The Rise of Ragin’ Cajun Athletics

April 17th, 2014 | by CollegeAD
The Rise of Ragin’ Cajun Athletics
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rajun cajun athletics
 
The Ragin’ Cajun athletic department has seen incredible success over the last few years, and with that success has come an overwhelming amount of support from the University and the Lafayette Community. The Cajuns are embarking on a series of renovations totaling $115 million which will place the University of Louisiana right in the heat of the “facilities arms race”. Moreover, these renovations will not come at the expense of athletic department funds.

Director of Athletics Scott Farmer stated “The athletic budget has seen record increases over the last few years because of the generosity of our fans and supporters. It is important that we raise the money for the Athletics Facilities Master Plan without stunting the annual growth of the operating budget.”
 

Success you say?

 
Seemingly every team at the University of Louisiana is finding a way to succeed despite a modest budget nowhere near that of schools competing in the five power conferences.

At the beginning of the 2011 many national polls ranked the Ragin’ Cajun football team the worst team in the country. First year head coach, Mark Hudspeth and the Cajuns went on to complete the best season in school history, compiling a 9-4 record and thrilling New Orleans bowl win over a favored San Diego State University.

In fact, the football team has compiled a 9-4 record three years in a row, winning three straight New Orleans Bowls, capturing the Sun Belt Conference title this past season. For the record the Ragin’ Cajuns went 3-9, the season prior to Mark Hudspeth’s arrival.
 
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The Ragin’ Cajuns softball team is currently ranked #18 in the nation, with a season record of 31-7-1 and a 11-1 record in Sun Belt Conference games.

UL softball is a perennial power under head coach Michael Lotief, including back-to-back trips to the NCAA Super Regionals in 2012 and 2013, 12-straight NCAA Regionals, and at least 40 wins in each of those seasons, the Cajuns have been a national presence for over a decade.

The men’s basketball team saw its most successful run in recent history, ending this past season with a 23-12 record, taking the Sun Belt Conference title and making it to the big dance for the first time in nine years.

The Ragin’ Cajun baseball team is ranked #2 in the nation, compiling a 34-4 record so far this season, with major victories over LSU, and a near weekend sweep of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The 34-4 mark is the best start through 33 games in school history. Louisiana moved up one spot to No. 2 in the Baseball America, Perfect Game and NCBWA rankings and the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Ragin’ Cajuns also had a first place vote in the coaches poll. The rankings mark a record high in each of the four polls.
 

How the $115 Million Will Be Spent

 
Nine projects that total $115 million will serve as a blue print for the success and growth of the Ragin’ Cajuns athletics program. The list of projects has been broken into three tiers, or levels of priority:

The top tier of facility priorities include improvements to the soccer and track facility, seating and amenity expansion in the south end of Cajun Field, and the new Athletics Practice Facility which will be built adjacent to the Leon Moncla Indoor Practice Facility and the football practice fields.

The second tier of facility priorities include the remaining proposed improvements to Cajun Field and the renovation and expansion of M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.

The final tier of improvements include a new sports plaza behind the south end of Cajun Field, renovation of the Academic Center, proposed improvements at Earl K. Long Gym and the Culotta Tennis Center and a new basketball practice facility. The conceptual budget can be seen below. Click the image to enlarge the chart.
 
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Renovation of Cajun Field

Screenshot 2014-04-17 07.28.30

• 5 construction phases that could ultimately raise capacity to over 65,000.

• First phase: add 5,900 seats to south end zone
This allows for the remaining expansion to be done without losing use of
Cajun Field or playing a season with a diminished capacity.

• Main phase: addition of a structure on the west side that will include 23,500 square feet of office space for the athletic administration, 1,200 club seats, 128 loge seats and 37 box suites.

• The current press box will be replaced and include either changes or
replacement of the current upper deck seating.

• Also included in the main phase is an upper level of seating on the east sideline, adding 9,546 seats that will bring capacity to 50,000.

Athletics Practice Facility

 
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Located adjacent to the Leon Moncla Indoor Practice Facility and on some of the space currently being used for the football practice fields, the 71,000 square foot facility will create new space for athletic training, equipment and strength and conditioning and house the offices for the football program.

Football Amenities In The APF

• Includes office space for head coach, assistant coaches and administrative and support staff.

• 4,800 square feet of meeting space, including a main auditorium that seats 130-150 people that can be broken down into multiple meeting rooms.

• Video editing suite and storage facilities that include video distribution and viewing areas for pro scouts.

• Locker room facilities for the football team, coaching staff and visitors.

Athletic Training In The APF

• Includes office space for athletic training staff, doctor’s office and exam room, a hydro-therapy room along with 3,500 square feet dedicated to treatment and rehabilitation.


Equipment Room In The APF

Almost 6,000 square feet of space located off the loading dock and receiving area that includes work space, offices for the full-time staff, expanded laundry facility, issue bins and equipment storage.

Strength and Conditioning In The APF

• Multiple weight room facilities that will allow more student-athletes to work out at the same time along with a common nutrition station.

• Primary facility covers 12,000 square feet which will handle student-athletes simultaneously, including space for agility, plyometrics and warm-ups.

• Current basketball court attached to indoor facility will be re-purposed into a 5,000 square foot secondary weight room.

• Cardio mezzanine connects the two facilities, sharing space with athletic training for use rehabbing and evaluation of injuries.
 
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Tick Tick

With all of the Cajuns recent success on the field in spite of dated facilities, and a modest but growing athletic department budget, imagine what $115 million in renovations will do for recruiting, fan engagement, student-athlete development, and the general growth of the Ragin’ Cajun athletic brand.

Head football coach Mark Hudspeth may have said it best when he took the job in 2010, “This place is like a ticking time bomb ready to go-off and we’re ready to light that fuse.”

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