Looking back, Louisiana Tech Athletics has certainly moved forward

Dec 15, 2011 | General News

— Over the past ten years, vision and purpose have become part of the game plan —
Ten years have passed since the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs hoisted their first WAC football championship trophy.  Much like this year, it was accompanied by a bowl game invitation and marked a milestone on the program’s storied history.
Milestones often prompt us to look back at where we’ve been and what we have accomplished since the last milestone.  So with that in mind, what changes have occurred within Louisiana Tech University and its athletics department, and what improvements have been made since winning the 2001 WAC title?
“I think one of the biggest improvements we’ve made in the past 10 years has been to our game-day atmosphere at Joe Aillet Stadium,” said Malcolm Butler, associate athletics director for media relations.  “With the addition of the top-of-the-line field turf, the new stadium lights and of course the video board and sound system, our game-day experience for our fans has improved tremendously.  I think our increased attendance is proof of the impact of these changes.”
Butler says that Louisiana Tech has seen an increase in football season ticket sales in each of the past four years and has also set a record this season for average home football attendance.
Louisiana Tech has also capitalized on strategic partnerships with a number of high-profile companies including Learfield Sports, CBS College Sports Network, Rickabaugh Graphics, and The Aspire Group.  Local companies such as Donnie Bell Design and Lange Creative have played an important role in helping Tech Athletics to develop and advance its brand and national image.
But as any coach worth his or her salt will tell you, success doesn’t come without a well-designed and detailed game plan.  The same is true for a successful athletics program.
“We have developed a strategic plan called ‘Tech 2020 Athletics’ that sets the course for the athletics department in many areas: academics, competitiveness, funding and facilities,” said Dr. James Liberatos, chair of the Louisiana Tech Athletics Council and dean of the College of Applied and Natural Sciences.
“Today’s successes are the result of many years of effort by everyone involved with the athletics department.  The success of Tech Athletics and our student athletes has been a team effort, including faculty, staff, coaches, administration, and the commitment of the student athletes themselves.”
True success for Louisiana Tech’s student-athletes means achieving as a student AND an athlete.  Mary Kay Hungate, deputy athletics director and senior woman administrator, says the addition of a full-time student success specialist as well as an increase in tutors in the academic center has provided more academic support for our student-athletes.
“There is a direct correlation between this additional academic support and the improvements and successes of our student-athletes in the classroom.”
Louisiana Tech’s commitment to the academic success of its student-athletes is clearly evident in its superior graduation success rate and academic progress rate (APR).  Tech recorded its highest-ever four-year student-athlete graduation success rate (72 percent) and ranks second in the state among Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) public institutions, according to the most recent Federal Graduation Rate Report.
From improvements in the game-day experience to a progressive long-range plan to academic success among its student-athletes, Louisiana Tech has spent the last decade developing a well-thought-out strategy for the future and a vision for what Tech Athletics can become.
And if the last 10 years are any indication, Bulldog fans should have a lot to cheer about.
Louisiana Tech is currently preparing to face No. 15 TCU in the 2011 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 21 in San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium.
The 2011 Poinsettia Bowl will be televised on ESPN and will be the only bowl game taking place on Dec. 21. Joe Tessitore (play-by-play) will call the action along with Lou Holtz (analyst), Mark May (analyst) and Samantha Steele (sidelines). In addition, ESPN Radio (97.7 FM in Ruston) will carry the game nationally with Bill Rosinksi (play-by-play) calling the action along with David Norrie (analyst) and Joe Schad (analyst). The LA Tech Sports Network (107.5 FM in Ruston), as always, will broadcast the Tech game with Dave Nitz (play-by-play), Teddy Allen (analyst) and Max Causey (sidelines) calling the action.
Tickets for the Poinsettia Bowl are on sale now through the LA Tech Ticket Office and range from $35 – $55. To purchase tickets, please call (318) 257-3631, email or visit
For complete coverage of Bulldog Football and the 2011 Poinsettia Bowl, follow @LATechPWalsh on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at
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