Louisiana Tech University VP and Director of Athletics Eric Wood announced today plans for the construction of a champions plaza as Phase 1 of a three-phase project to redesign the north endzone entrance at Joe Aillet Stadium.
The plaza will be named the Sarah and A.L. Williams Champions Plaza, pending approval of the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.
Named in honor of former Louisiana Tech student-athlete and football coach A.L. Williams and his wife Sarah, the plaza will include recognition of the most highly-decorated student-athletes and teams in the University’s history.
“A.L. Williams’ name is synonymous with high levels of success at our University both during his time as a student-athlete and as a football coach,” said Louisiana Tech President Les Guice. “A.L. and his late wife Sarah are both loyal Tech supporters, and I am so happy their name will be on such a wonderful new addition to our athletics village. This is a tribute our current and future student-athletes will see for years to come.”
He was a two-sport star for Louisiana Tech in the 1950s, lettering for both football and track and field, running in relays and competing in the long and triple jumps. On the football field, Williams was a star for the Bulldogs. He led Louisiana Tech in scoring his final three years while also leading the Gulf States Conference in scoring as a senior. Williams was enshrined into the Louisiana Tech Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007.
Williams also served as the Bulldogs head football coach in the early 1980s, leading Tech to the 1984 FCS national title game.
Former Louisiana Tech football standout Chris Richardson, who is the nephew of A.L. and Sarah Williams, provided the philanthropic gift that will fund the plaza.
“Our commitment to this project is two-fold,” Richardson said. “Sarah and A.L.’s careers were both enveloped in teaching young people the importance and value of great character and leadership. They both had such a positive impact on so many young people’s lives. We also want the Sarah and A.L Williams Champions Plaza to provide a daily reminder to current and future student-athletes that Louisiana Tech provides an opportunity for quality and excellence in education and athletics. We couldn’t think of a better way to honor Sarah and A.L for their distinguished careers.”
The plaza will include an area honoring some of the top teams in Louisiana Tech Athletics history as well as additional opportunities to recognize other team and individual accomplishments.
“We are so appreciative to Chris for his continued investment in our University and its athletic programs,” Wood said. “The Sarah and A.L. Williams Champions Plaza has a special significance to Chris, and he has made a strong pledge to helping us continue to improve our athletics village. It’s a great start to what is going to be a strong investment.”
The University will unveil additional details for Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the project within the next few weeks. Wood hopes that plans for the entirety of the athletics master plan can be unveiled before the end of the calendar year.
“This is just one part of our master plan for our athletics village,” said Wood. “Louisiana Tech has invested in its student-athletes through the construction of a number of top caliber facilities since we joined Conference USA in 2013. But we know that in order to continue to elevate our programs and provide our coaches even more recruiting tools, there are a number of facility additions that are necessary.”
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