Louisiana Tech announces Get Your Shot to Win Big, student vaccine incentive program

Today, Louisiana Tech University unveiled its Get Your Shot to Win Big This Fall program, which will award prizes to students who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“When our students enter the drawing, they will have the chance to win one of several prizes,” said Dr. Dickie Crawford, Associate Vice President for Student Advancement. “We also plan to provide vaccination opportunities on campus for those who have not yet received their shots.”

Among the prizes are tuition and fees for one quarter, a meal plan for one quarter, an Apple iPad Pro, an Apple Watch Series 6, a declining balance credit for campus dining, and a Bulldog Bundle credit for textbooks. As the program progresses, Crawford said he anticipates that more prizes will be added to the list.

“We know that vaccination is the surest way to avoid a serious battle with COVID-19 – especially with the new Delta variant,” said Tech President Dr. Les Guice. “Our students will be big winners when they receive the vaccine, and this program will encourage them to engage in good health and safety measures as we approach the Fall Quarter.”

Prize winners will be drawn beginning Aug. 23, and winners’ vaccination status will be verified after their names are drawn.

“The more members of our campus community who get vaccinated now, the better chance we have at a normal fall quarter,” Guice said.

ENTER HERE: https://latech.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_868gyJCBW0yngyy

Scouting the 2021 LA Tech football foes: Charlotte

With the start of football season around the corner, here is the 10th of a 12-part series of season previews on the Louisiana Tech opponents for the upcoming season. Tech will host the 49ers on Nov. 13 at Joe Aillet Stadium. Kickoff time is 2:30 p.m. CT and the game will be live on Stadium.

2020 Record: 2-4 (2-2 in C-USA)

2020 Bowl Appearance: None

Head Coach: Will Healy (3rd season)

Last Meeting: Louisiana Tech and Charlotte have never met on the gridiron as this year’s game will be the first between the two programs. The 49ers football program is only eight years old after playing its first ever season in 2013. Charlotte began competition as a C-USA member in 2015.

Charlotte Outlook: After playing just six games in 2020, Charlotte puts its hopes on quarterback Chris Reynolds, who passed for 1,305 yards and eight scores in the Covid19-shortened season. Reynolds has been a mainstay under center for the 49ers since 2018, setting school record with 22 passing scores in 2019 when he led Conference USA in passing efficiency. Defensively, Charlotte struggled last year, allowing 32 points per game and more than 420 yards of total offense. Linebacker Tyler Murray returns to lead the 49ers defense after leading the team with 49 tackles and two interceptions. Charlotte was picked in the middle of the pack in the 7-team East Division in the preseason Coaches Poll. Charlotte is just one year removed from a 7-win season that saw the 49ers earn a spot in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl (L, 31-9 to Buffalo). It was the program’s first ever bowl appearance.

What Coach Will Healy is Saying About QB Chris Reynolds: “He’s done an unbelievable job all spring. The steps he’s taken to become the face of our program have been just as impressive to me as what he’s done on the field. He’s a competitor, He’s a winner. We’re so lucky to have him back again.”

Season/Single Game Tickets: LA Tech fans can purchase season tickets for the 2021 year by calling 318-257-3631 or going to LATechSports.com/tickets. The Bulldogs host six home games this year, including a marquee non-conference match-up against SMU. Tech fans can also called the ticket office for information on road game tickets.

Up Next: Southern Miss

Podcast: Marcus Jones joins Billy West LIVE

Marcus Jones joins Billy West Live and discusses his Interim Appointment as President of Northwestern State University.

The interview includes Marcus’ educational background and experiences teaching and in administration of higher education.

Marcus answers questions about his vision for the immediate future of NSU and increasing on-campus enrollment for Students in Natchitoches.


Marcus Jones answers questions related to his commitment to higher education in general and specifically related to keeping NSU competitive in Division 1 Athletics, especially football.

Marcus also discusses the position of permanent President of NSU and whether or not he will be a candidate for that position. Marcus also discusses his views on whether a terminal degree is necessary or required to be the permanent President of NSU.


Notice of Death – July 27, 2021

Charles Wayne Hackney
August 7, 1939 – July 26, 2021
Visitation:  Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – Monroe, Thursday, July 29, 2021, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Service:  Bosco Cemetery, Thursday, July 29, 2021, 1:00 pm
Cemetery:  Bosco Cemetery, Thursday, July 29, 2021, 1:00 pm

Sue Reeves
January 20, 1935 – July 26, 2021
Visitation:  Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – West Monroe, Thursday, July 29, 2021, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Service:  Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – West Monroe, Thursday, July 29, 2021, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Three Unrestrained Teenagers Killed in Lincoln Parish Crash, Speed a Suspected Factor

CLAY – On July 26, 2021, shortly before 3:45 p.m., Louisiana State Police Troop F responded to a single-vehicle fatal crash on Works Road just west of LA Hwy 818. This crash claimed the life of three unrestrained teenagers.

The initial investigation revealed a 2012 Kia Optima, driven by 19-year-old Lajermanique Nichols of Jonesboro, was traveling east on Works Road. For reasons still under investigation, the vehicle began to rotate, traveled off the road and struck a large tree.

Nichols, who was unrestrained, was ejected and pronounced dead at the scene. Two other passengers inside the vehicle, 17-year-old Lajavion Nichols of Jonesboro and 16-year-old Javious Holden of Jonesboro, were also unrestrained and ejected from the vehicle. Both these passengers were pronounced dead at the scene. A fourth occupant, identified as 18-year-old Edward Kary, was also ejected and sustained life threatening injuries. He was transported to a local hospital.

This crash remains under investigation. Toxicology samples were obtained and will be submitted for analysis.

Buckling up is the most effective way to protect yourself during a vehicle crash. Failure to take a few seconds to buckle up can have devastating consequences. Louisiana law requires every person in a vehicle, regardless of seating position, to be properly restrained day or night.

In 2021, Troop F has investigated 30 fatal crashes resulting in 37 deaths.

Contact Information:

M/T Michael Reichardt
Louisiana State Police
Public Affairs Section
Office: (318) 345-2810

School Board accepting bids for portable buildings

Sealed bids will be received at the Lincoln Parish School Board Office, 410 South Farmerville Street, Ruston, LA 71270 until 9:00 a.m. on Friday, August 20, 2021 at which time bids will be opened and read aloud for the following surplus property:

1 Portable Building – Size 24’X 60’
1 Portable Building – Size 24’X 60’

Please find bid-related materials and place electronic bids at www.centralbidding.com. Bid forms may also be obtained from the Lincoln Parish School Board Office, during the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. To see the item for bid, please call James Payton at 318.255.1430. Bids will be addressed to the Lincoln Parish School Board Attn: James Payton 410 South Farmerville Street, Ruston, LA 71270, clearly marked “Bid Enclosed”, and filed in the Office.

Bulldogs’ Williamson makes Thorpe watch list: Tech sets soccer slate

Louisiana Tech’s BeeJay Williamson is on the 2021 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Preseason Watch List, for an award given to college football’s best defensive back.

This list includes 40 of the nation’s best defensive backs, representing 10 conferences and one independent. The preseason watch list is selected by a screening committee whose members compile a list of up to 50 players. This list is not final, and players who have outstanding seasons may be added as the season progresses. The award is presented by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame (OSHOF) and the Jim Thorpe Association.

Williamson was named to the 2021 Conference USA Preseason Watch List after earning first team all-Conference USA honors by both the league and Phil Steele in 2020.

The native of Dallas finished the 2020 season 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 was an honorable mention for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Player of the Week in 2020 after he registered two interceptions against UAB (Oct. 31) and forced a fumble at the goal line to give LA Tech the game-winning possession. The sophomore defensive back registered multiple tackles in every game of the 2020 campaign.

Williamson was one of three Conference USA players to earn a spot on the watch list as he was joined by Marshall’s Steven Gilmore and UTSA’s Rashad Wisdom.

A preseason watch list is compiled by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame based on previous performance and preseason All-America lists. A screening committee consisting of OSHOF members monitor the watch list players and narrow the field to 10 to 15 semifinalists in October. This committee reconvenes on the Monday before Thanksgiving to select three award finalists. The three finalists are submitted to a national panel of over 250 sports writers, sportscasters, former players and coaches who vote to determine the winner of the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award.

The winner will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show. Other recognized National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) awards announced include the Bednarik Award, Maxwell Award, Mackey Award, Rimington Trophy, Lou Groza Award, Ray Guy Award, Bronko Nagurski Award, Outland Trophy, Butkus Award, Lombardi Award, Biletnikoff Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Doak Walker Award and Walter Camp Award.

SOCCER: Louisiana Tech interim head coach Steve Voltz has set his squad’s 2021 schedule, which includes eight home matches at the new Robert Mack Caruthers Field.

LA Tech will play 17 total matches with nine non-conference games followed by eight Conference USA games. The season is slated to start on Aug. 20 when the Lady Techsters open their new facility against East Texas Baptist.

“We have achieved a pretty decent balance of challenging road and home contests in order to prepare us for the tough C-USA schedule,” said Voltz. “With the conference going to eight games now, we will be challenged every week, including games versus both tournament finalists from last season.”

The team will play the next three matches on the road against Murray State, Louisiana College and McNeese State before rounding out the month by hosting defending Southland Conference champion Southeastern Louisiana on Aug. 29.

LA Tech will travel to take on Northwestern State on Sept. 1 and Missouri State on Sept. 5 before closing out non-conference action at home against Sam Houston on Sept. 10 and Little Rock on Sept. 12.

C-USA is split up into two divisions like last season. The Lady Techsters will face all six opponents from the West Division and two opponents from the East Division.

The 2021 C-USA Women’s Soccer Tournament will be hosted by FIU in Miami on Nov. 1-7.

For the first time in program history, all home matches will be ticketed.

PHOTO:  by Tim Smith.

Burroughs adds ace recruiter to Diamond ‘Dogs staff

With the departure of associate head coach Mike Silva last month to become the new head coach at Nicholls, Louisiana Tech baseball coach Lane Burroughs had a key position to fill.

New assistant Cooper Fouts has a track record of recruiting quality players to less-than-stellar programs. Now he’s joining a Tech ballclub that has one of the nation’s finest home stadiums and is riding the crest of its best season this century, and then some.

The new LA Tech assistant coach will serve as the team’s recruiting coordinator and pitching/catching coordinator. Fouts has been at Purdue under two head coaches in the past three years.

Former Tech head coach Greg Goff chose to retain Fouts as an assistant when Goff was elevated to head coach at Purdue in June 2019.

Burroughs was effusive in his praise of Fouts.

“One of my most honored duties is to defend the integrity and culture of Louisiana Tech Baseball,” Burroughs said. “I’ve known Coop for over 10 years and have followed his career closely. He continually puts together phenomenal recruiting classes at places where it’s not exactly easy to recruit. He is just a recruiting machine, and I think he will be the best recruiter we’ve ever had at Louisiana Tech.

“He absolutely loves the chase, developing relationships and helping young men reach their goals on and off the field. He is extremely intelligent, very well connected in the baseball world and has a work ethic that is off the charts. Coop is a man of character and integrity. He is a wonderful husband and father and these are things that are important within our program. He is the perfect fit at the perfect time for Louisiana Tech Baseball.”

Fouts has 16 seasons of collegiate coaching experience, highlighted by five seasons over two stints at Pepperdine (2011-12, 2016-18). At Purdue, Fouts led the recruiting efforts alongside the rest of the Purdue staff. He also coached and developed Boilermaker catchers and assisted with the Purdue offense.

Before arriving at Purdue, current Pepperdine head coach Rick Hirtensteiner brought Fouts back to California in the summer of 2015. Fouts has also served as an assistant coach at Utah Valley (2013-15), College of Southern Nevada (2007-10) and Lubbock Christian University (2006). His final season at CSN featured Bryce Harper winning the Golden Spikes Award and being selected No. 1 overall in the 2010 MLB Draft. The Coyotes won 52 games and finished third at JUCO World Series that season.

Fouts helped Pepperdine win West Coast Conference titles in 2012 and 2018. He worked under current Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez during his first term with the Waves.

In his second stint at Pepperdine, Fouts’ recruits helped the program post an 11-win improvement in 2018. The Waves won the WCC with a 17-10 record after being 8-19 the year prior. Pepperdine’s 2012 team won 36 games and was a finalist at the Palo Alto Regional.

Fouts also served as a recruiting coordinator at Utah Valley, where he helped the Wolverines win 71 games over three seasons. He played a key role in helping build a roster that went on to lead Utah Valley to 37 wins and an NCAA Regional berth in 2016 as the Western Athletic Conference Tournament champion.

In Fouts’ final season at College of Southern Nevada, nine pitchers were drafted and 14 more student-athletes were signed by NCAA Division I programs. CSN won three conference titles, two Region 18 championships and Western District tournament in 2010 during his four seasons on the coaching staff.

Fouts graduated from Las Vegas’ baseball powerhouse Bishop Gorman High School in 2001. He was selected in the 26th round of the MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics, but he opted to enroll at the College of Southern Nevada. After one season, he made the move to the Division I level where he played in over 150 games as a three-year starting catcher for Texas Tech from 2003-05.

Fouts was part of a pair of NCAA Tournament wins as a junior at Texas Tech. He helped TT’s 2004 team win 40 games and earn the No. 2 seed at the Atlanta Regional. As the Red Raiders’ starting catcher in all four games of the regional, he helped TT defeat Mississippi State twice and earned a spot on the All-Regional Team. He was recognized as honorable mention All-Big 12 as a senior after again being among the top defensive backstops and top-throwing catchers in the league.


After 13 years of service as President & CEO of United Way of Northwest Louisiana, Dr. Bruce Willson Jr., announces his retirement, effective the first quarter of 2022.

Dr. Willson assumed his position as President & CEO in April 2008. With more than a decade of service to Northwest Louisiana, he has assembled a dedicated staff and helped the agency refine its mission and strategy. The net effect of his work has resulted in major outcomes for the agency and the region in the areas of health, education, financial stability, and essential needs. Under his leadership, United Way of Northwest Louisiana opened enrollment for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, introduced the ALICE Report, re-established the 211 health and human service hotline, and opened the Shreveport Financial Empowerment Center in partnership with the City of Shreveport.

“It has been an honor and a blessing to serve Northwest Louisiana over the years,” said Dr. Willson. “I am so proud to not only have continued the mission of United Way, but also to see more than a decade of new initiatives come to fruition thanks to our staff, board of directors, and community partners. I will forever preach the impact this organization has on our community and continue to encourage others to LIVE UNITED.”

Dr. Willson was born in Paris, France, while his father was stationed nearby as a pilot in the United States Air Force. In the years that have followed, he has lived in Brazil, Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. He met his wife KK when they were in the seventh grade. They have been married for 44 years and have three adult children, two grandsons, and two granddaughters. Dr. Willson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Louisiana Tech University, a Master of Theology degree in Hebrew and Old Testament Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi.

Prior to joining United Way of Northwest Louisiana, Dr. Willson worked as the Assistant Dean for Development in the College of Engineering and Science at Louisiana Tech University. He has been a Rotarian since 1993 and has served as President of the Rotary Club of Nacogdoches, Texas and the Rotary Club of Ruston, Louisiana. He is a Past District Governor of Rotary District 6190 and currently a member of the Rotary Club of Shreveport, Louisiana.

“In the time I’ve worked with Bruce, it’s easy to see how his influence has shaped not only the enthusiasm within the organization but also the community at large,” said United Way board of directors’ chair, John Adams. “Bruce lives the daily mantra of ‘if not me, then who? And if not now, then when?’ as a true leader. He developed and emboldened a strong, proficient team into a considerably challenging landscape during the recent pandemic and into its recovery period. It has been my pleasure to work and serve aside him in my role as board chair for United Way.”

A selection committee made up of members from the board of directors will manage the search for his successor. The link for applications will open on August 1 and close October 1. Dr. Willson plans to work with his successor to ensure a smooth transition.

Brown Girls Do Gymnastics Conference Culminates at GSU with Invitational & Exhibition

The Brown Girls Do Gymnastics (BGDG) Conference wrapped up Sunday at Grambling State University with its inaugural invitational and an exhibition. A team from New York walked away with the win in BGDG’s first invitational.

Held at GSU’s Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center, the Isla Invitational featured teams from Metroplex Gymnastics in Texas and Power Moves Gymnastics in New York. During the sanctioned, judged competition, gymnasts demonstrated their skills in the vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercises

Power Moves’ gymnasts impressed judges with their routines and level of skill to take home the first place banner. However, it was a tight competition with the final scores of 111.75 and 111.45.

Judges said they were pleased with the performance of both teams in their off season.

“I thought that the athletes did a really good job,” said judge Jasmine Swyningan. “The fact that they have the endurance and bravery to do this during their off season is just mind-blowing.”

Judge Courtney Johnson said the skill level was good and she expects it to be even better once the season starts.

“The girls looked like they were enjoying themselves and having fun and that’s one of the things we look for (as judges),” she said.

The high-energy exhibition featured former and current collegiate gymnasts from Seattle Pacific University, Auburn University, University of Florida, Rutgers University, and Centenary College. They are scholars, wives, or mothers and all athletes.

As music filled the arena, gymnasts owned the floor with energetic, fun routines. They made moves on the uneven bars look graceful and effortless. The women also displayed artistry on the beam, flipping and leaping as spectators cheered them on. At one point, a duo performed synchronized moves on the beam, looking like mirror images. The gymnasts also skillfully vaulted into the air to the cheers and clapping of the crowd.

Derrian Gobourne, one of the exhibitors and a senior at Auburn University, has been involved in gymnastics since she was 7. She started in cheer but quickly moved to gymnastics when she saw a facility across the street.

“It’s not who I am but it’s what I do,” she said. “I bring my own flavor to it.”

The invitational and exhibition culminated the three-day conference which is a collaboration between GSU, The Doug Williams Center and the Ruston Lincoln Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

BGDG founder Derrin Moore said the conference goal is to increase exposure and access to gymnastics among girls and women of color. It also seeks to provide mentorship to young gymnasts and offer resources to parents.

“Brown Girls Do Gymnastics (BGDG) is an advocacy organization striving for more diversity and inclusion in gymnastics,” she said. “It’s super important because representation matters.”

As far as the Isla Invitational goes, Moore said BGDG hopes to hold many more invitationals at (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) HBCUs.

GSU is interested in launching a gymnastics program at the institution with the assistance of partners and supporters. Currently, there are no gymnastics programs at HBCUs.

Tia Kiaku, a student at North Carolina Central who attended the BGDG event, said she would have liked to participate in the sport at an HBCU. She started out as a gymnast at a college in Alabama before transferring.

“I was torn because I wanted to go to an HBCU but that would have meant having to hang up my leotard,” she said. “I love gymnastics. It has really helped me with time management and helped me build relationships.”

Tech announces framework for managing student-athlete NIL

Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) is less than a month old but universities across the country are unveiling their school-specific platforms that will aid their respective student-athletes in capitalizing on the newest NCAA, state and federal laws.

Louisiana Tech announced its platform on Monday, appropriately branded THRIVE.

As part of the athletic department’s mission to aid its student-athletes in maximizing their earning potential, Louisiana Tech has partnered with one of the industries leaders signing a multi-year agreement with INFLCR.

“We are entering a new age in collegiate athletics with the evolution of NIL,” said Tech VP and Director of Athletics Eric Wood. “As an athletics department, we have been working diligently for the past eight months with our focus on providing the necessary tools and education to help our student-athletes capitalize and thrive on these new rules. We are excited about our new partnerships that will assist Louisiana Tech student-athletes, both present and future.”

LA Tech’s THRIVE program provides educational components, compliance needs and affective access to digital content that will arm its student-athletes with the knowledge and resources to enhance their brand and platform.

“We are grateful for the effort our athletic department has made to ensure our student-athletes are prepared for this new era of college sports,” said Bulldog basketball head coach Eric Konkol. “Our partnership with INFLCR will help them grow their brand, stay NIL compliant and create potential opportunities. This is an exciting time for our student-athletes to thrive at Louisiana Tech.”

Through INFLCR’s software and mobile app, student-athletes, coaches, staff and other brand drivers will gain direct access to photos, videos and graphics produced by the athletics department.

“I am thankful for the opportunities Louisiana Tech Athletics has given me and my fellow student athletes to compete and thrive on and off the field,” said Tech wide receiver Griffin Hebert. “I have already been able to utilize the new Louisiana Tech NIL program and can’t wait to continue to grow my personal brand.”

All of the shared content, as well as the active promoting of the personal social media accounts, will allow student-athletes across all sports to quickly and efficiently build and grow their personal brands and potentially monetize the use of their name, image and likeness.

Another element of the partnership is INFLCR Verified, which provides transaction monitoring for student-athletes commercial activity. The feature also contributes educational video resources that will aid Bulldogs and Lady Techsters in ongoing NIL perimeters and brand strategy content from a variety of industry experts.

“This is a historic time in the world of college athletics, and I am thankful our administration has prioritized preparing our department and our student-athletes for this moment,” said Lady Techster volleyball coach Amber McCray. “As coaches we desire to see our student-athletes thrive, and this program allows us to continue to educate and empower them to explore opportunities that will help them do just that.”

Along with INFLCR, LA Tech Athletics will collaborate with the College of Business, ranked as one of the nation’s best undergraduate programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, to further aid student-athletes in entrepreneurship and financial growth.

Madison Stringer – D.A.R.E. Essay Winner

Congratulations to Cedar Creek’s rising 7th grader Madison Stringer for being chosen as the 2021 D.A.R.E. Essay winner for the Northwest District of Louisiana. The district is comprised of D.A.R.E. students from Caddo, Bossier, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Sabine, Bienville, Lincoln, Claiborne, Webster and Red River Parishes. Dep. Byron Feduccia is a School Resource Officer and D.A.R.E. instructor for Cedar Creek.

Madison wrote about the knowledge that she gained from the D.A.R.E. program and won overall for the parish. The essay then advanced to compete with other schools in the Northwest District.