From the Bird’s Nest: The Cajuns’ best athletic tradition
It started nearly a decade ago.
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajun baseball team, just like all other sports, has always celebrated Senior Day. It's the day when seniors play on their home field/court for the final time. Moms and Dads join their student-athlete for a ceremony. In baseball, the seniors are given scrapbooks for mementos that they'll keep forever. Their children will someday look through it and ask questions. That tradition has been going on for many years.
But nearly a decade ago, the idea started to actually have graduating seniors receive their degrees on the field.
It's something that the players, coaches, fans, parents and yes, the administration looks forward to.
And yesterday, Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns honored their thirteen seniors. And then they handed out diplomas.
Current players Randall Bulliard, Trask Switzenberg, Joey Satriano, Mike Petello and Jordan Poirrier received their diplomas. So did former player Justin Robichaux (accepted by his mom, Colleen) and manager Cody Junot.
And Corey Coles.
Coles last played for Louisiana in 2003. He left after his junior season to play professional baseball, making it as high as AAA. But after his career he returned to school, and decided home plate was the place for him as well. And, with daughter in tow, also received his degree.
University President Dr. E. Joseph Savoie, Interim Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Carolyn Bruder, Faculty Athletics Representative Anita Hazelwood and Christy Alford, Assistant Director at the Academic Center for Student-Athletes represented UL in the ceremony.
UL Coach Tony Robichaux, like so many head coaches, believes that getting a degree is paramount. He has a Director of Baseball Operations, Chris Domingue, who sole purpose is to take charge of the academics of baseball players. Not all players graduate in the spring. But, sooner or later, they graduate.
But there's something about being able to see the degree presented on the field where players have given sweat equity that makes baseball graduation so special.
All of us at ESPN1420 congratulate yesterday's graduates, as well as the other student athletes who received their degrees over the weekend:
BASEBALL: Dillon Guillory
MEN'S BASKETBALL: Phillip Jones, Courtney Wallace, Brandon Dison
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: D'Mya Clay, Val Amie
GOLF: Thomas Petts, Kyle Pritchard, Malloy Moulis
SOCCER: Chelsea Balestra, Jordan Blevins, Carleigh Martin, Kennedy Richards, Katherine Mixon
FOOTBALL: Matt Autrey, Ian Burks, Robert Fails, Ross Goodlett, Seth Guilbeaus, Junior Jean, Julian Jones, Daylon McCoy, Chris Masson, Terrell Richardson, Jermaine Rogers, Julian Shankle
MEN'S TRACK: Stacey Fuller, Joey Wynn, Tremaine Cosey
WOMEN'S TRACK: Jasmine Anderson, Tiffany Patrick, Paula Parker, Jenna Picou, Jerri Ann Sille, Taryn Simmons, Brittany Taylor (MBA)
VOLLEYBALL: Rachael Mauti, Lindsay Brown, Brooke Niland
WOMEN'S TENNIS: Julie Mazinova