Content tagged “Sport”

LSU Golf Course 'not being used as much as it needs to meet financial obligations'

Though LSU officials say a review of the best use of the 127 acres of land currently occupied by the LSU Golf Course isn't being driven by financial concerns, a look at the course's balance sheet from the past three fiscal years shows steadily declining revenues, rising expenses and dwindling net income.
Net income for the 18-hole course has plummeted from $123,221 in fiscal year 2012 to just $18,502 in the fiscal year that ended June 30. Over that same span, net operating revenues have decreased from $1,079,211 to $1,014,188, while operating expenditures have increased from $985,351 to $1,017,973.

'225': Younger Roemer turns to sports—not politics—to make a difference

Dakota Roemer's last name often precedes him. As the son of former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer, he comes with a certain Southern notoriety. Given his father's background, too, it seems as though politics might have been a natural arena for Roemer. After all, children so often follow in a parent's footsteps. Yet, as 225 details in a feature from the current issue, the younger Roemer pursued a different course. "It was interesting, and I wouldn't trade it for the world, but I certainly wouldn't put my kids through it," he says of his political childhood. Roemer's own interests turned, in his younger years, to sports—especially soccer. Whatever political aspirations he now exhibits remain limited to his neighborhood. "The biggest thing I'll run for is my homeowners association," Roemer says, his good-natured demeanor coming through in his laugh. Roemer pursued a rather circuitous route back to his initial athletic interests. He grew up in Baton Rouge but attended...

LSU Golf Course faces uncertain future as board reviews use

As LSU gears up to revisit its master plan, its Office of Facility Services has assembled a board to review the use of the 18-hole LSU Golf Course and submit recommendations for its future. "It's 127 acres. We want to make sure we're using it in the best way possible for the entire campus," says Assistant Director of Planning, Design and Construction Tammy Millican. The possibilities are wide open for the course. It could remain as is, be reduced to a smaller course and driving range or be eliminated altogether. Though the golf course is doing okay financially, Millican says, the review board will consider its long-term financial sustainability during the review. Beside finances, Millican says, one of the elements factoring in to the review board's recommendations is the potential retirement of Mike Johnson, the course director of 25 years. In addition, the kinesiology department uses the course for some of its classes. "We want to keep the educational component. Does that require an...

BREC hires new golf director

BREC has hired a new director of golf to replace Jeffrey Marks, who resigned in June to return to Georgia to be with his family. In announcing the hire of Michael Raby this afternoon, BREC notes the "PGA Master Professional has strong ties to south Louisiana and worked in the New Orleans area for nine years; five at City Park and four at Metairie Country Club." Most recently, Raby was the general manager and head professional of the Cleveland Metroparks golf operations, where he has worked since 1998. The Cleveland Metroparks system in Ohio, with eight courses and four driving ranges, is similar in size to the BREC system, which includes seven golf courses and three driving ranges. "We are about to create a 10-year strategic plan and I believe he is the right person to create a strong, comprehensive plan that will honestly evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the golf operation and lay out a plan of action to bring it to another level," says BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight...

Entrepreneur: Pat Quigley

Pat Quigley, the former longtime owner of Ivar's, says selling his sportsbar over the summer has given him room to grow a specialty travel service called Green Jacket Sports. As Business Report details in its Entrepreneur feature from the current issue, Quigley's new company specializes in trips to the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia. The only sure way to get tickets from tournament organizers is through the annual list—which has been closed since 1976. Quigley coordinates with residents of upscale neighborhoods in Augusta who are on the list and looking to get out of town on Masters Tournament weekend. Quigley offers the house for rent and tickets as a package deal, often to businessmen looking to bring their clients on trips. "I work very hard during Masters week, going from home to home, making sure that every client is happy," Quigley says. Green...

Pat Quigley

In Baton Rouge, Pat Quigley made a name for himself as the owner of Ivar's, situated under the Perkins Road underpass. "Ivar's was my life," says Quigley, who kept the popular bar open every day of the year.

LSU supervisors to consider contract extensions for Alexander, Alleva and Caldwell

Contract extensions for some of the highest profile Tigers on the LSU payroll will be on the agenda when the LSU Board of Supervisors meets Friday. The board will consider extending for two additional years the contract of President F. King Alexander, whose current contract began on July 1, 2013, and is set to expire on June 30, 2017. Alexander is paid $600,000 annually. The board will also consider extending through mid-2019 the contracts of Athletic Director Joe Alleva and women's basketball coach Nikki Caldwell. Alleva has been with LSU since April 2008, and his current contract is set to expire June 30, 2016. Alleva makes $525,000 in base salary annually, with incentives of up to $200,000 available each year for such things as enhancing athletic department revenues and improving graduation rates. The proposed contract extension does not come with a pay raise for Alleva, according to the agenda. Caldwell is also up for a three-year extension on her contract, which is set to expire...

'225': How the LSU tailgate has changed yet stayed the same

When LSU superfan Marvin "Big Ragoo" Dugas started tailgating, everything was on a smaller scale. "I'd bring my Magnalite pot, a Coleman stove and a black-and-white TV hooked up to my car battery," he tells 225 in a feature from the current issue. Over time, Dugas' tailgating traditions, crew and accoutrements have grown. Now, he has a group, called the Krewe Ragoo, which has meetings to divvy up responsibilities and who is bringing what. The members chip in dues and make plans to stage an area with a generator, two large-screen TVs, a satellite dish, sound system and more. "Tailgating is a big deal, and it gets bigger all the time," he says. As Maggie Heyn Richardson writes in the feature, "Serial LSU fans like Dugas have seen major growth and changes in the university's tailgate culture." In the beginning, tailgating was relegated to a few dignitaries. After the Tigers' national championship in 1958, fan support ignited. The culture picked up additional steam throughout the...

Highest paid college football coaches are worth their salaries, study says

According to a new study by researchers at Vanderbilt, college football coaches who command what are widely seen as very robust salaries are worth the money because of the value they bring to their universities. As The New York Times reports, the Vanderbilt study, which included 947 contracts from 2005 to 2013, benchmarked coaching salaries against those of chief executive officers at public companies—another group that is often accused of being paid too much. "Coaches are running large programs that have tremendous value," says Randall S. Thomas, a law and business professor and one of the authors of the study. "They are creating great value, and they are being paid for creating that value." He adds that coaches compare "quite directly to public company CEOs." The increasing demands to win, coupled with billion-dollar television deals, have combined to cause the average pay for coaches at the top level of Division I football to double since 2005 to $1.5 million, the...

'225': LSU running back Terrence Magee gets his chance to shine

The off-season is almost over for LSU, with college football returning Saturday as the No. 13-ranked Tigers take on the No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers at Reliant Stadium in Houston. As 225 reports, one Tiger that LSU fans will be watching is senior running back Terrence Magee. For years, the Franklinton, Louisiana, native has been waiting for a chance to show his skill-set. With determination, hard work and a will to get on the field, he's become the team's "yes man," playing everything from special teams to wide receiver in previous seasons. This season, he's a leader for a group of young running backs. For the August issue of 225, Magee sat down with Matthew Sigur to talk about his approach to the game. "Since I've been here, whatever's out there for me to do to contribute to the team, I'm willing to do so," Magee says. "I feel like if there's something out there that fits my skill set, or if I can go out there and learn from a guy who's done it before, then why not go out...

LSU, most of nation's top-tier college football programs fight shrinking student attendance

Average student attendance at college football games is down 7.1% since 2009, according to a new analysis by The Wall Street Journal of stadium turnstile records from about 50 public colleges with top-division football teams, including LSU. The decline was 5.6% at colleges in the five richest conferences. The decrease even at schools with entrenched football traditions and national championships stands in contrast to college football's overall popularity. The growing number of empty seats in student sections across the U.S. is a sign of soaring ticket prices, more lopsided games and fewer matchups against longtime rivals—not to mention the proliferation of televised games that make it easier than ever for students to keep tailgating long after kickoff. Colleges and athletic conferences are scrambling to lure students back, but it is a daunting challenge. "There are so many other things they can do that maybe going to the game that day isn't the most important thing on...

Open Air Bicycle Repair

Some might consider Open Air Bicycle Repair to be a washer shy of a tight fit.

'225 Weekender': Amateur basketball tournament bounces into BR

If you're longing for a little basketball action in the middle of summer, 225 Weekender reports the Capital City is the place to be this weekend. T.T.G. Productions is hosting its inaugural Capital City Classic Pro-Am Basketball Tournament Saturday at 8 a.m. at the Sports Complex at BREC's Perkins Road Community Park, 7122 Perkins Road. The event runs through Sunday and features basketball players of all skill levels from around the country competing for a $5,000 grand prize. Day passes are $25, and weekend passes are $35. Team registration ends Friday and costs $575. Get the scoop on more local events taking place this weekend in the new 225 Weekender e-newsletter.

'225': Hang time with LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva

In July, LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva is appreciating a few quiet moments, right before the LSU football frenzy invades all of Baton Rouge. He'll see something football related every day once the season starts in August, but that makes the month special. "I get excited for the start of every year," Alleva says. "It's almost like a rebirth every year. That's one thing nice about college sports. There are a whole lot of freshman coming in, there's new energy, and there's always excitement around the start of a year. It's fun and gets my juices flowing." In the cover story of the latest issue of 225, sports writer Lee Feinswog spends a day with the LSU athletic director. "Alleva never could have imagined 40 years ago that he'd one day be a grandfather in Baton Rouge," Feinswog writes. Alleva came to LSU after a long career at Duke University. There, he replaced AD Tom Butters in 1998, and his experiences as a family man at Duke prepared him for the LSU job, where every move...

Fear rises over increased spending on college sports as top conferences push overhaul

The denizens of the wealthiest districts of college sports, universities like Alabama and LSU, are still institutions of higher education, The New York Times observes in a report on a key NCAA vote today. But athletics have become ever more central to their missions and their bottom lines, thanks to the juggernaut programs that generate hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Recruiters fly on private planes, athletes train on top-of-the-line equipment and teams compete in mammoth stadiums that are the envy of many professional teams. It is not uncommon for a university's athletic budget to exceed $60 million. And all of that has taken place under the NCAA's old rules. Today, the NCAA is expected to approve a measure to give more autonomy to the sports powerhouses that compete in the five biggest conferences: the Southeastern Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Pacific-12, the Big Ten and the Big 12. With more control, the conferences are expected to agree to...

Miles laments loss of juniors, expresses confidence in Tigers heading into season

LSU head football coach Les Miles acknowledges that the team's 2014 version is younger than most other teams in the SEC, but he says its members will be ready and able to compete at the highest level of college football when the season kicks off on Aug. 30. "You'd kind of like to not lead college football" in the number of juniors skipping their senior year of eligibility to play pro ball, Miles said at today's luncheon of the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge, but you live with it. "I recognize this is a youthful team, but there is some insistence that the culture we have created will continue. And that means team in front of self," he said. After expressing confidence in every aspect of his offense and defense, as well as outlining the strengths of specific players, Miles was asked whether he would consider playing two quarterbacks. "I'm thinking about it," Miles said, adding...

Regional soccer tournament boosts BR hotel revenue by 41%

Revenue for Baton Rouge–area hotels jumped by more than 41% during one week last month when the 2014 U.S. Youth Soccer Region III Championship tournament was held in the city, according to figures tracked by lodging industry firm Smith Travel Research. Visit Baton Rouge released the figures, which show that from June 19 to June 26, local hotels collected $6.7 million in revenue, compared to $4.8 million during the week in 2013. The first day of the tournament saw the largest spike in hotel occupancy, at more than 43% over the same day in 2013. The tournament was held at the Burbank Soccer Complex and drew thousands of soccer players, fans and families from 11 Southern states, according to the VBR news release. Last week, VBR announced that local hotels took in a record $3.4 million during the fifth annual Bayou Country Superfest over Memorial Day weekend and saw a modest...

Queens for a day

Professional basketball player

NCAA to investigate Les Miles' time at Oklahoma State

The much-criticized exposť by Sports Illustrated last fall on NCAA violations within the Oklahoma State football program—which included LSU coach Les Miles' time there from 2001-04—is apparently accurate enough for one governing body to take a closer look. The NCAA is investigating Oklahoma State for possible rules violations in its football program, an Oklahoma State spokesman confirms, according to an ESPN story published on Monday. Miles was 28-21 during his time with the Cowboys, including three bowl appearances, after inheriting a program that had losing seasons in 11 of 12 previous seasons. He was portrayed by Sports Illustrated as helping start a stampede of sex, drugs and cash at the Stillwater campus. The story, which was part of a five-part series, details cash exchanging hands between Oklahoma State boosters and players after the 3-7 Cowboys upset No. 4 Oklahoma, 16-13, in Norman, Oklahoma, in Miles' first year in 2001. Miles denied that and other...

Cox reaches agreement to carry SEC Network

Cox Communications announced today it has reached an agreement with ESPN to carry the SEC Network when it launches next month. Cox says the SEC Network will be available to its customers with the "digital essential tier" package, which is priced at $69.99 a month. Information on the exact channel positions will be announced soon. ESPN has also reached agreements with AT&T U-verse, DISH, Google Fiber and NRTC to distribute the SEC Network. Cox, ESPN and SEC officials all cheered the agreement reached today in prepared statements. "This is great news for alumni and fans across our footprint who will enjoy the action and rivalries that have become synonymous with LSU Tiger Athletics and SEC sports throughout the entire region," says Jacqui Vines, senior vice president and general manager of Cox's Southeast Region. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive says: "As one of the largest cable television distributors in the U.S., including five states in the SEC footprint, this agreement with Cox has a...

BREC suspends golf clinics, introducing new program in August

The golf clinics that BREC held at its public courses for the past two years have been suspended due to staffing reductions, a spokesperson says. BREC recently notified golfers that the clinics, which formerly had been held about once or twice each month, would no longer be held as of June 3. Erin O'Neill, BREC publicity and marketing manager, says a new program of PGA-recommended clinics called First Swing are scheduled to begin in August. The First Swing clinics will be available for youth, women, men and families, O'Neill says, and they will teach newcomers the basics of the game. The timing of the clinic suspension and a public input meeting taking place this week on the future of BREC's seven golf courses are coincidental, she says. "We had a great demand for the clinics, but the postponement does go back to staffing," O'Neill says in an email to Daily Report. The public...

BREC to hold public input meeting on golf courses

BREC is hosting a public input meeting to get ideas for its seven golf courses as it works to develop a long-term operations plan for the courses. The meeting is set for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 18, at the BREC administrative building, 6201 Florida Blvd. BREC says it has hired consultants from the National Golf Foundation "to evaluate all aspects of BREC's golf operation, collect ideas from players and residents, and use that information to develop a new long-range operations plan for BREC golf." The consultants will lead Wednesday's discussion. "The National Golf Foundation is one of the most respected and knowledgeable organizations in the game of golf. They understand the trends impacting the game nationally and have already spent hours touring BREC's seven courses and collecting data to help determine how we can continue to improve our operation," says BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight in

Cox still negotiating with ESPN over carrying SEC Network

While ESPN is touting its planned SEC Network—which launches Aug. 14—as a collaboration between “the most competitive athletic conference in the country and the most innovative production partner in the sports industry,” the development of the network has not been universally well-received by all sports fans. They're worried about losing access to some popular SEC sporting events, which, until now, have been virtually free to view. Adding to their fears is the fact that ESPN has yet to nail down carriage agreements with all of the nation's cable and satellite distributors—including local distributor Cox Cable. A Cox spokeswoman tells Daily Report that Cox is actively negotiating with ESPN for carriage of the SEC Network on its channel lineup but that no deal has been inked. “Our goal is to have these negotiations completed in time for the network launch on Aug. 14 and in time for the upcoming football season,” says Cox Public Affairs...

Jenni Peters

There are so many reasons Jenni Peters is an inspiration. She turned a $100,000 investment into a $2 million business. She ran competitively for Nike. She has trained local teams for the Boston Marathon. She has an impressive array of race medals hanging from the bookshelves in her office—and an even more impressive collection at home. She's 58 years old and still runs 30 miles per week.

Beer sales at major universities show mixed results regarding profits, public safety

Looking beyond the ongoing $87 million south end zone expansion at Tiger Stadium that's on schedule to be completed in August, LSU officials are considering a number of options for enhancing the experience for the more than 100,000 fans that will now be able to watch football games in person on Saturdays. As LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva told the Baton Rouge Press Club earlier this week, that could include larger, more comfortable seats, as well as expanded and improved restrooms, among other ideas. And then there's the possibility of beer sales inside the stadium. "I think at some point—I don't know if it will be five years from now, 10 years from now—but I think at some point, I think it's going to happen," Alleva told the Press Club when asked about the possibility. He added that "it's something that we have to study and look at in the future." LSU wouldn't be the...

Dakota Roemer & Denver Benton

Sporting event participants usually register on one website, then leave it to make travel arrangements on Travelocity or another site. "It's two separate things," says Roemer. "What we wanted to do was marry the two"—and give events a predictable means to profit.

'225 Weekender': Race in the Happys5000

The fifth annual Happys5000—also known as the Downtown Spectacular 5000 Meter Road Race—will take place downtown on Saturday evening. As 225 Weekender reports, the social sporting event mixes food, music, art and exercise. The event kicks off with open registration and music from Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue at 5 p.m. at the North Boulevard Town Square. The run starts at 6 p.m. at the intersection of Fourth and Convention streets. A beer mile kicks off at 7:30 p.m. After the race, restaurants including Tsunami, Schlittz and Giggles, Fresh Junkie, Brew Ha-Ha and many more will serve up food and drinks, while the Remedy Krewe will provide the music, beginning at 8 p.m. Awards will be handed out at 8:15 p.m. Registration is $30. The event was started in conjunction with Happy's Running Club in 2009. Get the scoop on more local events on tap for this weekend in the new 225 Weekender...

A sporting chance

Information technology director, Louisiana Racing Commission

A troubled search

Members of the East Baton Rouge Parish Planning Commission were quick to praise themselves at a special April 23 meeting for the thorough and transparent way in which they have conducted the search for a new planning director.

Plan in the works to bring golf back to former Oaks at Sherwood

Pickles Kelly, owner and operating manager of Caddyshack Driving Range, Bar & Grill, is working with the new owners of the former Oaks at Sherwood Golf Course to reopen the 18-hole course that closed abruptly last summer. "It's not a done deal by any means, but we are definitely in discussions," says Ryan Dornier, who purchased the course in November with his father, Randy Dornier Sr., and brother, Randall Dornier Jr., about four months after the course was closed by its former owners. "If it's a win-win for everyone, then it's certainly something we'll be interested in." The Dorniers, who purchased the property with plans of turning part of it into a tennis center, have begun offering lessons and hope to open as a full membership tennis club this summer. The club will be named The Legacy at Bonne Esperance. Kelly, who is looking to lease the course from the Dorniers, says she...

Sally Calongne

The ball was in her court. Baton Rouge native Sally Calongne had returned to her hometown in 2009 after a four-year stint at a Washington, D.C., nonprofit, eager to re-enter the Capital Region tennis scene.

Tennis star Maria Sharapova buys ownership stake in BR native's company

Baton Rouge native and LSU alumnus Holly Emery Thaggard, who in 2007 launched a skincare product line focusing on UV protection called Supergoop!, has announced that tennis superstar Maria Sharapova has invested in the company and is now a co-owner. "As an avid user of Supergoop! daily, for a number of years, I was drawn to not only the quality of the product but also the opportunity to educate people around the world about the importance of practicing safe sun habits every day," says Sharapova in a prepared statement. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Thaggard's brother, Stephen Emery, a Baton Rouge native who now lives in New York, is also a partner in the company. Thaggard says Supergoop!, which is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, has averaged triple-digit growth annually since its foundation. With Sharapova's becoming a key player in the company, Thaggard says the brand plans to further its domestic distribution and expand internationally over the next five...

Ainsworth new CEO at Marucci; 'Duck Dynasty' star joins board

In step with a succession plan that's been years in the making, the board of directors for Baton Rouge-based Marucci Sports announced today that company co-founder Kurt Ainsworth will take over as CEO. Former CEO Brett Stohlton—who has held the position since Marucci co-founder Reed Dickens stepped down as CEO in February 2012, also as part of the succession plan—will remain an adviser to Ainsworth and the board of directors. Dickens will now serve as chairman of the board, which is also set to be joined by Duck Commander CEO and Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson. In a press release issued today, Marucci says Robertson is being brought onto the board to help the company launch a new camouflage division. He's not the only new...

'Business Report': Decimated by recession, local golf industry tries to revive interest in the game

As south Louisiana gears up to host the PGA Tour's Zurich Classic of New Orleans in the coming weeks, the Capital Region continues to cope with the recession fallout that knocked golf from its manicured perch and left survivors doing their best to reinvigorate the game's popularity. As contributing writer Tress Fereday details in a Business Report story from the current issue, golf last saw the gleam of its glory days in the early 2000s—and the game in the Capital Region has since experienced its moment in the rough just as it has in the rest of the country. The local list of shuttered golf courses grew last year, with the Oaks at Sherwood joining Briarwood Golf Course, Fairwood Country Club, Gonzales Country Club and Shenandoah Country Club as victims of an economy gone bad. The Baton Rouge-based Louisiana Municipal Police Employees Retirement System lost millions of dollars on its two Louisiana golf courses before finally selling them last year at rock-bottom prices.

Taking a mulligan

As South Louisiana gears up to host the PGA tour's Zurich Classic of New Orleans later this month, the Capital Region continues to cope with the recession fallout that knocked golf from its manicured perch and left survivors doing their best to reinvigorate the game's popularity.

LSU officials working to address increased traffic due to Tiger Stadium expansion

While three crews have been working around-the-clock shifts to complete the $87 million south end zone expansion at Tiger Stadium in time for LSU's first home game of the season on Sept. 6, LSU officials have been working on a different project—namely, how to deal with gameday traffic, which was already a problem and will now be a bigger one with some 8,000 additional seats. "It's a problem—the elephant in the room—I'm not going to sugarcoat it," says Ret. Gen. Ronald Richard, president and CEO of the Tiger Athletic Foundation. "Ingress, egress and parking are all an issue." A potential solution for the upcoming season is already in the works, however. TAF recently commissioned a study that addresses parking and gameday traffic. On April 10, it will unveil the results and present a new traffic and parking plan for the upcoming season. "It's going to be the same system, but other things will be involved," says Richard, who declines to disclose details yet. "It's not...

BREC's trouble spots: Golf and the Baton Rouge Zoo

BREC's golf courses and the Baton Rouge Zoo will complete their own strategic plans this year, separate from the systemwide Imagine Your Parks II plan underway now.

Carolyn McKnight: The colonel in charge

After more than 27 years of working in the Dallas Park and Recreation Department, Carolyn McKnight stepped away to work on a local government project jumpstarting minority-owned businesses.

The professional risk taker

"I want to be a professional gambler," Michael Beychok told the aptitude tester his parents had hired to direct the career path of their son, a student at Catholic High School.

Going to bat

From Little League to Major Leagues, when a baseball player swings for the fences, theres a good chance he's swinging a bat made in Baton Rouge.

Smoothie King lands 10-year naming rights deal for New Orleans Arena

Say goodbye to the New Orleans Arena and hello to the Smoothie King Center. The Metairie-based smoothie franchise has landed a 10-year naming rights deal that takes effect today. Under the deal, the financial terms of which were not disclosed, Smoothie King will have its logo and signage placed on the arena's roof and facade, as well as on the New Orleans Pelicans basketball court, and it will operate two retail concession stands within the arena. Company and state officials are to formally announce the deal this morning. ESPN reports the entrance of the arena will also feature two 20-foot high Smoothie King cups that will be in place in time for next weekend's NBA All-Star Game. "Our mission is to invest locally, regionally, nationally and internationally," Smoothie King President and COO Tom O'Keefe tells ESPN. "This deal satisfies all those goals." Although the...

Local event firm doing set-up for PGA tournament in Pebble Beach

When the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am kicks off next week in Pebble Beach, Calif., a local couple and a few dozen of their contract employees will be front and center at the prestigious PGA golf tournament, making sure the tented dressing rooms and media areas, kiosks and concession stands are properly set up and equipped. It's what Will and Julie Bernard do in their spare time, when they're not tending to the Port Allen truck stop and video poker parlor they own, Cajun Circus Casino. While the casino is their day job, the Bernards are devoting increasingly more time these days to CCI Events, an event company they own that designs and constructs temporary facilities and structures for major sporting events, like PGA tournaments. "They hang walls and chandeliers for all the tents and dressing rooms and media areas that will be in use during the tournament," says Bill Bernard, Will Bernard's father. "They also do all the design and construction work." Julie Bernard, a native of...

'225': Can Johnny Jones reignite Tiger Nation for hoops?

LSU men's basketball coach Johnny Jones—the former LSU player from DeRidder, who stayed on as Dale Brown's assistant coach for 13 years before finally moving on in 1997—didn't just come home in 2012. "No, he took a program in dire need of a major shot of personality and injected new life into the Tigers, all the while saying and doing all the right things," writes 225 contributing writer Lee Feinswog in a feature on Jones from the current issue. After a rough start last season—Jones' first as head coach—the Tigers became one of the hardest-working teams around, finishing 9-9 in the SEC and 19-12 overall. Johnny O'Bryant III became a wrecking crew down low. The speedy guard Anthony Hickey wreaked havoc in the league with an up-tempo style of offensive play. Most importantly, though, fans appreciated the team. This season, the team has three tremendous freshmen and got off to another strong start. Jones, who went to the 1981 Final Four as a Tiger, has...

Sports roundup: Saints said to need cornerback, better O-line next season … Roddick says Brees beat him the first two times they squared off on the court … Spurrier gets extension at South Carolina, $700,000 raise

Wish list: In his season wrap-up on the New Orleans Saints, ESPN's Mike Triplett says he's not sure if the team is more in need of a cornerback or better offensive line. "The Saints could use another top corner because Jabari Greer's future is uncertain after a major knee injury. But maybe that's their top want," Triplett says. "They need to address the offensive line, because right tackle Zach Strief and center Brian De La Puente are unrestricted free agents. I actually think the Saints would be fine if they brought back the same starting five (they played much better down the stretch than people may realize). But I'm not sure the Saints can afford to bring both guys back." Read the complete season wrap-up.

'225 Weekender': Get your running shoes ready for The Louisiana Marathon

The second annual Louisiana Marathon kicks off this weekend with music, food, speakers and races in an event perfect for the entire family. As 225 Weekender reports, more than 20,000 attendees and 4,000 participants are expected for this weekend's marathon. The three-day event kicks off Friday at 1 p.m. with an expo at the River Center downtown and continues Saturday with a 5K at 8 a.m. and the Kids Marathon at 9:30 a.m. at the Capitol Park Museum. Saturday will also feature a family festival with performances from the Dunham School Jazz Band, Baton Rouge Music Studios students and The Louisiana Youth Orchestra, as well as food and activities in AZ Young Park. A speaker series will kick off Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at the River Center, featuring discussions from four-time winner of the Boston and New York marathons Bill Rodgers and author/speaker Matt Long. On Sunday, the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon-qualifying run and 13.1-mile half marathon kick off at 7 a.m. at the steps of the...

Sports roundup: LSU's Hill named to All-Bowl Team … Seafood on the line for Saints-Seahawks showdown Saturday … ESPN columnist: Saints' Sean Payton as impressive as ever

On a run: LSU's Jeremy Hill—who The Shreveport Times is reporting will annouce on Monday plans to forego the NFL Draft and play for the Tigers next season—is one of just 23 college football players to be named on the All-Bowl Team. Hill garnered the honor by rushing for 216 yards and two touchdowns against Iowa in the Outback Bowl. "With LSU clinging to a 14-7 lead over Iowa late in the fourth quarter, Hill made sure LSU wasn't going to lose," the website notes. "He had four carries for 87 yards on the final drive, including a 37-yard score." See the full All-Bowl Team.

LSU offensive line coach Studrawa leaving; tailback Hill reportedly staying

Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa will not remain on the LSU staff, LSU confirmed this afternoon. "He left the program to pursue other opportunities," LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette tells The Shreveport Times, which is also reporting that LSU sophomore tailback Jeremy Hill has told those close to the LSU football program that he plans on returning for his junior season next year and will not enter the 2014 NFL Draft. Hill, who is eligible for the next draft as a third-year sophomore, is expected to officially announce that he will stay for the 2014 season at a press conference at LSU on Monday, The Times reports. The deadline for college players to enter the draft a year early is on Jan. 15, so Hill still has time to change his mind and enter the draft. Studrawa, 49, came to LSU as offensive line coach...

Sports roundup: Former LSU receiver Clayton releases self-published autobiography … LSU could be biggest winner at all-star football game today … Road-weary Saints tweak practice routine

Another chapter: Former LSU and NFL wide receiver Michael Clayton has just released a self-published autobiography entitled Chasing My Rookie Year: The Michael Clayton Story. Clayton is set to kick off a publicity tour for the book in Baton Rouge, his hometown, with an event at the LSU Barnes & Noble on Friday, Jan. 17. Clayton played three seasons for the Tigers—including the 2003 national championship team—before being drafted No. 15 overall in the 2004 NFL draft. His best season in the NFL was his rookie year, during which he led all league rookies with 80 receptions for 1,193 yards and 7 touchdowns. Clayton announced his retirement in 2013 and has been working as a sports analyst in the Tampa Bay area since, as well as doing motivational speaking.

Aaron Nola

Occupation: Pitcher, LSU Baseball
Hometown: Baton Rouge
Age: 20

John Peterson

Age: 24
Occupation: Professional Golfer, PGA Tour
Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas

Upping the price

Fans are about to pay 6% more for the privilege of watching LSU sports.

Sports roundup: LSU football ranked fourth in 'Forbes' most valuable list … Miles jumps three spots to No. 6 on 'Forbes' most powerful head coaches list … Players react to Saints' roster shake-up

Holding steady: For the third year in a row, Forbes has ranked the LSU football program as the fourth most valuable team in college football, with an estimated value of $105 million. LSU trails only Texas ($139 million), Notre Dame ($117 million) and Alabama ($110 million) on the list. Michigan is fifth at $100 million. reports the football program is currently in the midst of the best stretch in its history, leading the nation with 14 straight years of at least eight wins and reaching a bowl game this year for a school-record 14th consecutive season. In last year's rankings, LSU was valued at $102 million and $96 million a year before that—when it jumped from No. 7 on the list to the No. 4 spot. See the complete rankings.

Report: LSU spending on athletics far outpaced increases for academics

According to a new database of athletic and academic spending at colleges across the country, LSU's spending increases on academics has kept pace in recent years with the national average, while its spending on athletic programs—especially football—has increased at a far greater rate and one faster than either the SEC or national average. The database, created by The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, shows spending on academics and athletics between 2005 and 2011. LSU increased its academic spending per full-time student by 24% over that span, the report says, which is equal to the average of the approximately 125 schools with a team in the Football Bowl Subdivision. However, LSU increased its spending on student-athletes participating in its 20 athletic programs by 62% over the same span—and its spending on football scholarship players increased 87% over the span. On spending per student-athlete, the FBS average increase was 58% between 2005 and 2011,...

Aimee Simon

Under an oak tree in the shadow of Tiger Stadium stands a very special wall. Inscribed on it are the names of LSU football players who have achieved Academic All-American status, and above them is the name of an organization that has helped many Tiger athletes achieve academic success: the Bengal Belles.

Terry Saban says Tide fans losing appreciation, but Nick isn't going anywhere

Terry Saban has always played a big role in shaping the decisions husband Nick makes regarding his career, and she tells The Wall Street Journal in a new feature focusing on her that people shouldn't put any stock into rumors that Alabama may need to start looking for a new head football coach. "You come to a crossroads and the expectations get so great, people get spoiled by success and there gets to be a lack of appreciation," Terry Saban says of the situation in Tuscaloosa, where her husband is on the cusp of delivering Alabama a third straight national championship. "We're kind of there now." Recent media reports have suggested Nick Saban may be interested in coaching at Texas if that job becomes available. Some reports even said Terry Saban had been house hunting in Austin. When asked if those reports were accurate, Terry Saban called them "rumors with absolutely no foundation." "We're staying," she says. "We're not going anywhere." That statement may mean more coming...

Benny Hopson

"I did it for my son," Hopson says. "Our dream together was to have a golf store."

Sports roundup: Former Saints kicker Andersen named semifinalist for NFL Hall … Aggies looking to keep dreams alive in stadium where 'opponents' dreams come to die' … Coach expects Falcons fans to show full support tonight

Bound for glory: Former New Orleans Saints kicker Morten Andersen is among the 25 semifinalists being considered for the NFL Hall of Fame 2014 class, which will be announced on Feb. 1. The NFL released the names of those who had made the semifinal cut on Wednesday. The 15 finalists for the honor will be announced on Jan. 8. Andersen, who played for the Saints from 1982-94 and is the franchise all-time leading scorer with 1,318 points, finished his career with 2,544 points—the most of any player in the NFL. Andersen was a seven-time Pro Bowler, a six-time All-Pro and a member of the NFL All-Decade team in the 1980s and 1990s. He made 565 of 709 career field-goal attempts and kicked 302 field goals as a Saint. See the full list of semifinalists.

Sports roundup: Saints owe 49ers 'a couple knockdowns' … Brees said to be inching closer to Manning in MVP race … MLB making 'gigantic move' to instant replay

Ready to rumble: Over the past eight years, few offenses in the NFL have attacked and overwhelmed their opponents quite like the New Orleans Saints. And during that span, few defenses have attacked and overwhelmed the Saints quite like the San Francisco 49ers, ESPN says in its preview of Sunday's game in New Orleans. When they meet, the 49ers (6-3) will try to knock off the Saints (7-2) for the third consecutive year. The 49ers' physical, attacking defense has forced a combined seven turnovers and eight sacks in the previous two games. "Yeah, we kinda owe them a couple knockdowns, you know what I'm saying?" says Saints guard Jahri Evans—who isn't used to seeing many defenses push the Saints around like that. "That's how we feel as a team. And we know it's gonna be physical." Read the full story.

Local investor talks plans for improving pair of north La. golf courses

Some may have thought it a risky investment when local businessman Eugene Ji earlier this year bought a pair of money-losing golf courses in north Louisiana from a Louisiana police retirement system. But Ji—who has served as Mayor Kip Holden's economic liaison with China and helps Chinese investors find opportunities in the U.S., particularly Louisiana—has big plans to renovate the two courses and turn one into a destination resort for business travelers and families. "We are spending quite a few million to improve them," says Ji, who paid $3 million last summer for the Golf Club at StoneBridge in Bossier City and Olde Oaks Golf Course near Shreveport. Ji plans to upgrade the course at StoneBridge, adding new bunkers. But his focus is on Olde Oaks, where he plans to develop 100 rental cottages around the course that will be marketed to vacationing families, business...

Oaks at Sherwood purchased by family with plans for a tennis center

The Oaks at Sherwood golf course, which closed abruptly in early July with a reported $2.7 million in bank debt, has been purchased by a family group of investors who hope to turn part of the 127-acre property into a new tennis center. "We've been working on the details of what exactly we want to do for about the past month now. There's some tennis centers in Covington that we're trying to emulate, such as Franco's Athletic Club, Pelican Athletic Club and Stone Creek," says Ryan Dornier, who purchased the course with his father, Randy Dornier Sr., and brother, Randall Dornier Jr., about a month ago. Both Ryan and Randall Dornier are currently tennis pros and instructors at University Club. As for a timeline on when a tennis center could be developed at The Oaks at Sherwood, Ryan Dornier says "right now, it's all a guess; we don't even have electricity out there right now." He says...

Bob Chedville

"Getting licensed with LSU opened up so many more doors for us," Chedville says, "and will continue to open doors."

Not even Saban downplays magnitude of LSU-Alabama showdown

Even Nick Saban isn't protesting too loudly that Saturday night's Alabama-LSU showdown is just another game. The stakes are too high, the recent meetings too competitive and the rivalry just too compelling. "It's probably hard for everybody to think that this is just another game," says Saban. For the top-ranked Crimson Tide's laser-focused coach—who usually spends the week before a big game repeatedly telling reporters that it's just another game, no more or less important than any other on the schedule—that amounts to a monumental concession to what Saturday night's meeting with the Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium means for both teams and fan bases. For Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC), it represents one of the biggest remaining hurdles toward a crack at a third consecutive national title. LSU (7-2, 3-2 SEC) hopes to spoil that bid and still turn the season into something special after losing to both Georgia and Mississippi by a field goal. Plus it's Alabama. "It's definitely...

Sports roundup: LSU has no fear when it comes to Alabama … Tide wide receiver Cooper says he'll be back to 100% for LSU game … Cowboys head to Superdome for Sunday night showdown

Won't back down: If you check Anthony Johnson's calendar, you won't find Nov. 9 circled. While it may be special to most of the college football world, LSU's junior defensive tackle sees it as another day—another game. "I go week by week," Johnson tells ESPN with a laugh. Even though Saturday stands as the annual Alabama-LSU day to college football purists, it's game No. 10 to Johnson and the rest of the Tigers, says ESPN's Edward Aschoff. "Alabama doesn't faze LSU. Yes, the Crimson Tide are No. 1 and closing in on possibly a third straight national championship. Yes, Alabama has won two straight in this series twice since 2007. Yes, the Tide have dynasty status, but it doesn't scare LSU," Aschoff writes. Read the full story.

ESPN dissects the method behind Les Miles' madness

In an extensive profile on LSU football coach Les Miles featured on today, former Tiger All-American and current Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson insists the only thing better than seeing Miles at a podium or in front of a microphone is a chest-beating Miles leading a team meeting. "He had that walk when he'd come in, his hands in his pockets, real smooth and laid-back," Peterson recalls. "He starts out real low and then gets rowdier and rowdier and starts beating his chest. I mean, it's something else." Peterson is one of a number of former players, coaches and acquaintances to wax poetic on Miles' quirky mannerisms and notable quotables to ESPN. Peterson says Miles "was fun to play for and made it fun every day. That's why he's able to recruit the way he does. I'd go back in a heartbeat and play for him if I had it to do all over again. He just has this special way of getting the best out of guys and making them believe that they can do anything."...

Sports roundup: LSU basketball gets first votes in AP poll since 2008-09 … Tyrann Mathieu wins NFL rookie honor … Jets coach Rex Ryan jabs, praises twin brother as team prepares for Saints

Off the dribble: For the first time since the 2008-09 season, the LSU men's basketball team received votes in the Preseason AP Top 25 poll, which was released this afternoon, the university announced today. LSU, under second-year head coach Johnny Jones, received six points from the writers after getting two points in the USA Today Coaches Poll released Oct. 17. The Tigers open the 2013-14 season with an exhibition contest at home on Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Xavier of New Orleans. The regular season begins Nov. 12 when LSU travels to Amherst to face UMass in ESPN's 24-hour Tipoff Marathon. Tipoff is set for 10 a.m. on ESPN2.