Construction forces new all-star plans

A press conference promoting this week's Louisiana High School Coaches Association/Coca-Cola All-Star Games was held Monday on the LSU campus and the primary point of discussion was the mutual cooperation between LSU and Southern to put on this year's games.

The LSU athletic complex is under construction and both the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and Tiger Stadium are unavailable for this year's games. Therefore, LSU will host the games on the campus of Southern University with volleyball (Wednesday, 7 p.m.) and basketball (Thursday, 6 p.m.) at the F. G. Clark Activity Center and the football game (Friday, 7 p.m.) at Southern's Mumford Stadium.

"As you know, due to construction we won't be able to have the facility (Tiger Stadium) ready to do the game this particular summer. I might add to the media, there is more construction going on today than there has been in the entire history of the LSU athletics department," said LSU Athletics Director Skip Bertman. "For instance, next year, when you return for basketball and volleyball, you will have a brand new inside to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, which of course will be ready in October. Football is putting in its new West side club seating for 3,300 and is reattaching the upper deck. Naturally, we're expecting that to be, not finished, but at least ready for this season and will be finished by next year. The football operations center that will be completed by the end of August, and across the street the tiger habitat will be completed for the first football game.

"We're sorry about that, but we're looking forward to having you back. The good news is that you're going to our neighbors led by Greg LaFleur. We're glad to have Greg back home here in Baton Rouge. I would expect that the games will have the same excitement, fan support and the same accommodations that we've had here set forth by Greg and his staff at Southern."

LaFleur, a former LSU football player and former LSU Associate AD, is in his first day as Director of Athletics at Southern.

"I'm so excited to be back here in Louisiana and to be at Southern University. We're excited about the opportunity to host the Louisiana High School All-Star games. From what I understand this staff has done an outstanding job preparing the facilities. Everything is prepared. We're ready to go. We're excited about the relationship with LSU and your cooperation with helping us out with this event. We're looking forward to this weekend and we're looking forward to working with LSU again in the future on some other endeavors. It's going to be an exciting weekend."

Also welcoming the coaches attending the press conference was East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden.

"It's indeed a pleasure to be here. The bottom line is that it is great to be here. I would like to say thank you to the Louisiana High School Coaches Association, Coca-Cola for its sponsorship, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association and these two great universities, both LSU and Southern University.

"What you see demonstrated here is the cooperative spirit that's been exhibited from both universities for a long, long time. When one may find itself somewhat in need, there's always been a spirit to provide between the two universities by wherever they can provide assistance with no hesitation. That's the great thing about this city. People know how to come together, they know how to pull together and they know how to make things happen.

"When you're talking about the young people who will be showcased from all across this great state of ours, we have to make sure that we lay out the best for them. Between these two universities, they do not settle for mediocrity. They're going to give you the best that anybody can ever offer. That's why I'm so proud to be Mayor President for these two great entities that can step up to the plate at any time at any moment and say 'here we are, we're ready to do it.' That's the spirit that's brought here today.

"As we showcase this to our young people, we also lay down a format and a plan out for them -- cooperation and teamwork. Without the teamwork, a lot of this would not be happening. Without people saying it's not 'I' but it's 'we,' a lot of this would not be happening. Here you start off with the dedication of two great universities laying out the format for anything you want to do in life based on the spirit of working with one another. We would like to welcome the athletes, welcome the families, welcome the coaches, the officials and all of those involved with this great endeavor and know that from the bottom of our hearts we can never thank you enough."

Tickets for the All-Star games are available in advance at the LSU Athletics Ticket Office and online at Ticket sales on game nights will begin on the Southern campus 90 minutes prior to the start of the contest.

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