By Alexis Newman
A new documentary by Louisiana Tech videographer Carter Carroll seeks to both remind fans and introduce newcomers to Lady Techsters’ basketball Coach Leon Barmore’s legacy.
The documentary, titled “Coach: The Leon Barmore Story,” will have a public premiere at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 at Howard Auditorium, which is one day before a statue of Leon Barmore placed in front of the Thomas Assembly Center will be unveiled. Admission to the public viewing of the documentary will be free, but it will also be released on the Louisiana Tech YouTube channel Oct. 23 for anyone who is unable to attend.
The film will include highlights from archived footage of games coached by Barmore and multiple interviews that together tell the story of how Coach Barmore made women’s basketball history by leading the Lady Techsters to victory at a record pace, earning a .869 winning percentage.
Despite planning to make the documentary since last fall, the filming of the interviews didn’t start until July of this year. Carroll said the two biggest challenges were getting everything finished by the deadline and also having to reduce the number of interviews that he had originally hoped for. Thankfully, the star, Coach Barmore, delivered his story in an open and authentic way that will give the audience a crucial perspective into how history was made.
“Getting to interview Coach Barmore in what people call the house that (Leon) built, being the Thomas Assembly Center, really was incredible,” Carroll said. “I’m really just looking forward to people being able to hear from him and also to hear from Coach Kim Mulkey who also was here for almost all of Leon’s years.”
A major motivator for Carroll in the creation the documentary was his personal connection to it. Ruston is his hometown, and his family has connections to both Louisiana Tech and Barmore. It is this personal factor that Carroll feels allows him to tell the story in the best way possible.
“I think has just made me want to tell it correctly and tell it in a really genuine way because I think that it’s very important to me to tell authentic stories about Louisiana Tech and its people,” Carroll said. “Telling his story was always something that was really important to me whenever people would ask me what stories around Ruston I would want to tell.”
The Lady Techsters and Barmore’s success was a big deal at the time and had a significant impact on the community and the game of women’s basketball. His hard work and record-breaking number of wins is an important part of the history of Louisiana Tech, and Carroll felt that it was important to commemorate that.
“When you look at the Lady Techsters, especially during the ’80s and ’90s, it was such a big force of love and appreciation and support from the Ruston community,” Carroll said. “They gave us one of the best basketball teams in the country for (more than) 20 years, and that’s something that we should celebrate as a community and something that we should still celebrate today.”
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