Two Lady Techsters earn All-Louisiana hoops honors

Louisiana Tech sophomore and Ruston native Anna Larr Roberson has been named a second-team selection to the All-Louisiana Women’s College Basketball Team. (Courtesy photo)

LA Tech Athletics Communications

Louisiana Tech junior Keiunna Walker and sophomore Anna Larr Roberson both earned all-state honors announced Thursday by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association and voted on by members and state SIDs.

Walker was voted to the first team while Roberson, a product of Ruston’s Cedar Creek High Sshool, was voted to the second team as a total of 15 student-athletes earned first, second or third team accolades.

LSU senior guard Khayla Pointer was named the State Player of the Year and UL-Lafayette head coach Garry Brodhead earned the State Coach of the Year. Tulane’s JerKaila Jordan was voted the state Freshman of the Year while Loyola-New Orleans Sandra Cannady was voted the Newcomer of the Year.

Walker averaged 16.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 38 percent from the field and 71 percent from the free throw line. She recorded 21 double digit scoring games, including seven 20-plus point performances as she was named second team all-Conference USA. She scored a season-high 26 points in an overtime win over Marshall and 25 points in a road victory at UAB. All five of her 20-plus efforts in C-USA play came on the road. The Lonoke, Arkansas, native ranked among the league leaders in free throws made and free throws attempted.

Roberson earned her award after averaging 11.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 48 percent from the field and 87 percent from the free throw line. The Ruston native recorded 14 double digit scoring games and led the team with five double doubles. She scored a career-high 22 points and added 14 rebounds in Tech’s 50-49 win over Marshall in the Conference USA Tournament. She had 19 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Sun Belt regular season champion UL-Lafayette. In C-USA action, Roberson hit 33 of 34 free throws.

Walker, Porter and Jordan were joined on the 5-person first team by UL-Lafayette forward Ty’reona Doucet and Nicholls State guard Chelsea Cain. The second team consisted of LSU-Eunice guard Alona Washington, Loyola-New Orleans guard Taylor Thomas, LSU-Alexandria guard Kelsey Thaxton, Tulane forward Krystal Freeman and Roberson.

The third team is comprised of Tulane guard Arsula Clark (11.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg); Bossier Parish forward Faith Robinson (14.0 ppg, 11.2 rpg), LSU forward Faustine Aifuwa (11.0 ppg, 8.9 rpg), UL-Lafayette guard Brandi Williams (11.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg) and Loyola forward Sandra Cannady (10.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg).

Kierra Brimzy (ULM), Ciera Daniels (LSU-Alexandria), Addy Tremie (Centenary), Nia Bishop (Xavier), Skyler Goodwin (UL-Lafayette), Alex Harrison (Louisiana College), Anna McKendree (Nicholls State) and Morgan Carrier (Southeastern LA) were named all-state honorable mention.

Tech hurdler Young advances NCAA Regional quarterfinals

Ahmad Young photo courtesy of C-USA

LA Tech Athletics Communications

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Louisiana Tech’s Ahmad Young shattered his previous personal best in the men’s 110-meter hurdles on Wednesday with a time of 13.76 seconds to advance to today’s quarterfinals at the NCAA East Regional Championships.

Young, a fourth-place finisher at Conference USA Outdoor Championships earlier this month, shaved off more than 25 hundredths of a second from his previous best to record a 13th-place finish out of 44 competitors. His time at Hodges Stadium on Wednesday helped him become one of 24 student-athletes to advance to yoday’s quarterfinals.

Young will compete at 5:45 p.m. in today’s quarterfinals.

Fellow Bulldog Henry Terral made his first NCAA appearance in the men’s javelin throw, posting a mark of 61.74 meters (202′-07″). Terral’s mark placed 39th at the NCAA East Regional Championships after placing fourth at the C-USA Outdoor Championships with a mark of 66.33 meters (217′-07″) earlier in May.

“Despite an arm injury, Henry threw over 200 feet in the javelin,” said Tech head coach Gary Stanley. “Ahmad had a monster PR in the 110-meter hurdles, and it’s one of our fastest times we’ve had here in quite a few years.

“I’m very proud of both these young men.”

Following Young’s performance on today, Leah Scott will close out LA Tech’s trio of NCAA competitors on Saturday when she competes in the women’s triple jump beginning at 2:15 p.m. Scott finished fifth in the triple jump at the C-USA Outdoor Championships with a leap of 12.65 meters (41′-06″).

LA Tech Athletics Department announces spring quarter graduates

Louisiana Tech University graduation photo by EMERALD MCINTYRE/University Communications

LA Tech Athletics Communications

It was a big weekend for Louisiana Tech University as the colleges celebrated a large graduating class from the spring quarter with four commencement ceremonies.

Among those celebrating were 39 LA Tech student-athletes who received their degrees as they walked across the stage inside the Thomas Assembly Center

Louisiana Tech’s spring quarter graduates were

Baseball (7)
Kyle Crigger (sociology), Jonathan Fincher (biology), Cade Gibson (sociology), Kyle Griffen (master of business administration), Steele Netterville (biology), Shemar Page (biology) and Alex Ray (biology

Women’s Basketball (2)
Raizel Guinto (kinesiology and health sciences) and Brianna Harris (psychology)

Soccer (5)
Klesha Darroux (communication), Elizabeth Doll (nutrition and dietetics), Gabrielle Parent (kinesiology and health sciences), Amber Posthauer (exercise and health promotion) and Valeria Rios (sociology

Volleyball (7)
Emily Boyal (biomedical engineering), Morgan Currie (architectural studies), Abigail Hildenbrand (biology), Natalie Honore (pre-professional speech-language pathology), Mia Prostran (psychology), Marie-Helene Verlinden (kinesiology and health promotion) and Alyssa Zucco (biology

Football (4)
Jacob Adams (geographic information science), Willie Baker (sociology), Abraham Delfin (construction engineering technology) and Noah White (health and physical education grades K-12

Softball (3)
Kara Goff (psychology), Madie Green (sociology) and Bre Hernandez (sociology

Bowling (1)
Ashley Channell (pre-professional speech-language pathology

Men’s Basketball (1)
Kalob Ledoux (sociology)

Women’s Track and Field (5)
Sydney Anderson (computer science), Dominque Anderson (chemical engineering), Taylor Shaw (kinesiology and health sciences), Aliyah Ballott (construction engineering) and Rhea Thompson (kinesiology and health sciences)

Men’s Track and Field (1)
Riley Finnegan (sociology)

Women’s Cross Country (1)
Elise Bordlee (communication

Men’s Cross Country (2)
Austin Ballow (mechanical engineering) and John Barham (mechanical engineering)

In addition to the 39 graduates, LA Tech saw 200 student-athletes meet the academic requirements for the Dean’s List honors and 53 of those made the President’s List with a perfect 4.0 GPA during the spring quarter.

The spring term cumulative grade point average for the 16 LA Tech athletic programs was a 3.05.

Earlier this month, Louisiana Tech had 54 student-athletes receive the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal during the 2020-21 academic year. The 54 Bulldogs and Lady Techsters was the second highest total to earn this award. It was also the second-highest percentage of all LA Tech student-athletes at 15.6 percent

A total of 199 Louisiana Tech student-athletes earned Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll recognition during the 2020-21 academic year. A record-high 57.3 percent of all LA Tech student-athletes received this honor, the largest percentage since joining C-USA in 2013. The 199 total student-athletes earning this distinction was the second most, trailing only the 206 from the 2018-2019 academic year.

Grambling military science professor talks importance of Memorial Day

Courtesy photo of Col. Mason Moore

Press release

Lt. Col. Mason Moore, professor of military science at Grambling State University (GSU), said observing Memorial Day is important because “we couldn’t enjoy the freedoms that we have without the sacrifices of the men and women who have served this great nation.”

People across the country will be observing the day on Monday. Grambling State University will be closed Monday in observance of the holiday.

“For me, Memorial Day is a time for remembrance of all of those who have made the final sacrifice for our country and its way of life,” he said. “Personally, it is a time where I reflect back on my five combat deployments and remember those who I have known.”

Moore said he always tells the story of one of his really good friends who lost his life to a “blue on green” incident. It’s where a foreign partner/ally either accidentally or intentionally kills an American service member. His friend, Raymond Estelle, was an Air Force officer on his first deployment in the first week of that deployment.

To learn more, visit

“So, my reflection is usually a combination of wonder, guilt, anger, and thanks – all at the same time,” he said. “Memorial Day is a gut check for me…it motivates me to be the best that I can possibly be knowing that others have sacrificed so that I can be here today.”

Moore likes to make a clear distinction between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

“Memorial Day honors those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while Veterans Day honors those who have or continue to serve,” he said. On Memorial Day, you may visit a cemetery or sit back on the lake with friends and tell stories of the fallen or have your own personal reflections.

“Either way one observes this day, our citizens should realize that someone has paid the ultimate sacrifice for them to enjoy all of the freedoms and liberties that they currently enjoy and are entitled to,” Moore said.

Families, friends, and military service members are affected by those who have lost their lives, he said.

“I just had a Gold Star Family (one who has lost a family member in wartime service) that attended our commissioning ceremony at LA Tech last week,” Moore said. “The mother and father were aunt and uncle to one of my cadets. Their son had perished in Al-Ramadi, Iraq in 2007 while serving in the Marine Corps. So, although less than 10% of the American population even serve in the military), their family and friends are affected by their loss.”

He added that Memorial Day is also a day where Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can affect those who have served in the military.

“With reflection can come grief, guilt, depression, etc.,” he said. “Any loss of life to PTSD is tragic and unnecessary. I hope that our brothers and sisters in arms will reach out for help if they need it or that their friends and families will be there for them to assist in getting them the care that they need.”

For more information about PTSD, visit

Louisiana Tech graduates second-largest class in history

Louisiana Tech University Les Guice (far right) leads the march into the Thomas Assembly Center of the College of Applied and Natural Sciences and College of Education graduation ceremony held last Sunday.

Press release

Last weekend, Louisiana Tech University conveyed degrees on 1,040 graduates, the second-largest class in University history, in four ceremonies.

Each commencement featured a different speaker –- all recognized and distinguished graduates of Louisiana Tech University. All the speakers focused on the impact that a Louisiana Tech education made on their lives.

In his address for the College of Engineering and Science ceremony, Bill Bailey Jr., Electrical Engineering,’87, focused on the three Ps of success – preparation, perspiration, and providence.

“Throughout my career, I have worked with people from every renowned university, and I was always prepared,” Bailey said. “I know you know how to do the grind -– you learned that here -– and do it well. But remember that planning is just a point of departure.

“Give providence a chance. So many things happen you didn’t plan on. You have to change your plans, but providence favors hard work and preparation.”

Boston Scott, Tech’s 2020 Young Alumni of the Year and 2017 graduate in Kinesiology and Health Promotion, advised graduates to be grateful to those who were instrumental in their getting to the finish line with a college degree.

Scott said the Tech Family -– the university’s unique culture –- served as a driver for him and other Bulldogs in their efforts while in college.

“This culture has inspired us to achieve,” Scott said. “That medal you will soon get represents those tenets that are and always should be a part of our lives. Be loyal to those people who deserve and have earned your loyalty.”

Scott went on to advise the graduates to use the Tenets of Tech as their “why” in life.

Alumnae of the Year Cathi Cox-Boniol, ’82, ’83, and ’92 graduate in the College of Education, delivered the second speech for the College of Liberal Arts ceremony. In it, she called Louisiana Tech University “the most transformative force in my life” outside of faith and family.

“Never forget the investment that has been made into your lives through your years at Louisiana Tech University,” Cox-Boniol said. “You have been equipped and you have been empowered to achieve the highest levels of success. You are a Bulldog through and through.”

Dr. Bob Cunningham,’73, ’85, and ’96 graduate, delivered the commencement address for the College of Business. He focused on the changes -– and similarities –- between the Tech of his undergraduate days and the Louisiana Tech of today.

“Race and racism were stories when I went to Tech, and the struggle for equality continues today,” Cunningham said. “But you saw a very different campus than I did. All students come here with hopes and dreams to achieve a better life. As a young man growing up in a segregated environment, I was defined by my race. When I came to Tech, I began to learn this label limited me -– it was only one aspect of my life.

“I refused to be limited by the narrative that I was a victim. I began to see myself as a victor.”

At Tech, Cunningham found support, caring, and passion at a time when racial unrest was happening in the United States, and he said he continues to see this support for students today.

“The challenge we have is to leave this world better than we found it and embrace the inherent worth of all human beings,” Cunningham said. “I challenge you to take control of the narrative you are writing about your life. In this politically charged environment, there are many voices telling you what to think. Politically, socially, and even spiritually, what you come to think is entirely up to you.

“Remember that opportunity is alive and well in America –- not just for black people, but for all people.”

Commencement ceremonies for the College of Applied and Natural Sciences and the College of Education also benefited from the experience of two Tech graduates as their speakers.

Jeremy M. Tinnerello, Nursing, ’98, reminded graduates that they should both listen to and depend on others to deal with trials.

“Creative ideas come from everywhere,” Tinnerello said. “Your team around you can help you achieve your goals, and the Tenets can help you find creative solutions to your goals.”

A College of Education graduate in ’68 and ’72, Jean Hall delivered the second commencement address of the Sunday ceremonies. He built on Tinnerello’s message of collaboration for graduates.

“The goal through my career is to be a positive influence on students; they’ve certainly had a positive impact on me,” Hall said. “I hope that sometime in your career someone will say, ‘You have changed my life.’”

Find Your Own Fish!

With more anglers on the water today than in the previous 20 years, one thing has become very apparent. A lot of anglers cannot find their own fish!

Now let’s address the main problem…overcrowded lakes. It is insane, the number of boats on our area lakes and waterways compared to 20 years ago. The recent pandemic is also a major contributor to this issue as well. Boat’s sales soared in 2020 with many people not working and schools being shut down.

A big majority of Americans all across the country took to the lakes and outdoors which is a great thing! Nothing bad can come of getting folks, old and young alike, out in the great outdoors. I mean what’s the worst thing that can happen?

Well let me give you an idea and a few examples. First, overcrowded boat ramps! It amazes me at how seven days a week, you have to wait in line just to launch your boat. Just two short years ago, you could go to any boat ramp Monday thru Thursday and NEVER have to wait to launch or worry how far you’ll have to park your truck and trailer after you launch your boat.

Many of today’s lakes, especially Sam Rayburn or sometimes at Toledo Bend, it might be necessary to request an Uber just to get back to the ramp after parking your truck and trailer. Several times this past year I’ve seen people parked almost a mile from the ramp they launched at. It’s insane!

Now that we’re on the water and ready to go fishing, now let’s crank our motor and head to our favorite spot. Oh wow… guess what, after you run five miles up the lake dodging jet skiers and pleasure boaters who have not had a boater safety course, you arrive at your favorite spot, and someone is already there.

It’s the same person who saw you yesterday catching fish there. Shocker … but that’s exactly how it is today. There are more people scouting and spying on other anglers like detectives trying to solve a murder mystery. I mean I’ve seen guys using binoculars and watching other anglers at a distance only to wait until they move and then swoop in and mark that location with their electronics so they can return on another day.

Tournament anglers are especially targeted and it’s even worse if you have an advertising wrap on your boat. But one thing I’ve done several times just to throw off would be scouts and detectives, is to fake hook sets and I’ve gone as far as to pretend I just caught a fish by leaning over the side of the boat and acting like I’m releasing a fish. It’s quite amusing to watch who moves into the area I just left. I think anyone who has a pair of binoculars in their boat is pathetic.

Next, are what I call “GPS robbers.” These guys are the worst and most unethical anglers on the water. If they see a well-known angler, guide or pro, they will ride up and down the lake looking for these good anglers and will shut down and idle towards the area they are in and hit their GPS button on their electronic units to mark the spot so they can come back later after the angler leaves. While I have never shot anyone before, this is the one thing that I might consider as a consequence for anglers who practice this technique.

Bass fishing is hard enough today with so many anglers competing for a limited number of fishing spots. It just makes an angler mad when you have people on the lake spying on other fishermen and looking to raid their best spots, especially the guides who work very hard to build a reputation for catching fish. This is how they make a living, and it affects their pocketbook when other anglers pull up on their best spots and catch fish.

If you are one of those who needs help finding fish, hire a guide and let him show you how to read your electronics so you can find your own fish. It’ll be the best money you ever spent and well worth your time.

‘Til next time, find your own fish and don’t forget to set the hook!

Steve Grafs
Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show
And Tackle Talk Live

Notice of Death – May 27, 2021

Mary Helen Albritton
September 5, 1938 – May 20, 2021
Viewing: Friday, May 28, 2021, at King’s Funeral Home; 3-5 p.m.
Service: Saturday, May 29, 2021, at King’s Funeral Home; 1 p.m.

Charles E. Crowe
March 26, 1965 – May 20, 2021
Viewing: Friday, May 28, 2021 at King’s Funeral Home; 2-5 p.m.
Service: Saturday, May 29, 2021 at King’s Funeral Home; 3 p.m.

Velina Jane McCullough
August 22, 1953 – May 20, 2021
Visitation: Sunday, May 30, 2021 at Kilpatrick Funeral Home in Ruston; noon – 2 p.m.
Service: Monday, May 31, 2021 at Kilatrpick Funeral Homer in Ruston; 11 a.m.

Charles Nyegaard
August 2, 1938 – May 25, 2021
Visitation: Saturday, May 29, 2021 at Salem Baptist Church in Farmerville; 2 p.m.
Service: Saturday, May 29, 2021 at Salem Baptist Church in Farmerville; noon – 2 p.m.

Shirley Rose Traylor
March 26, 1945 – May 27, 2021

RPD seeks help after theft of seven TVs from Walmart

Walmart camera football courtesy of the RPD

By T. Scott Boatright

The Ruston Police Department is investigating a theft from Walmart Supercenter that occurred on May 19.

The pictured individuals took 7 TVs and when were confronted, they attempted to pepper spray a Walmart employee.

The RPD is requesting that anyone with information regarding this crime please contact their Criminal Investigative Division at 318-255-4141 or CrimeStoppers of Lincoln Parish.

CrimeStopper information can be given in several ways; either by calling 318-255-1111, text a tip to “TIP515 plus your message” to CRIMES (274637), or submit a tip online at

Thomas Graham Chamber Ambassador of Year

Thomas Graham (center) accepts his Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year Award from Ronnie Veitch (left) and Chamber President Judy Copeland. (Photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT/LPJ)

By T. Scott Boatright

Thomas Graham has been named the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year.

He picked up his award Tuesday night at the 101 Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet held at the Lincoln Parish Library Events Center.

Graham, who works for the Lincoln Agency, does community work including the Lincoln Leadership Program (2020 graduate), Lincoln Crimestoppers committee member, Ruston Rotary member and Louisiana Tech Athletic Club Ambassador as well as is work as a Chamber Board member and ambassador.

Sarah Warren Origin Bank Young Business Leader Award winner

Sarah Warren (left) accepts her Origin Bank Young Business Leader Award from Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce President Judy Copeland. (Photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT/LPJ

By T. Scott Boatright

Sarah Warren, vice president and director of marketing for Argent Financial, is the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce’s Origin Bank Young Business Leader Award winner.

She picked up her award during Tuesday’s Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce 101st annual Awards Banquet held at the Lincoln Parish Library Events Center.

Warren, who prior to joining Origin in 2013 co-owned Emogen Marketing Group with her husband, Brian, was recognized in 1017 as a Northeast Louisiana Top 20 Under 40 Young Professional.

She has been a part of the Real Change in Ruston initiative for the past year and is in her second term as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner.

Jessica Hughes named Betty Robbins Volunteer of the Year

Jessica Hughes (left) picks up her 2020 Betty Robbins Volunteer of the Year Award from the Junior Auxiliary of Ruston. (Photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT/LPJ)

By T. Scott Boatright

Jessica Hughes, owner of Southern Grace Events and a Volunteer/UNITED Manager at United Way, is the winner of the Junior Auxiliary of Ruston’s 2020 Betty Robbins Award.

She picked up her award during Tuesday’s Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce 101st annual Awards Banquet held at the Lincoln Parish Library Events Center.

Hughes, a Louisiana Tech University graduate and life member of the Junior Auxiliary of Ruston, has played a vital role in JA of Ruston’s “Caring hearts, Helping Hands, and Changing Lives” campaign.

Wells’ walk-off HR ends longest game in C-USA history in Tech’s favor

The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs wait for Hunter Wells to cross home plate and celebrate his game-winning solo home run in the bottom of the 12th inning that lifted Tech to a 7-6 win over Texas-San Antonio Wednesday night at The Love Shack.

Staff report

As the clock was approaching midnight, Hunter Wells ruined Cinderella’s night.

Wells solo home run in the bottom of the 12th inning lifted the No. 2 seeded Bulldogs (37-16) to a 7-6 victory over the No. 9 seeded and upset-minded Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners (22-25) in the first day of the 2021 Air Force Reserve Conference USA Championships at JC Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.

Not only did the blast over the right field wall – Wells second of the night and 11th of the season – end the Roadrunners upset bid, but it ended the longest game in the history of the Conference USA Tournament.

It took 4 hour and 59 minutes for the two teams to decide their fate as the game ended at 11:29 p.m.

“They threw me a 3-1 fastball earlier in the game (in the third inning) that I hit out,” said Wells. “I told myself if I saw a fastball I was going to take my cut. I got it and I got a pretty good piece of the ball.”

The home run sent the Bulldogs into today’s winners bracket against the winner of Southern Miss and WKU – a game that didn’t start until 12:15 a.m.

USM won that game 11-0.

Tech received a solid start in the circle from Ryan Jennings, who tossed 5.0 innings allowing three runs on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Jennings left the game in the top of the sixth with the bases loaded and no outs and a 5-1 advantage.

Kyle Crigger recorded three straight ground ball outs to second base as UTSA closed the gap to 5-3.

After Tech upped its advantage to 6-3 on a sacrifice fly to right field by Steele Netterville, the Bulldogs turned to their bullpen. UTSA scored a single run in the eighth and then mounted a rally in the ninth.

Trailing 6-4, the Roadrunners scored a run on a sacrifice fly. With two outs and the tying run on second, Tyler Follis surrendered a game-tying double sending the contest into extra innings.

Cade Gibson entered the game in the 11th inning, the eighth Tech pitcher of the night. With runners on second and third, Gibson induced a fly ball to left field. Cole McConnell recorded the catch and then fired a laser home to Jorge Corona who tagged the potential go-ahead run out.

“We made some great defensive plays in this game,” said Tech coach Lane Burroughs. “Some game-saving plays.”

Gibson picked up the win, allowing one hit and one walk through his 2.0 innings of action.

Wells was 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBI, including his 10th and 11th home runs of the season.

In other games from Day 1, No. 4 ODU defeated No. 5 Florida Atlantic 11-2. No. 8 Middle Tennessee upset No. 1 Charlotte 7-2.

Tech will now turn its focus toward USM, who the Bulldogs will face in a game set for a 7:30 p.m. start today at The Love Shack.

Eight Bulldogs earn Athlon Sports Preseason All-Conference USA honors

Photo of Louisiana Tech’s Tyler Grubbs by TOM MORRIS

LA Tech Athletics Communications

Louisiana Tech had eight players earn Preseason All-Conference USA honors by Athlon Sports, it was announced by the publication on Wednesday.

Freshman linebacker Tyler Grubbs and sophomore punt returner Smoke Harris earned first team honors, while senior linebacker Trey Baldwin and sophomore defensive back BeeJay Williamson earned second team accolades. Graduate transfer running back Marcus Williams Jr. and redshirt freshman kicker Jacob Barnes were named third team, and junior offensive lineman Joshua Mote and senior defensive lineman Willie Baker were named fourth team.

Grubbs was a FWAA, ESPN and Freshman All-American. He was named first team all-Conference USA by both the league and Phil Steele while also earning a spot on the Conference USA All-Freshman team. The New Orleans native registered a team-best 99 tackles and finished second on the team in both solo tackles (45) and tackles for loss (9.5). Grubbs opened the season with back-to-back double digit tackle performances with a career-high 16 tackles against Southern Miss (Sept. 19) and a 12-tackle outing against Houston Baptist (Sept. 26). He ended the 2020 campaign with a career-high 12 solo tackles against Georgia Southern at the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (Dec. 23). Grubbs finished the season ranked second in C-USA and 25th in the FBS in tackles per game at 9.9, and he was sixth in C-USA in tackles for loss with 9.5.

Harris was named second team all-C-USA and Phil Steele All-Conference USA First Team as a punt returner in 2020. During the campaign, he averaged 21.50 yards per punt return after returning six punts for 129 total yards. The native of St. Francisville, had a career-long 60-yard punt return at the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (Dec. 23). Harris totaled 463 all-purpose yards which was the third most on the team.

Baldwin was named second team all-C-USA and earned a spot on the Phil Steele All-Conference USA third team. The Orange, Texas, native finished the season second on the team with 85 total tackles, including a team-best 53 solo tackles. Baldwin posted a career-high 18 tackles, including 14 solo, at UTSA on Oct. 24. His 18 tackles tied for the 11th most nationally in the season, while his 14 solo tackles ranked second in the nation. He ranked first in C-USA and 11th in the FBS in solo tackles with 5.9 per game and was third in the conference in tackles per game at 9.4. Baldwin registered 7.0 tackles for loss, including 1.0 sacks, five pass breakups, one interception and one quarterback hurry during the 2020 campaign.

Williamson was named first team all-Conference USA by both the league and Phil Steele. The native of Dallas was third on the team with 56 total tackles, including 32 solo, while also registering 2.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, three interceptions, three pass breakups, one quarterback hurry and one forced fumble. Williamson recorded two interceptions against UAB and forced a fumble at the goal line to give LA Tech the game-winning possession. He registered multiple tackles in every game of the 2020 campaign.

Williams transferred to Louisiana Tech from App State where he appeared in 42 games and made six starts. The Rocky Mount, N.C., rushed for more than 500 yards in each of his four seasons played (2017-20). He finished his Appalachian State career with 2,216 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 5.5 yards per carry, and had six career-games with 100-plus rushing yards. Williams appeared in eight games with two starts as senior in 2020, registering 503 rushing yards on 68 attempts for three touchdowns.

Barnes was a Lou Groza National Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Semifinalist, named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team, was an All-Conference USA Honorable Mention and earned a spot on the Phil Steele All-Conference USA Fourth Team. The native of Baton Rouge was a perfect 33-for-33 in PATs, including a career-best 9-for-9 against HBU (Nov. 26). He opened the season with eight straight made field goals, including a career-long 51-yarder against HBU. Barnes finished the season 12-for-14 in field goals, including the game-winning 35-yarder in double overtime against UAB (Oct. 31).

Mote was an all-Conference USA honorable mention in 2020 and earned a spot on the Phil Steele All-Conference USA Fourth Team. He was part of an offensive front that ranked first in C-USA and second in the FBS in fourth down conversions at 88.9 percent (16-of-18). The native of Oak Grove helped the offense rank fourth in C-USA and 53rd in the FBS in red zone offense at 84.6 percent (33-of-39). Mote assisted the offense in averaging 315.8 yards of total offense, including a 216.6 passing yard average and a 99.2 rushing yard average.

Baker was named an all-Conference USA honorable mention and all-Louisiana honorable mention in 2019 and was a member of ESPN’s all-Bowl team in 2018. In 2019, the New Roads, La., native appeared and started in 11 games where he led the team in tackles for loss with 10.0 and was ninth on the team with 51 total tackles. Baker recorded six or more tackles in five contests during the 2019 campaign, and was second on the team with five quarterback hurries.

Four LA Tech 2021 football games to be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network

LA Tech football team picture by DARRELL JAMES

LA Tech Athletics Communications

Four Louisiana Tech football games will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network in the 2021 season it was announced on Wednesday.

Louisiana Tech’s games against SMU, Old Dominion, UAB and Southern Miss will be broadcast on CBSSN. Tech takes on SMU at 2:30 p.m. (CT), on Sept. 18, in Joe Aillet Stadium in Ruston.

LA Tech will then have back-to-back road games broadcast on CBSSN in its contests at Old Dominion on Saturday, Oct. 30, at 2:30 p.m., and at 11 a.m. Nov. 6, at 11 a.m.

The Bulldogs’ last game on CBSSN in the 2021 season will come in Tech’s home finale against Southern Miss on Friday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 20.

Louisiana Tech returns 19 starters from the 2020 season, including six offensive, 10 defensive and three special teams starters.

Tech has appeared in seven straight bowl games under the direction of head coach Skip Holtz. The Bulldogs had a combined 21 student-athletes represented on Conference USA’s 2020 Football All-Conference Teams and graduate transfer quarterback Luke Anthony was selected as the C-USA Newcomer of the Year. Freshman linebacker Tyler Grubbs was named a Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), ESPN and, while junior defensive lineman Milton Williams was named a third team All-American by Pro Football Focus. Williams was recently selected as the 73rd overall pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Tech bowler Allie Leiendecker named to ITC All-Tournament Team

Picture of LA Tech sophomore bowler Allie Leiendecker courtesy of LA Tech Athletics.

LA Tech Athletics Communications

Louisiana Tech sophomore bowler Allie Leiendecker was named to the Intercollegiate Team Championships (ITC) All-Tournament Team as voted on by the participating teams and announced on Tuesday.

Tech first competed in the qualifying round of the ITC on Thursday, May 6. The qualifier consisted of 12 Baker games for total pinfall to determine seeding. After ranking 10th with 727 pins following the first four games, the Lady Techsters knocked down 1,675 pins to earn the No. 2 seed with 2,402 total pins.

The remainder of the tournament consisted of a best-of-seven, double elimination Baker series.

Following the qualifier on Thursday, Louisiana Tech took on Lawrence Tech in a back-and-forth match in the opening round. LA Tech won the first game, 153-140, but Lawrence Tech took game two, 204-195. Lawrence Tech then won game three, 203-169, but LA Tech won game four, 233-161. Lawrence Tech took the 216-168 victory in game five. The Lady Techsters would secure the 4-3 victory following the 177-171 and 205-188 victories in games six and seven, respectively.

LA Tech and Wichita State also went to all seven games on Friday, May 7, with Wichita State winning, 4-3.

Louisiana Tech then faced Maryville in an elimination match. Tech dropped the first three games to trail, 3-0 (211-216, 178-221, 194-209). The Lady Techsters won the next two games, 218-197 and 157-153, to trim the lead to 3-2. The teams then tied game six, 196-196, to split the point as Maryville led, 3.5-2.5. Tech then tied it up at 3.5-3.5 after winning game seven, 202-189. Tech secured the 4.5-3.5 victory with a 216-165 game eight win.

The Lady Techsters then swept Baker, 4-0 (224-177, 185-153, 181-177, 185-158), to face Wisconsin-Whitewater in round five.

Louisiana Tech won the first game, 224-173, against Wisconsin-Whitewater. Wisconsin-Whitewater then won the next two games, 203-136 and 203-179, to lead, 2-1. Tech tied it up at 2-2 with a 255-177 game four victory. Whitewater would win the match, 4-2, after winning games five, 224-210, and six, 203-180.

Tech professor Joseph Williams earns OER grant to increase student opportunities

(Courtesy photo of Louisiana Tech University’s Joseph Williams)

Press release

Joseph Williams, associate professor of Technical Communication and Rhetoric in Louisiana Tech’s College of Liberal Arts, has been awarded the Interactive Open Educational Resources (OER) for Dual Enrollment Program Grant from the Department of Education and the Louisiana Library Network at the Louisiana Board of Regents (LOUIS) consortium to pursue the creation and development of OERs.

OERs are courses that both “have the potential to reduce costs and improve outcomes for 250,000 total student enrollments statewide per academic year” and align with the strategic initiatives that the University of Louisiana System (ULS) has pursued under the leadership of ULS President Jim Henderson, said LOUIS Associate Commissioner Teri Gallaway.

The LOUIS consortium is in partnership with academic libraries — including Tech’s Prescott Memorial Library — state and private libraries, museums, and archives, and is widely recognized as a model for cost-effective collaboration in higher education. The network works to ensure equitable access to resources, services, and technologies by maximizing purchasing power and sharing expertise.

“Besides relieving the pressure of students purchasing pricy textbooks, OERs assist in open education, curriculum design, curation and evaluation, and authoring,” Williams said. “I plan to apply what I’ve learned from my OER coursework and facilitate open-access materials statewide, specifically related to Business Communication (English 305).”

The results with these interdisciplinary cohort collaborations will ultimately provide unparalleled educational opportunities for those involved with English 305. Williams has been teaching the course for a year and, with the help of his OER cohort — he’ll be assigned a partner and fellow grant winner within the UL System — he plans to “make the class better, stronger, and ‘cooler.’”

“I’d like to develop more community-based action projects,” Williams said. “For example, Tech’s administration asked me to develop an assignment that assisted with marketing strategies for each of Tech’s graduate programs during Winter 2021. It was mutually beneficial, as my students were doing a solid for Tech, and Tech was immediately utilizing my students’ data.
Another class analyzed COVID-19 posters targeted for diverse populations in Louisiana, thereby honing my students’ research skills as well as assisting the Louisiana Department of Health.

“Secondly, I’m interested in providing my business students with more real-world situations in which they have to think on their feet and make quick decisions — something that the College of Business appreciates,” he said.

Williams is the only Tech faculty recipient of this grant, with offers a three-year stipend of $8,000, payable in installments of $2,000 the first and third years, and $4,000 the second year.

Notice of Death – May 26, 2021

Mary Helen Albritton
September 5, 1938 – May 20, 2021
Viewing: Friday, May 28, 2021, at King’s Funeral Home; 3-5 p.m.
Service: Saturday, May 29, 2021, at King’s Funeral Home; 1 p.m.

Charles E. Crowe
March 26, 1965 – May 20, 2021
Viewing: Friday, May 28, 2021 at King’s Funeral Home; 2-5 p.m.
Service: Saturday, May 29, 2021 at King’s Funeral Home; 3 p.m.

Velina Jane McCullough
August 22, 1953 – May 20, 2021
Visitation: Sunday, May 30, 2021 at Kilpatrick Funeral Home in Ruston; noon – 2 p.m.
Service: Monday, May 31, 2021 at Kilatrpick Funeral Homer in Ruston; 11 a.m.

Charles Nyegaard
August 2, 1938 – May 25, 2021
Visitation: Saturday, May 29, 2021 at Salem Baptist Church in Farmerville; 2 p.m.
Service: Saturday, May 29, 2021 at Salem Baptist Church in Farmerville; noon – 2 p.m.

James “Jim” Ronald Posey, Sr.
October 23, 1934 – May 18, 2021
Visitation: Thursday, May 27, 2021, at Kilpatrick Funeral Home in Farmerville; 10-11 a.m.
Service: Thursday, May 27, 2021, at Kilpatrick Funeral Home in Farmerville; 11 a.m.

Cathi Cox-Boniol credits parents while accepting Robert E. Russ Award

Cathi Cox-Boniol (left) is pictured receiving the Robert E. Russ Award from Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce President Judy Copeland during Tuesday’s Night Chamber Awards Banquet. (Photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT/LPJ)

By T. Scott Boatright

It was a big night for the Ruston Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Tuesday night as it held its 101st annual Chamber Awards Banquet at the Lincoln Parish Events Center.

But it was Cathi Cox-Boniol, who was awarded the 2020 Robert E. Russ Award, the highest honor given by the Chamber for community advancement, who let the crowd in attendance know that it was also a historic night.

“Someone slipped me a little piece of information today,” Cox said during her award acceptance speech. “My father (Bill Cox) and I are getting to share a little history, because for the first time in history, a parent and child have now won the Louisiana Tech Alumni Association Alumnus of the Year and the Russ Award. And I get to do that with my daddy, and that makes me prouder than anything ever before.”

The crowd then rose to a standing ovation.

Bill Cox was the 2001 winner of the Chamber’s Robert E. Russ Award.

During the speech Cox-Boniol explained the special relationship she and her father have.

“I am Bill Cox. I own it. I know that,” Cox-Boniol said. “”One day way back when I was at Woodard Hall on the Tech campus headed down to the dean’s office and way back behind me somebody said, “You have got to be Bill Cox’s daughter. I didn’t know who that person was, but I said, ‘You better believe I am.’ That’s something I’ve always been proud of …

“He’s influenced me in play. He’s influenced me in service. And he’s influenced me in loving people. He has infused in me his joy, his optimism, his faith and his hope for the future. I’m not standing here today without Bill Cox, because you better believe, I am his daughter.:

Cox-Boniol was then quick to remember her mother, Minette Cox, too.

“But I’m not standing here without Ms. Minette (either),” Cox-Boniol said. “It had to be really scary for my mom to realize I was following along in my dad’s footsteps. But my mom, who put the “steel” in “Steel Magnolia” — my mom saw ME. She saw that I was going to take a non-traditional path. That I was going to be something different. And she let me be me. I can’t imagine a scarier thing for a mom. I’ve never had anybody cheer louder for me, support me, and my father, and believe in me, even when she didn’t understand me. I’m not standing here today without my mom. My parents are everything to me. They are who I am today. And I tell you, the world would be a different place if everybody had a Mr. Bill and a Ms. Minette in their corner.”

Cox-Boniol also thanked her husband Tom for helping her earn this award.

“He gets a great amount of credit — he chose this madness,” Cox-Boniol said. “I was born into it, but Tom chose it. For someone who said he had never found a community, he felt like he found Oz when he came (to Ruston). He has embraced this, and loved it, and he jumped right in there and gave me two extra legs and two extra hands, and Lord knows I need those. I’m so grateful to him for his willingness to do that.”

Cox-Boniol, a lifelong Ruston resident, spent 39 years serving the Lincoln Parish Schools system and is a longtime community advocate serving in Temple Baptist Church, The Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, The Louisiana Tech University Alumni Association, the North Central Louisiana Arts Council, Keep Lincoln Parish Beautiful, United Way of Northeast Louisiana, Children’s Coalition of Northeast Louisiana, The Wellspring, Teach One to Lead One as well as other service initiatives.

Past Robert E. Russ Award Recipients:
• 1984 – Pam Love
• 1985 – John G. “Jack” Ritchie
• 1986 – Floyd B. James
• 1987 – William V. “Bill” Best
• 1988 – Clarence E. Faulk, Jr.
• 1989 – William A. Marbury, Jr.
• 1990 – Hale R. Shadow
• 1991 – Dr. Virgil Orr
• 1992 – James Davison
• 1993 – John E. Maxwell
• 1994 – W.A.J. Lewis II
• 1995 – Eddie Robinson
• 1996 – Robbie Willard
• 1997 – Lucius and Mildred McGehee
• 1998 – Walter Savage
• 1999 – Dr. Daniel Reneau
• 2000 – Travis Defreese
• 2001 – Bill Cox
• 2002 – Ruth Johnson
• 2003 – O. L. Waltman and L. D. “Buddy” Napper
• 2004 – Linda Graham
• 2005 – John Shealy
• 2006 – Bobby Price and John O’Neal
• 2007 – John F. Emory, Sr.
• 2008 – Tommy Folk
• 2009 – Dr. Les Guice
• 2010 – Benny Denny
• 2011 – Lynne Gnemi
• 2012 – Wayne Parker
• 2013 – Mayor Dan Hollingsworth
• 2014 – Drake Mills
• 2015 – Wilbert Ellis
• 2016 – Trott Hunt
• 2017 – JN Walpole
• 2018 – Kyle McDonald
• 2019 – Mary Ann Woods

Lewis receives Chamber’s Bill Best Humanitarian Award

Pictured is Richard Lewis (left) receiving the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Bill Best Humanitarian of the Year Award from Allen Tuten. (Photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT/LPJ)

By T. Scott Boatright

Richard Lewis, who managed the family-owned Lewis Department Store for years in Ruston and continues to work in land management, was presented with the Bill Best Humanitarian Award Tuesday night during the 101st annual Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet.

An active member of the Ruston Jaycees for five years and treasurer for one year, Lewis also served on the Ruston Community Theater Board for two years as treasurer as well as serving 11 years as treasurer for the North Central Louisiana Arts Council.

Lewis has also been an DART volunteer in Ruston and in 2020 helped in area hurricane relief efforts based out of Trinity Methodist Church.

He is also currently serving a 10-year term on the Board of the United Methodist Foundation.

For more than 10 years Lewis has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home (LMCH), currently serving as treasurer after eight years as board president.

“Richard Lewis has a long history of humanitarian work on behalf of children and families throughout the ministries of Louisiana Methodist Children and Family Services,’ said LMCH CEO Rick Wheat. “I share my conviction that LMCH is better for Mr. Lewis’ active participation as an engaged member of our board.”

Burn ban violation leads to multiple charges for Ruston man

Dantavious R. Holland mug shot courtesy of the LPSO/LPDC

by T. Scott Boatright

Violating a burn ban within city limits has led to a Ruston man being jailed facing multiple charges.

A Ruston Police Department patrol unit driving near a semi-wooded area around 604 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Monday afternoon observed smoke in the area and stopped to investigate.

After making contact with Dantavious R. Holland of Newman Street in Ruston, an RPD officer reported Holland told him he had ignited the fire to repel mosquitoes.

Further investigation revealed Holland did not own the property on which the fire had been set and that the actual owner of the property requested Holland be prosecuted for trespassing.

Holland’s arrest affidavit says he was brought to the patrol unit where he voluntarily surrendered a small, clear plastic bag containing suspected marijuana/synthetic cannabinoids from a pocket of his shorts.

The officer noted that Holland was also wearing a backpack and a search of that revealed a semi-automatic handgun inside of it.

Holland’s arrest affidavit says that a criminal history check done on him showed him to be a convicted felon in the state of Louisiana and that he is currently on parole.

Charges Holland is facing include open burning; criminal trespassing; simple possession of marijuana/synthetic cannabinoids; illegal carrying of a firearm; possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; and FTA for entering or remaining after being forbidden.

Bond for Holland was set at $43,000.

Bearcats turn to Zack Smith to head baseball program

Former Ruston High School assistant coach Zack Smith (at left wearing white jacket) has been named the new head coach of the Bearcats baseball team. (Courtesy photo)

By T. Scott Boatright

Ruston High School looked to a familiar and proven face as it named a new head coach for the Bearcats baseball team Tuesday morning.

RHS athletics director/head football coach Jerrod Baugh has tabbed Zack Smith as the new head of hardball for the Bearcats.

“He’s been an assistant here for five years,” Baugh said. “He’s the former head coach at Forest High School, where he won four state championships and was runner-up another year. We feel fortunate to have him.”

Smith said he was more than thrilled to get the chance.

“I just really appreciate the opportunity,” Smith said. “(Lincoln Parish Schools Superintendent Ricky) Durrett, Coach Baugh have presented me with a great opportunity and I intend to show that it was a good choice. I also appreciate five years ago when (former head RHS baseball coach) Toby White let me come be a part of this staff.

“It’s exciting. It’s the highest level of high school baseball in Louisiana. I like the challenge. I like the competitiveness of it. I’m looking forward to it.”

Smith takes over a Bearcats team that reached the second round and were seeded fifth in the 2021 Class 5A playoffs while posting a record of 25-10. Ruston fell to Central of Baton Rouge in the final game of a best-of-three playoff series in the second round of the playoffs.

“We have some pitching coming back — obviously JR Tollett (the 2021 Co-District 2-5A Pitcher of the Year as a sophomore) and then we’ve got some other good young pieces with him like Cade Patterson, Dyson Fields, Dawson Willis. We’ve got some pieces and we have some more young talent coming, so I really feel excited about where this program is about to go.”

Disturbance call leads to jailing of Mississippi man for firearm possession, public intimidation

Derrick Carter mug shot courtesy of the LPSO/LPDC

By T. Scott Boatright

Ruston Police Department officers responding to a disturbance ended up arresting a Mississippi man for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

The RPD were called to West Barnett Springs Ave. Tuesday morning and were reportedly notified en route that a suspect was in possession of a firearm.

Upon arrival officers made contact with Derrick M. Carter, 35, of Byram, Mississippi, handcuffed him, placed him in the rear of a patrol unit and read his Miranda rights to him. Carter’s arrest affidavit says that Carter refused to acknowledge rights.

Officers then called the original complainant by phone and were informed Carter had removed her firearm from a box inside the residence and was carrying it in his fanny pack.

Police reported finding the weapon inside the residence under a pile of clothes in the living room.

Carter’s arrest report says that officers later learned Carter has arrest warrants against him in the state of Mississippi.

The arrest report also says that as officers were preparing to leave the Lincoln Parish Detention Center after bringing Carter there, Carter advised one of them that when he got out of the LPDC, that he hoped he found the officer’s girlfriend and that he stated in explicit language he was going “to have sex with her.”

That ended up with a public intimidation count being added to Carter’s charges, which also include being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and being a fugitive from another jurisdiction.

No bond was set for Carter’s case.