BREAKING: Holtz, LA Tech to part ways

RUSTON — Louisiana Tech VP and Director of Athletics Eric Wood announced today that Bulldog head football coach Skip Holtz will coach his final game on the Bulldog sideline this Saturday at Rice.

“Skip and I talked and agreed it was time for a change for both parties,” said Wood. “Louisiana Tech owes Skip a debt of gratitude for his loyalty and dedication to our football student-athletes, our University, and our community over the past decade.

“He has been able to accomplish some things that weren’t previously done here on a consistent basis prior to his arrival. We continue to be committed to winning conference championships, and that expectation is stronger than ever.”

Holtz was introduced as the 33rd head coach in Bulldog football history in December 2012. He led the program to two Conference USA championship game appearances (2014, 2016) and seven bowl appearances with six wins. He owns a record of 64-49 entering this Saturday’s season finale against Rice.

“This is the right time for me to evaluate a new start in my career,” said Holtz. “I’ve had the privilege of mentoring young people and building football programs for more than 30 years, including the last nine as head coach of Louisiana Tech. The past two seasons have brought additional challenges to our program, and I simply think it is time for someone else to have the chance to lead this special group of young men.

“I am not done coaching football and have great passion and energy to continue to lead young men through this game that I love so much. It is just time for me to channel my energies elsewhere.

“I appreciate the support of the University, my players and the Ruston community and am extremely proud of what we have done here. I hate that our streak of seven straight bowl appearances was broken this year. But the program is not broken, and I have no doubt that there are great things ahead for the Bulldogs. I am locking arms with our team to go out and compete with everything we have one last time against Rice.”

In his nine years at LA Tech, Holtz has amassed 64 victories – third most in program history – and recorded his 150th career victory earlier this year in a 45-42 win over Southeastern Louisiana. He has had 13 players selected in the NFL Draft, the most in C-USA.  He was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year in 2016.

Wood will name an interim head coach as the national search for Tech’s next head coach begins immediately.


Ruston hoping to break through quarterfinals


WHAT: No. 5 Ruston at No. 4 Destrehan

WHEN: Friday, November 26. 7 p.m.

WHERE: Destrehan, La.

HOW: KXKZ 107.5 FM

DESTREHAN, La. — For the Ruston Bearcats, this will be the fourth consecutive season finishing in the top eight in the LHSAA playoffs. They have yet, however, to break through to the semifinals during that span.

Ruston head coach Jerrod Baugh hopes to change that tonight.

In fact, it was Destrehan that ended the season for the Ruston Bearcats last year by a final score of 6-0 to end the Bearcats’ playoff run, so the opponent will feel familiar, even if the faces are a little different.

”The kids involved in last year’s game can look at this game as an opportunity for a redo,” Baugh said. ”I think, for them, there is some motivation on that end of it here in the quarterfinals to look to get into the semifinals. It would be kind of bittersweet if we were to get out there and play well early and win that ball game against the team that ended our season in the previous year. I think there’s a little bit extra push behind it for the kids.”

Ruston is coming off of a 56-16 win over the Benton Tigers in Ruston. The Bearcats were in total control for the entire night in the massive blowout victory. Destrehan is undefeated this season and won its last playoff game 29-20 over Woodlawn of Baton Rouge.

Tonight’s game will be the first road playoff game for Ruston this postseason.

Should Ruston win, they will be watching very closely the Zachary-West Monroe matchup.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The pregame show will begin at 6 p.m. and can be heard live on KXKZ 107.5 FM.

PHOTO CREDIT: Reggie McLeroy

Downtown Ruston shops plan for Shop Local Saturday

By Alexis Newman

For many, the week of Thanksgiving also includes participating in Black Friday, but there’s a third event that some may not be aware of: Shop Local Saturday.

Shop Local Saturday is celebrated the day after Black Friday. This year, it lands on Nov. 27, and participating stores in downtown Ruston will offer exclusive promotions and sales to encourage people to support local businesses. With up to 30 shops located in the downtown area, customers will have a wide variety of options to visit and many opportunities for deals.

For example, Goldie Boutique will have a 20% storewide sale. The Fashion of Ruston will give each customer a $25 gift certificate with every purchase over $100. The certificates will be redeemable after Dec. 1.

Shopping local is important to support the local economy, but one bonus of shopping local this year is that their inventory hasn’t been as heavily impacted by supply chain issues, so the local businesses have plenty of stock to offer.

“I know that a lot of big box stores are having trouble getting inventory, and so we have a ton of inventory and a really good selection, so I think that we will have- I’m hoping that we’ll have- a really great turn out,” said store owner Katie Bonnette.

Downtown Ruston is full of small businesses, and as the Christmas season approaches, Shop Local Saturday will provide another opportunity to secure gifts for under the tree while also getting great deals.


Friday Night Lights: Lincoln Prep’s Latoriya Loyd

Meet Lincoln Prep’s Latoriya Loyd

Parents:  Karren Williams and LaTario Loyd

Siblings: Diamond Loyd, Geneva Fields, Jamarian Cato, Jakiyn Williams, Jordan Williams, and Jerinity Loyd

School: Lincoln Preparatory School

Grade: 12th Grade

Spirit Squad: LPS Cheerleading team

Honors (Academic, Spirit Squad, Athletic): LPS cheerleading team & softball

Favorite Subject in School: Math

How long have you been cheering and what is it about it that you enjoy? I have been cheering for a year and I enjoy being able to show the younger girls that big girls can do ANYTHING.

Top 3 favorite movies? Princess and the Frog, Eve’s Bayou and Invisible Man

What is something you cannot live without? My big sister

What kind of impact do you want to leave on this world? If you put your mind to it, you can do it!

Who is your hero? My parents

What do you love about your school? I love that my school has a great academic program and they are not only preparing us for college but are preparing us for the future.

What is your favorite high school moment? When I found out I made the cheer team and being on homecoming court

What are your plans after high school? After high school I plan to go to South Arkansas and major in Early Childhood Development.


4 Paws plans Christmas event

4 Paws is hosting a community event for parish residents and their furry friends from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4 at the 4 Paws Dog Park, located at 290 Rodeo Rd. In Ruston. 

Even for those who don’t have a furry friend, Sue Martin, director of 4 Paws, said to come and join the fun.

“This is for kids and adults too,” Martin said. “Everyone likes a picture with Santa. And this is just the first of many community events we’ll be hosting.”

The event will include a visit from Jolly St. Nick himself, who will be available for pictures for a charge of $5, which will go to help 4 Paws. Also, hot cocoa, doggie treat bags and a Christmas dog outfit contest are scheduled. 

The $5 park fee entrance will be waived for the event. 

The 4 Paws Dog Park is a 1.5-acre area of fenced land with water, toys and agility challenges for dogs. There is a ½ acre dedicated for smaller dogs, while the other fenced acre is for large dogs. 

For more information, contact 4 Paws at 318-251-3647. 


Dogs close out season at Rice

Louisiana Tech closes out a roller coaster ride of a season Saturday when the Bulldogs travel to Houston to face Rice.

Kickoff is slated for 12 p.m. at Rice Stadium. Fans can hear the game on the LA Tech Sports Network on 107.5 FM with Malcolm Butler (PxP) and Teddy Allen (Analyst) providing a call of the action. Pregame show begins at 10:30 a.m.

Fans can also see it online through ESPN+.

Tech (3-8, 2-5) is coming off a 35-19 loss to Southern Miss while Rice (3-8, 2-5) is coming off a 38-28 loss to UTEP. Neither team has postseason opportunities as the 2021 season comes to a close.

“We’re going to play Rice this week,” said Tech head coach Skip Holtz. “Their season, if you look at it, is probably really similar to ours. They had losses early to teams like Arkansas, Texas and Houston. They’ve lost two overtime games in the league. They had last-play losses.”

Tech’s first three losses came on the very last play of the game in setbacks to Mississippi State, SMU and North Carolina State while a fourth (Old Dominion) came in similar fashion. The Bulldogs were that close to having a completely different looking year.

However, the Bulldogs will see their seven-year bowl streak come to an end. However, Holtz and Co. would like to erase the bad taste of last week’s loss to Southern Miss and end on a positive note.

“It ought to be a great challenge for us,” said Holtz. “I know our team is excited to play this last football game. We have one more opportunity to get it right. It’s been a season of many frustrations from a win-loss standpoint, but for me, I’ve really been proud of the team, the way they’ve stayed together, the way they’ve competed and the way they go out and work every single day.

“We’re going to try to put our best foot forward and do everything we can to win this last game of the season and send these seniors out the right way and start to build for 2022.”


Tigers, Jaguars set for Classic

It’s a cat fight this weekend at the Super Dome in New Orleans.

Tigers. Jaguars. Two ferocious beasts.

Grambling State and Southern are set for the 48th edition of the Bayou Classic as kickoff is slated for 4 p.m. Saturday in the annual Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) showdown.

GSU will be without head coach Broderick Fobbs, who was relieved of his coaching duties more than a week ago. Terrence Graves will serve as the interim head coach for the Tigers.

Grambling State (3-7 overall, 2-5 SWAC) dropped its home finale on Nov. 13 as the Tigers fell to Bethune-Cookman, 31-14. GSU enters the game on a three-game losing streak and will be looking to reverse the fortune of three consecutive losses to its rival. 

Southern (4-6, 3-4) comes into the contest off a 21-17 home loss on Nov. 13 to Jackson State. The Jaguars played a brutal schedule over their last four games, dropping three of those games. Southern’s lone win, a 38-35 victory, came on Oct. 30 against Alcorn State. 

Saturday’s game will be televised and streamed live on the NBC Sports Network as Chris Lewis and Anthony Herron will have the call. In addition, Grambling State will broadcast and stream the game on the Grambling State Sports Radio Network. The game can be heard in Ruston (KRUS – Hitz 96.3) and in Monroe (KNNW – 103.1 FM). The Tigers’ broadcast crew of Santoria Black, Ossie Clark, Nick Harrison and T. Lay Collins will call all of the action. 

“Southern is an outstanding football team and is extremely well coached,” Grambling State interim head coach Terrence Graves said. “Anytime you play a rivalry game, you can throw the records out the window. Despite neither team playing for an opportunity at a SWAC Championship, both teams will be highly motivated.  

“Our players have been locked in and we’ve had some good practices over the past few weeks. Our goal is to go out there and play Grambling State football. We need to be able to start fast, which is something we haven’t been able to do much this season. We look forward to the challenge and the atmosphere on Saturday.” 

Southern leads the all-time series 39-33.


LPJ solicits feedback from readers


As we head towards the finish line of 2021 and the inaugural year of the Lincoln Parish Journal, the staff at the LPJ would like to solicit some feedback from its readers on what we can do to make our product that serves our parish even better.

It can be story ideas. It can be advertising ideas. It can be delivery ideas.

We want to hear from you, our customers. The LPJ is only as good as its readership which by the way has grown exponentially over the past three months.

Don’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings (seriously, we have tough skin). We want to hear from you on how we can better serve you.

Just send an email to lpjnewsla@gmail.com with your feedback.

And thanks for helping make the LPJ such a huge success in year No. 1.

Weekend events

Each Monday and Friday, the Lincoln Parish Journal will post a list of upcoming events happening in the parish. If you would like to add your event to this list, please email us at lpjnewsla@gmail.com

Friday, Nov. 26
Black Friday
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Big Creek Trade Days (327 Par Rd 22, Dubach)

Saturday, Nov. 27
Final Shop Local Prize Drawing
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Big Creek Trade Days (327 Par Rd 22, Dubach)
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Christmas Market at Briarhill Farms (11692 Clay Ansley Hwy)
6-8 p.m.: Downtown Ruston Carriage Rides (400 W. Georgia Ave.)
6:30-8 p.m.: Kick-off to Christmas in Ruston 


Ponderings by Doug

As we get ready for Thanksgiving, I wanted to share this story about Quaker theologian Parker Palmer who was a passenger on a plane that pulled away from the gate, taxied to a remote corner of the field and stopped. You know the feeling: The plane stops and you look out the window and see that you’re not on the runway and the engines wind down and your heart sinks. The pilot came on the intercom and said, “I have some bad news and some really bad news. The bad news is there’s a storm front in the West, Denver is socked in and shut down. We’ve looked at the alternatives and there are none. So we’ll be staying here for a few hours. That’s the bad news. The really bad news is that we have no food and it’s lunch time.” Everybody groaned. Some passengers started to complain, some became angry. But then, Palmer said, one of the flight attendants did something amazing.

She stood up and took the intercom and said, “We’re really sorry, folks. We didn’t plan it this way and we really can’t do much about it. And I know for some of you this is a big deal. Some of you are really hungry and were looking forward to a nice lunch. Some of you may have a medical condition and really need lunch. Some of you may not care one way or the other and some of you need to skip lunch. So I’ll tell you what we’re going to do. I have a couple of breadbaskets up here and we’re going to pass them around and I’m asking everybody to put something in the basket. Some of you brought a little snack along — something to tide you over — just in case something like this happened, some peanut butter crackers, candy bars. And some of you have a few LifeSavers or chewing gum or Rolaids. And if you don’t have anything edible, you have a picture of your children or spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend or a bookmark or a business card. Everybody put something in and then we’ll reverse the process. We’ll pass the baskets around again and everybody can take out what you need.

“Well,” Palmer said, “what happened next was amazing. The griping stopped. People started to root around in pockets and handbags, some got up and opened their suitcases stored in the overhead luggage racks and got out boxes of candy, a salami, a bottle of wine. People were laughing and talking. She had transformed a group of people who were focused on need and deprivation into a community of sharing and celebration. She had transformed scarcity into a kind of abundance.”

After the flight, which eventually did take off, Parker Palmer stopped on his way off the plane and said to her, “Do you know there’s a story in the Bible about what you did back there? It’s about Jesus feeding a lot of people with very little food.”

“Yes,” she said. “I know that story. That’s why I did what I did.”


LA Tech announces softball schedule

RUSTON, La. – Twenty-two home games highlight Louisiana Tech’s 56-game slate for the upcoming 2022 season released by the Lady Techster Softball program today.

Head coach Josh Taylor and Co. will host a two-day home tournament the second weekend of the season while hosting three-game Conference USA series against UAB, Southern Miss, UTSA and FIU.

“Our fans were only able to see 16 games at this beautiful new facility last year, so we wanted to make sure we got those numbers up for this year,” said Taylor. “When you have the best facility in the league, you want to showcase it as much as you possibly can. Our student-athletes deserve that and our fans deserve that.

“I would like to get to the point where we can play close to 50 percent of our games each year at home. So we are still a little short of that, but we are trending in the right direction. I am excited about the upcoming season, and I know our players are too.”

In addition to its own home tournament (Feb. 19-20), the Lady Techsters will play in road weekend tournaments at ULM (Feb. 11-13), Youngsville (Feb. 25-27), and LSU (March 4-6).

The Lady Techsters will face Morehead State, SIU-Edwardsville, Stephen F. Austin, Southern and Mississippi Valley State at the ULM Tournament. Two weekends later, Tech will face Alabama, Lipscomb, Eastern Illinois, Portland and St. Thomas at the Southeastern Louisiana-hosted tournament in Youngsville.

The first weekend in March sees Louisiana Tech travel south to play in the LSU Crossover. Tech opens Friday in Lafayette with a doubleheader against UL-Lafayette and then will head to Baton Rouge for doubleheaders Saturday against Troy and Sunday against LSU.

Tech will host home-and-home mid-week series against ULM, Northwestern State and Stephen F. Austin and will also host Nicholls State (3 games) and Southeastern. Tech will travel for mid-week games to Ole Miss and McNeese State.

In addition to the 12 home C-USA games, Tech will travel for three-game league series against North Texas, UTEP, Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee.

Season tickets for the 2022 season will go on sale in early December and more information will be released soon.

SCHEDULE: https://latechsports.com/sports/softball/schedule


Notice of death — Nov. 25, 2021

Jimmie Parker O’Neal 
May 4, 1927 – November 22, 2021 
Visitation: Alabama Presbyterian Church, Friday, November 26, 2021, 10:00 am – 11:00 am 
Service: Alabama Presbyterian Church, Friday, November 26, 2021, 11:00 am 
Cemetery: Sibley Cemetery Choudrant, Friday, November 26, 2021 

Florence Odelle Walton Strickland 
October 27, 1928 – November 22, 2021 
Visitation: Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – 209 S. Bonner, Ruston, Friday, November 26, 2021, 9:00 am – 10:00 am 
Service:  Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – 209 S. Bonner, Ruston, Friday, November 26, 2021, 10:00 am 
Cemetery: Forest Lawn Cemetery, Hwy 80, Ruston Friday, November 26, 2021 

Johnie Lois Echols
May 24, 1934 – November 22, 2021
Visitation: Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, from 2-3 p.m., at Kilpatrick Funeral Home in Ruston
Memorial Service: Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, 3 p.m., at Kilpatrick Funeral Home in Ruston


RHS classes allow students chance to sound off on airwaves


By T. Scott Boatright

Once a high school baseball and basketball coach, Nick Brown long ago traded his whistle for a microphone as a radio sports show host and talent for KNBB-FM 97.7.

But fortunately for Ruston High School students, Brown has taken those talents into the classroom, giving his pupils the opportunity to follow in his footsteps into the airwaves … and beyond,

Brown, who has also taught physical as well as environmental science, teaches multiple Radio I and Radio II Classes at RHS, and added a Media 1 class involving work with the L.J. “Hoss” Garrett” jumbotron video scoreboard.

The Radio I class begins with the skill any radio talent needs — public speaking.

“We work a lot on their speaking — we want them to enunciate well and to pronounce things correctly,” Brown said. “But the students also learn about radio and the FCC and legal IDs. We go live with about nine students each hour — each class, which is a lot but we have a lot of students. It’s one of the more popular electives. We do news, weather sports, today in history and today in the 80s. 

“Our (music)  format is an 80’s format. The first air date was Oct. 22, 2014. We chose the 80s format because that was not competing with any other station in town. Gary McKinney, who was then the general manager at Red Peach Radio, was very helpful in getting all of this started. The kids learned about Adobe Audition and how to edit audio and get good sound levels.”

Every hour of class RHS students broadcast news, sports and the today in history and today in the 80s segments.

“We kind of go cross-cultural so that this class can work with other classes, especially with ‘today in history’ and ‘today in the 80s,’ We also do a quote of the day, some kind of random fact about what national day it is.”

One student runs the operating board during a show broadcast while another is behind that student learning the process.

“We have 20-23 kids per class, so we want to keep everyone involved,” Brown said.

Students in the class also listen to the shows to both learn and help critique.

“Constructive criticism is important in these classes,” Brown said. “The kids have thick skin. The’ll tell each other if they mumble or incorrectly pronounce something. It’s really good teamwork — and it is a team.” 

The students will also research each song being played during a broadcast hour, giving listeners information and facts about the song like who wrote it, where and when it placed in the charts and other random facts.”

“The song ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ by Guns and Roses — I didn’t know it was meant as a warning for runaways. These kids do a lot of research and teach me things.”

Brown said there have been times he’s worried about his personal critiques of students and especially their on-air speaking, but that one incident still stands out and makes him realize the impact the class is making.

“I had a kid that I had been kind of hard on because of his speaking come by my class one day when I was alone and asked if he could talk with me for a minute,” Brown said. “I didn’t know what to expect. I thought this student was going to tell me that he didn’t enjoy my class or that he thought I was mean to him, And this kid says, ‘I want to thank you because what you taught me in radio helped me become the person running the drive-thru at Chick-fil-A because they said I speak so clear, and I didn’t do that before taking your radio class.’ It just floored me because sometimes you wonder if you’re making a difference.

“What I tell the students is that they don’t have to speak to their peers the way they do on the radio, but they have to be heard. They have to speak correctly and we work a lot on that. Kids today mumble so much because they’re into technology that has their face in a screen. We do our research on the screen, but we do our talking on the air and we have to speak clearly.”

The Radio II class has a fantasy football-like draft where students choose a team with the teams rotating and taking turns controlling that hours worth of radio programming.

“A team of three is responsible for all of that information as Radio I, but it’s a smaller group and they go a little further in depth with the software. They write a public service announcement, which we’re required to air. That’s kind of included in Radio I as well, but the Radio II class edits it, mixes it down, adds sound effects and all of that.”

Brown said the RHS station — KBNF-LP 101.3 FM, is a low-power station with about an eight-mile broadcast radius,

“We have everything a commercial radio station has, we’re just low power,” Brown said. “We’re streamed on the Lincoln Parish School Board website. We’re streamed on the Ruston High School web page, so you can listen to us anywhere in the world, but we’re low power on the FB broadcast. And accidents happen. Sometimes we have dead air. It’s all part of the learning experience.”

The Media class largely surrounds work with the football video scoreboard.

“(RHS athletics director and football coach) Jerrod Baugh asked if they could get a scoreboard, could we get kids to run it?,” Brown said. “I was supposed to be trained for a week but because of miscommunication I trained for about 28 minutes. It’s been a learning experience for all, but the bottom line is that the kids run that.”

The work includes videoing game action for live broadcasting on the big screen as well as showing a video replay following each play.

“Some sporting events have teams of 15 people brought in to do that kind of thing. We have a class of seven kids running a video board on a Friday night and they do it as good as anybody. It’s all done on a precise time schedule. It’s timed down. It doesn’t just happen, it’s scripted down to the commercials. Sometimes the kids like to act like they’re not going to be there to make me nervous, but they come through and do a great job.”

Brown said the Media I class also involves learning about the advanced Premiere Pro video editing program as well as utilizing social media platforms.

“We appreciate community feedback and the fact that the community has become part of all of this,” Brown said. “Our goal is for them to enjoy the product while our students get a great learning experience.”