

Petroquest Energy

Company ID [NYSE:PQ] Last trade:5.68 Trade time:4:03PM EDT Value change:▲0.24 (4.41%)
NYSE:PHII

PHI Inc.

Company ID [NYSE:PHII] Last trade:42.50 Trade time:2:37PM EDT Value change:▲0.60 (1.43%)
NYSE:SPN

Superior Energy

Company ID [NYSE:SPN] Last trade:31.30 Trade time:4:04PM EDT Value change:▼0.33 (-1.04%)
NYSE:SGY

Stone Energy

Company ID [NYSE:SGY] Last trade:46.33 Trade time:4:03PM EDT Value change:▲0.73 (1.60%)
NYSE:TSH

Teche Holding

Company ID [NYSE:TSH] Last trade:77.49 Trade time:4:02PM EDT Value change:▲0.67 (0.87%)
NYSE:FB

Facebook Inc.

Company ID [NYSE:FB] Last trade:58.94 Trade time:4:00PM EDT Value change:▼0.78 (-1.31%)
NYSE:TWTR

Twitter Inc.

Company ID [NYSE:TWTR] Last trade:45.01 Trade time:4:00PM EDT Value change:▲0.59 (1.33%)
NYSE:GCI

Gannett

Company ID [NYSE:GCI] Last trade:26.87 Trade time:4:03PM EDT Value change:▲0.23 (0.86%)
Advertisement

Economic Indicators

  • Real Estate Data
    Real Estate
     
    Rentals
     
    Commercial
     
     
  • Energy Data
    Oil
     
    Gas
     
     
  • Taxable Sales
    Register
     
  • Unemployment Rate
    Employment
     
 

Read the Flipping Paper!

Click Here for the Entire Print Version of
ABiz
 
Advertisement
Advertisement