DEVILLE: Surely a "Peculiar Period" at LSU

There is an infamous Sport Illustrated cover featuring former LSU basketball coach Dale Brown and the words "Crazy Days at LSU."

Those were some bizarre times in Baton Rouge, the days of Brown, Bill Arnsparger, Bob Brodhead and the entire "bugging" incident.

 

Recent events on the LSU campus might promt one to recall those "crazy days," most prominent the abrupt resignation of women's basketball coach Pokey Chatman. However, Chatman's resignation is only the most recent in a lengthy list of bizarre occurrences at LSU that have ushered in yet another "peculiar period" in Baton Rouge.

 

Here is a list of those newsworthy moments over the past few months:

 

  1. The now-infamous F-Bomb fiasco. While speaking at the Tiger Gridiron Club's Bayou Bash, which is held annually on National Signing Day at the Baton Rouge River Center, Les Miles blurted out the "king of the naughty words" in front of 5,000. In a fiery speech that concluded signing day festivities, Miles got a little too bold and referred to the Alabama Crimson Tide, which is coached by former LSU coach Nick Saban, as "f-ing" Alabama. Some fans swore he didn't say it, others said he did. Whatever the case, Miles' slip of the tongue definitely sets the tone for this list of bizarro occurrences.

 

  1. The Ryan Perrilloux counterfeiting saga. LSU's sophomore quarterback was brought in for questioning by the U.S. Secret Service for his involvement in an alleged counterfeiting ring in St. John the Baptist Parish. It seems Perrilloux passed across a few counterfeit bills in a LaPlace convenience store last November, which drew attention from the feds. While Perrilloux was never suspected of any wrongdoing and was never charged with any crime, the interest from federal officials definitely made news. Word is he should be cleared soon of any possible implication in the ongoing investigation.

 

  1. Then there is the rise and fall of the LSU men's basketball program. From the Final Four to the NIT bubble, that is a harsh reality for John Brady's Tigers. In just one year, LSU went from SEC Champions and the NCAA Final Four to a last place finish in the SEC West and crossed fingers for a possible NIT berth. Once ranked No. 5 in the nation with quality wins over Texas A&M, Florida and UConn, the Tigers dropped nine of 10 games at one point and more close games that you can count. After one loss at Ole Miss, Brady took a page out of Miles' book and let one slip (this time the S-word) on live radio during a postgame interview with Jim Hawthorne).

 

  1. Then there is Pokey. Three Final Fours, two SEC titles and a sparkling 90-14 overall record … all of it went down the drain when Chatman resigned her post as LSU's head coach last Wednesday in a shocking move. Chatman stated the reason for her untimely resignation was to explore other career opportunities. Initially, many felt she was headed to Gainesville to become Florida's next head coach. But as the week rocked on, it became clear there were deeper, much more serious reasons surrounding the end of her tenure at LSU. Several media outlets, including ESPN.com, the New York Times and The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, reported Chatman resigned due to inappropriate contact with a student-athlete. The contact consisted of a relationship with a former player, not one of the Lady Tigers currently on the team. Chatman had first announced she would resign but stay onboard to coach the team through the NCAA Tournament. Publicity surrounding the situation forced Chatman to announce Thursday she would step aside immediately, handing the reins of the team over to Associate Head Coach Bob Starkey.

 

 

The events of the past few months might not live up to the scandals of the mid-1980s at LSU. But they have brought in enough negative attention to the university that one has to think Athletic Director Skip Bertman might reconsider staying on that extra year.

 

It seems strange that since LSU's triumph over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl, a night when the Tigers were on top of the sports world, things have gone south for the LSU athletic department.

 

While baseball did get a series victory over Southern Miss this past weekend, it doesn't look as if Paul Mainieri's club is going to be the savior of the athletic department this spring. LSU fans need to get all they can get out of the spring game in two weekends and relish JaMarcus Russell as the impending top draft pick in the NFL Draft.

 

After that, hold on to the fall until Miles and Co. hit the field for what should be an outstanding football season.

 

As for these "crazy days," let's hope LSU can survive Pokey-Gate, hire a new coach, and coast into a very incognito summer.

 

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Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag. Reach him at matt@tigerrag.com.

 


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