Inaugural McGaha Memorial Scholarship awarded
Louisiana Tech University Construction Engineering Technology major Haden Smith, a senior from Benton, has been named the first recipient of the Lane McGaha Memorial Scholarship. McGaha’s family presented the scholarship June 15 in the Marbury Alumni Center on Louisiana Tech’s campus.
McGaha, ’06-Sociology, was the late coach of the University’s Bass Fishing Team, a club sport organized through the Lambright Sports and Wellness Center. Smith is a veteran member of the team and will serve as the group’s president for the 2021-22 academic year.
“The kids on the team just wanted to find a way to honor Lane,” said Fred McGaha, the late coach’s father. “This is such an appropriate way to do that. He would want the team to continue to excel, and we want this scholarship to continue to grow.”
Smith has gone “above and beyond in a challenging year,” McGaha said. “He’s the hardest working member of the team, and he has given so much of his personal time to keep this team going in the past year – no matter how hard it’s been on the team.”
Fred McGaha, who took over coaching the Fishing Team after his son passed away, said the team has been a blessing to him and Lane McGaha’s family.
“I hope this scholarship will help us reach out to other prospective members of the team,” he added.
Smith said he was honored to receive the scholarship, which will help him with school expenses over the next year.
“Fishing teaches us so many things,” Smith said. “It shows us how to prepare for life and how important the responsibility of representing Louisiana Tech is. We also learn humility and how to handle both success and failure through our competitions.”
Fishing also teaches students to concentrate on ensuring the little details are complete, Wade McGaha, Lane’s brother, said. “You have a plan A and a plan B, and when you take care of the little things, the big things fall in line.”
Support for extracurricular and co-curricular activities is important, said Kane Allen, Associate Director of Recreation at Louisiana Tech.
“Financial support for our students involved in recreation is vital to keep our programs moving in the right direction,” Allen said. “Participation in recreation increases both physical and mental health, and groups like the Bass Fishing Team provide a support network for many of our students.”
The scholarship also allows the McGaha family to continue to share Lane’s dedication to the students on the team, his mother, Lesa Henderson, said. “Lane loved every kid on that team.”