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Does LU Baseball even matter anymore?

King Snake

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I'm sitting here watching DBU dust the Longhorns in Dallas and was wondering, Does LU baseball even matter anymore? I remember the day when LU was considered by many to be a power in the state. Competitive with anybody....Rice, UT, TAMU, etc. Now, is there a college left in the state that LU can even compete with? How long will the current powers that be (in and out of the administration) allow the program to wallow in the pits they are in? Does anybody even care anymore? The entire program seems old, tired, listless and forlorn. Next-to-last in the vaunted SLC? Answers???
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As far as I'm concerned, I think it matters. Fans closer to the team can give better, more informed answers, but here's what I see when I look at numbers.


I think this season was a disappointment for all. Hopefully, the team will turn around. Even so, expectations weren't very high this season according to the Athletic Directors and Coaches pre-season polls. The Cardinals were picked to finish in 8th place. They ended up a little worse at 10th. Watching the scores in the first part of the season, there were numerous games where big leads were blown in the later innings. That would imply to me that pitching (which historically had been one of the Cardinals' big strengths) was very weak. We didn't have too many people for the rotation and not too many people for relief. This season record turned out to be the worst in Gilligan's history. One has to go back to the last two years of David Perkins five years as Cardinals head coach to find a worse record.


Looking at the "vaunted" Southland Conference, the Southland placed two teams in the NCAA tournament for three consecutive years from 2012-2014. It's not one of the power conferences, but it is certainly not one of the worst in college baseball.


Looking at the Cardinals SLC record since the return to the conference, I count three tournament championships and NCAA appearances (most recent in 2010), three additional times in the championship game (most recent in 2008), and three times one game away from the championship game from 2001 to 2014 (most recent in 2013). This year was the first season the Cardinals missed the SLC tournament since 2000 and the third year since returning to the conference...didn't qualify in 1999 and 2000.


I don't like the trend, but I think it is a little early to throw out the baby with the bath water. There are some things that I think need to happen to show a commitment in the program. One of the main ones is actually doing the $5.5 million renovation to Vincent-Beck that has slid year after year after year. That would help with recruiting. Another thing is that fans need to consider making contributions to the athletics program if they aren't already and maybe consider increasing contributions if able to. The threshold is very low with a minimum contribution of $50.00. (My wife and I spent just under that at lunch today.) With over 75,000 alumni, a little could go a long way if we had a higher percentage of members. The donations go primarily to scholarships. The more we could get in donations would allow improvements in other things in the department and each of the programs.


Just to see where we stand, looking at the USAToday Revenue and Expense data Coachacola posted in another thread, here's how Lamar contributions compared with their SLC counterparts in 2014. We're not the worst in contributions, but we're not the best either.



New Orleans $2,562,114 (No football)

McNeese State $1,555,654

Sam Houston State $1,445,192

Nicholls $1,263,779

Southeasttern Louisiana $1,056,203

Lamar $747,966

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi $457,075 (No football)

Stephen F. Austin $394,792

Central Arkansas $251,880

Edited by LUSportsFan
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First, Gilligan said at the end of last season that he expected this years team to be one of the best he would ever coach. So to say that the expectations were low in the SLC and Coaches polls may be true, but in the coaches eyes and my eyes as well it was not. Just like Gilligan and anyone else who follows the Lamar Baseball team closely, we all came into this season with very high expectations. I remember sitting in the stands in the first game of the year and Lamar fans in the stands were all talking about the amount of talent that this years team was going to bring to the table. Missing the SLC Tourney was not a result of a lack of talent, but of a lack of coaching. Quite frankly, Gilligan would rather be on the Golf Course than in the Beck coaching. He does almost none of the recruiting leaving that to Ricklefsen and Patton. That is what scares me as well because from what I have heard when Gilligan leaves or is forced out, the team is going to be handed to Ricklefsen and what we are seeing is essentially his teams. Lamar has always had good pitching in the past and that is attributed to Gilligan's influence. Yet, in the past two seasons, Lamar has not had good good pitching. In the recruiting, year in and year out you are seeing Lamar bringing in JUCO pitchers with ERAs in the mid to high four range. Because of all of the JUCO talent that he is bringing in, Lamar has to rebuild every two years. 24 JUCO player compared to 17 high school players on last years roster. Because they have relied on JUCO talent for the past 7 or 8 seasons, even if they wanted to try and go back to HS talent it would be like having to rebuild a program from scratch. Gilligan is to lazy to try and rebuild this program with High School talent and with the result of the past several years he is no longer able to get the good JUCO talent so the coaching staff are settling for mid to low level JUCO talent. Now we are watching local high school players turn to Sam Houston, McNeese, SFA, HBU, and other schools and having huge performances in the SLC while Lamar continues to tread water and slowly sink to the bottom of the SLC. I was good friends with a couple of players on this past years team, and to say that they are not happy with the coaching staff is a slight understatement. This program needs a complete Tic Price-esc type of overhaul starting with a completely new coaching staff. Preferably young and energetic.
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I've been thinking for several years that it was time for a youthful overhaul. I haven't seen much out there to encourage me though. I phrased my original question the way I did because I don't see a anything from the administration that makes me think that baseball matters anymore. I think that they are happy letting Gilligan sit back and watch the program die a slow death. I understand that he has earned some leeway, but I don't think he gives a damn anymore...he's just collecting a paycheck and padding his career win totals (very slowly) each year. I personally gave up my season tickets 2 yrs ago, because my time and money could be better spent elsewhere than watching this program being slowly euthanized. When I do go to individual games, I don't see the fire and excitement that I used to see. Recruiting is atrocious. I haven't see anybody with "it" since Collin Delhomme. Seriously, is there a team in the state that LU can compete with? I know that the SLC is a decent conference, but no thanks to Lamar. I'm just disgusted with the product that has been put on the field for the last half decade.
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