It’s basketball season and it’s still winter here in Iowa. It makes me ponder the old days when I was in athletic media relations in the great warm state of Louisiana.
This Iowa boy traveled to northern Louisiana to serve as a graduate assistant at Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe. NLU is now ULM (University of Louisiana-Monroe). The name change was tough on people. One guy I knew in media relations said he (a graduate) would no longer financially support the school because of the name change. Ouch.
Being a Midwesterner, I had no clue what the South was like. The people talked funny and the food was strange, but I grew to love the South, Monroe and the state of Louisiana.
My responsibilities were to promote the women’s athletic program. Athletic media relations people provide information on the teams and players to various media outlets. If some radio or TV guy/gal seems to know much information about a particular team, chances are the stuff came from the media relations person.
I only traveled with the women’s basketball team. We finished a terrible 7-23 that year. But other memories also linger.
We journey to the state tournament in southern Louisiana. It’s a long haul from northern Louisiana to the south. We traveled via bus. Robert Muarry, one of the assistant coaches, was always giving me a hard time about being from Iowa. On that particular bus trip he badgered a player from Louisiana to tell me all about southern cooking. She hesitated but probably knew it couldn’t hurt her playing time.
And then, there was Larry the bus driver. Larry and I shared a room and a bed on the trip. Now Larry was a big fellow. When I say big, I mean big. The double bed was a little small for a tall, skinny, 6-7 guy and a big bear-type. I didn’t bother Larry even though he snored like a bear. He was my ticket back to northern Louisiana. Larry and I got along just fine, ha.
I will never forget that season in Louisiana. There were great folks, great weather and interesting athletic teams to promote.