Lamar Cardinals and Lady Cardinals
|NCAA||Division I - FCS|
|Athletic director||Jason Henderson|
|Football stadium||Provost Umphrey Stadium|
|Basketball arena||Montagne Center|
|Baseball stadium||Vincent-Beck Stadium|
|Softball stadium||Lamar Softball Stadium|
|Soccer stadium||Lamar Soccer Complex|
|Other arenas||McDonald Gym
Thompson Family Tennis Center
Ty Terrell Track & Field Stadium
|Fight song||Lamar Fight Song|
The Lamar Cardinals (variously Cardinals or Cards) refers to the college athletics teams of Lamar University, in Beaumont, Texas. The teams compete in all seventeen Southland Conference indoor and outdoor sponsored sports and fields fifteen teams, seven men's teams and eight women's teams. The Cardinals compete in NCAA Division I NCAA sports. The school has participated in practically every level of collegiate athletics from its inception as a junior college in 1923 to its realization as a university in 1971. The newest teams are the reinstated football team which returned in 2010 and Women's softball which returned in the 2013 season. The adoption of the nickname "Cardinals" dates back to the school's name change to Lamar in 1932.
- 1 General history
- 2 Men's sports
- 3 Women's sports
- 4 Venues and Facilities
- 5 Rivalries
- 6 Conference and National Championships
- 7 Cardinals in the major leagues
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Athletics at Lamar University began when the school opened as South Park Junior College in September 1923. Initially the school was using the name "Brahmas" as its mascot. When the school changed its name in 1932 to reflect that it served a much wider area than just South Park, a contest was held to determine the school's name. When Lamar was finally chosen, John Gray — head coach and athletic director at the time dropped the old athletic nickname "Brahmas" and chose a new name, "Cardinals."
The school has been in several conferences, including:
- Lone Star Conference 1951-52 to 1962-63
- Southland Conference 1963-64 to 1985-86; rejoined 1999-2000 to Present
- American South Conference (football Independent) 1986-87 to 1990-91
- Sun Belt Conference (American South Conference was merged into the Sun Belt) 1991-92 to 1997-98
- NCAA Division I Independent 1998-99
The Cardinals baseball team has been coached by Coach Jim Gilligan for over 33 years. With over 1000 career wins as a head coach he is one of the most winning coaches in NCAA history. Over ten LU players have gone on to play in the MLB, such as Kevin Millar and Brian Sanches. According to Baseball America.com, 75 Lamar Cardinals have been selected in the Major League Baseball draft as of the 2014 draft. Eleven drafted players played on a Major League Baseball team during their career. A total of six players have been selected in the first three rounds of the draft; two players in each of the first three.
The Cardinals Baseball team leads the Southland Conference with 10 regular season titles. In the 2010 season the Lamar Cardinals Baseball team, seeded 7th in the SLC at the beginning of the conference tournament, went undefeated through the tournament and were crowned the 2010 SLC conference champions. The team received a NCAA tournament bid and played TCU and the Baylor Bears.
Home games have been played at 3,500-seat Vincent-Beck Stadium since 1969. The stadium was also host to minor league baseball Double A Texas League pro team Beaumont Golden Gators as well as semi-pro Texas-Louisiana League Beaumont Bullfrogs.
Jack Martin (1951-1976) led the Cardinals from NAIA to NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I. He also led the Cardinals in the Lone Star Conference as well as the Southland Conference. The Cardinals won or shared 3 Lone Star Conference championships (1960-1961, 1961-1962, and 1962-1963) and 2 Southland Conference championships (1963-1964, 1969-1970) and also won 20 or more games in three seasons under Coach Martin (1961-1962, 1962-1963, and 1968-1969).
The Cardinals under Coach Billy Tubbs (1976–1980) had a Cinderella story NCAA tournament, advancing to the Sweet 16. During Tubbs's reign at Lamar he recruited 2 players, Clarence Kea and B.B. Davis, who would become all-Americans for Lamar, while Clarence would go onto play professionally in the NBA. The 1979 Cardinal Basketball team set records when it beat Portland State University 141-84; at the time, that game set an NCAA record for points in a single game. During the game, Mike Olliver set the single game scoring record at Lamar with 50 points; that record stood until January 4, 2011, when reserve guard Mike James scored 52 points in 28 minutes in a 114-62 win over Division III Louisiana College. As of January 5, 2011, James's performance is the top single-game scoring performance of the NCAA basketball season.
Following Pat Foster, there was a period of several short term head coaches including Tom Abatemarco (1986-1988), Tony Branch (1988-1990), Mike Newell (1990-1993). During the period the Cardinals changed conferences three times moving from the Southland Conference to the newly formed American South Conference and then to the Sun Belt Conference. The best season during the period was a 20-11 overall record under Tom Abatemarco in the 1987-1988 season.
Mike Deane (1999–2003) was hired in 1999. In his first year he returned the Cardinals to the NCAA tournament for the first time since the Pat Foster era. The Cardinals played Duke in the first round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament.
Billy Tubbs (2003–2006) returned to Lamar University in 2002 as Athletics Director. In addition to Athletics Director, Tubbs returned as the Cardinals basketball team head coach in 2003 following Mike Deane's reassignment. Tubbs' return was highly anticipated and increased attendance. He turned the program around from 10th place in 2003 to tied for 4th in 2006. In 2006 Coach Tubbs stepped down as Head Basketball Coach to concentrate on the Athletic Director position. He was succeeded by assistant and Lamar Alumnus Steve Roccaforte.
In the Roccaforte era (2006–2011) of Lamar Basketball Lamar had erratic success. The Cardinals under Roccaforte had wins over major programs like the Texas Tech Red Raiders in 2008. Coach Roc took the Cardinals to the East Division Championship and a 19 win season in 2007-2008. Following the SLC championship the Cardinals failed to reach the conference tournament for the next three seasons. Coach Roc's time at Lamar has been marked by some successes and very highly ranked recruiting classes. Coach Roc was relieved of duties after the 2010-2011 season.
Pat Knight (2011-2014) was hired on April 5, 2011 as head coach. He previously served as head coach at Texas Tech University from 2008 - 2011. In his first year as Lamar head coach, Coach Knight led the Cardinals to the NCAA tournament and the first 20+ win season since 1988. The Cardinals played Vermont in the 2012 NCAA Tournament After failing to win more than 3 games each of the next two seasons, Coach Knight was relieved of his duties in February, 2014.
Men's cross country
Men's cross country holds 12 Southland Conference titles and two American South Conference titles as of 2014. The team won six of those titles consecutively from 2006-2011. Men's cross country won back-to-back conference titles in 2013 and 2014.
Football began in 1923 when the university was known as South Park Junior College. It was discontinued in 1928 because of a lack of common opponents but was revived again in 1932 by the renamed Lamar College. The program was suspended during World War II again in 1942 and was restored in 1946 and the first football scholarships were offered.
After the school moved up to the NAIA level in the Lone Star Conference, the Cardinals didn’t have a winning season until a superb 8-0-2 season in 1957 ignited a string of 11 consecutive winning campaigns.
Just as the Cardinals were becoming a perennial contender in the Lone Star loop, school officials moved the athletic program forward into the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) college division ranks in 1963 via the Southland Conference.
Football went independent when Lamar left the SLC in 1987 to join the basketball-flavored American South Conference. Dismal support finally led to larger-than-expected deficits and provided the bottom line fodder for five new appointees to the then-Lamar board of regents to pull the plug on football at their first official session in 1989 (5 to 4 vote).
The university restarted the program in 2010. In preparation for the return of play the University has done extensive work on the facilities including, Provost Umphrey Stadium, a new Athletic complex, and high class suites built into the existing Montagne Center. The university hired former NFL player Ray Woodard as the head coach to lead the charge in bringing the Cardinals back to the gridiron. Former Basketball Coach Billy Tubbs was hired as the Athletic Director in 2006 and has had a significant role in bringing back the Cardinals Football team. Lamar played their first game in over 20 years on September 4, 2010 at rival McNeese State University. The Cardinals lost a close game 27-30 in front of over 19,000 at MSU's Cowboy Stadium. The 2010 Cardinals finished 5-6 with DI wins over Southeastern Louisiana and South Dakota.
The men's golf team has been ranked in the top 10 nationally and has won over 20 conference titles. The team has had many alumni continue on to the PGA Tour, like Chris Stroud and Kelly Gibson. The program between 1953 and 1973 won the conference title every year, an amazing 21 consecutive titles. The team boasts seven national titles; five NAIA national titles (1956–58, 1960–61) and two NCAA College Division titles (1967–68). The Cardinals have won 24 team (1964–73, 1981–83, 1985–87, 2001–03, 2006–09, 2012) and 19 individual Southland Conference Championships surpassing every other Southland schools by at least 20 titles. The most recent championships was in 2012. The Cardinals finished #3 in the nation in the 2007 NCAA Division I standings. The 2007 Lamar Golf team is one of only two Cardinal sports teams to ever finish in the top 10 in NCAA division I athletics.
The tennis team is coached by Scott Shankles who is in his third season at Lamar. Since their first season in 1952, the Cardinals have won numerous team championships at the national, regional, and coference levels over the years. Cardinals have also had success at the Singles and Doubles level including national, regional, and conference championships. The championships are listed in the Conference and National Championships section near the bottom of this article. Additionally, members of Cardinal teams have been selected to the First Team All-Southland Conference Singles team fourteen (14) times and the First Team All-Southland Conference Doubles team eleven (11) times. Other conference honors received by Cardinal players are listed below.
Southland Conference Player of the Year
- Jakob Paulsen - 2003
- Filip Kanczula - 2008
Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year
- Filip Kanczula - 2006
Southland Conference Freshman of the Year
- Jakob Paulsen - 2002
Men's track & field
The track team trains and host home tournaments at Ty Terrell Track. The track program is coached by Trey Clark. The track & field team was built around distance and sprints running until recently but has expanded the program to include jumps and multis with the hire of Jake Cohen.
The Cardinals field teams for both indoor and outdoor Track & Field.
In the 1991 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament, Lamar under coach Al Barbre made a run as a tenth seed in the Austin regional. The 1991 Lady Cardinals defeated Texas, LSU and Arkansas before being defeated by Virginia in the Elite Eight, Virginia went on to lose in the National championship game by 3 points. Following a lull, the team has had significant success in recent seasons (2007–2014). Coach Larry Tidwell turned the team around from a struggling program to a perennial power in the Southland Conference. In 2010 the team won the regular season and conference tournament to advance to the 2010 NCAA Tournament. The Lady Cardinals will make their first ever appearance in the preseason WNIT in the fall of 2010. The team plays in the 10,080 seat Montagne Center. In the 2011 season, coach Tidwell's Lady Cardinals received their first top 100 RPI ranking (RPI #80) since the figures were made public in the 2005 season. The 2010-2011 squad finished with a record of 25-8 and made an appearance in the 2011 post season WNIT. The Cardinals continued post season play under Coach Tidwell in 2013 competing in the 2013 Women's Basketball Invitational tournament. Following Larry Tidwell's departure, the Lady Cardinals, under 1st year head coach Robin Harmony, were Southland Conference co-champions in the 2013-2014 season making a return trip to the WNIT competing in the 2014 post season WNIT. The 2014 WNIT tournament appearance added to the recent trend of team appearances in post season play marking the fourth post season appearance in five years.
Women's cross country
The Lady Cardinals won three consecutive Southland Conference Titles from 2004-2006. This series of titles tied the record amount of consecutive conference titles in the Southland Conference. The Lady Cardinals won back-to-back conference titles in 2013 and 2014.
The Lady Cardinals won back to back Southland Conference championships in 2013 and 2014 bringing the conference championship total to five. It was the team's second back to back championship; the first in 2005 and 2006.
Lady Cardinals soccer began its inaugural season in 2007 under coach Mathew Dillon. On November 5, 2007, Matthew Dillon resigned. Dewi Hardman took over at the end of the 2007 season. He resigned on May 7, 2012. Orlando Cervantes was named the Lady Cardinals' head soccer coach on July 16, 2012. In 2014, Cervantes began his third season.
For the 2007 and 2008 seasons, the Lady Cardinals called Provost Umphrey Stadium (formerly named Cardinal Stadium) home. The Lamar Soccer Complex was built in 2009. The first match at the complex was against the New Mexico State Aggies on September 25, 2009. In the 2010 season the Lady Cardinals went 5-11-3 and narrowly secured a berth to their first ever play off game.
In 1983 Lamar added softball as a Division I sport and competed in the Southland conference. When Lamar left the Southland Conference in the 1987 season, the sport was dropped.
On April 22, 2011, Athletic Director Larry Tidwell announced plans to reinstate college softball as a NCAA Division I sport at Lamar University. On August 1, 2011 former Morehead State head coach Holly Bruder was announced as the finalist to fill the head coaching position at Lamar after over 20 years without a program.
On September 4, 2012, the Lady Cardinals held their first practice. The inaugural game of the newly reinstated program was played on September 22, 2012 before a standing room only crowd vs Texas Woman's University. The game ended as a 8-8 tie at the end of eight innings. The Lady Cardinals finished the season with an overall record of 24-35 and a conference record of 14-13, finishing high enough to qualify for the Southland Conference Softball Tournament held in Natchitoches, LA.
Offsite Ford Park was the home field for the first two seasons back. On October 17, 2014, a ground breaking ceremony for the new Lamar Softball Stadium was held. The first game at the new stadium is scheduled for March 6, 2015 against the Houston Baptist Huskies.
Competing every season since 1976, the Lady Cardinals tennis team is currently coached by David Wong who is in his fourteenth (14th) year at Lamar.
The team competed with the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women until 1981 when it began competition as an NCAA Division I team. In AIAW competition, the doubles team of Cathy Beene and Linda Rupert won the National AIAW Doubles championship in 1973. Beene and Rupert also captured four Texas AIWA Singles championships (Beene - 1970, 71 and Rupert - 1972, 73) and two Texas AIAW Doubles championships (1972, 73). In NCAA competition, the Lady Cardinals have won two Southland Conference championships (1983 and 1985), one Southland Conference tournament championship (2008), and one American South Conference championship (1988).
Lamar Career Coaching Records
|Career Coaching Records|
Note: Overall is misstated since it is based only on available records.
Women's track and field
The Lady Cardinals field teams for both Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field.
Competing every season from 1973, the Lady Cardinals Volleyball team is currently coached by first year head coach Alan Edwards. While McDonald Gym has been home court since 2007, both McDonald Gym and the Montagne Center have served as home courts over the life of the program. McDonald Gym underwent renovations at the same time the Sheila Umphrey Recreational Sports Center was constructed. Following renovation of McDonald Gym, the Volleyball team moved back to its current home.
Since 1982, the program has competed as an NCAA Division I program. From 1973-1981, the program competed in the AIAW (1973-1981). As an AIAW member, the Lady Cardinals won the state AIAW championship in 1975 and finished seventh in the AIAW Nationals. The team also won regional AIAW championships in 1976 and 1977 finishing ninth in the AIAW Nationals both years. The team also finish fourteenth in the AIAW Nationals in 1979.
Competing as an NCAA Division I program, the team has won four regular season conference championships including one American South Conference championship (1990), one Sun Belt Conference championship (1997), and two Southland Conference championships (2001, 2007). The team also won five conference tournament championships including three Southland Conference championships (1983, 1984, 2008), one American South Conference championship (1987), and one Sun Belt Conference championship (1993). The Lady Cardinals participated in the NCAA Division I Volleyball tournament four times (1983, 1984, 1993, 2008). The Lady Cardinals best conference record was in 2007 with a 15-1 regular season Southland Conference championship record under head coach Justin Gilbert. From 2007 to 2009 the team won 36 of its 48 regular season conference games.
Venues and Facilities
The 54,000 sq ft Dauphin Athletic Complex is the main sports performance facility for varsity sports at Lamar. The center includes meeting rooms, athletic training facilities, athlete lounge area, an 10,000 sq ft strength center, locker rooms for home and visitors, 108 seat meeting room with theater seating, offices, and an academic center.
Although much of the center is open to all students, the west side of the 129,550 sq ft center is reserved for student-athletes, coaches and staff. Offices, study rooms, training rooms, a student lounge and McDonald Gym, where the Lady Cardinals volleyball team plays, are located in the student-athlete section.
Baseball Vincent Beck Stadium
Vincent Beck Stadium is a lighted stadium with a seating capacity of 3,500 including 700 chairback seats.
- Strait Indoor Practice Facility
The 9,600 sq ft practice facility has indoor bull pens and batting cages as well as covered outdoor batting cages.
- Baseball Locker Rooms
The 1,600 sq ft team locker room has 35 oak lockers and other amenities.
Basketball Montagne Center
The Montagne Center, home of both the Cardinals and Lady Cardinals basketball teams, is a 10,080 multi-purpose arena. The center includes several large meeting rooms as well as offices and training areas.
Football Provost Umphrey Stadium
Provost Umphrey Stadium is a 16,000 seat outdoor football stadium.
The Vernon Glass Field of Champions includes two grass football practice fields and a covered pavilion.
Soccer and Softball LU Soccer and Softball Complex
Located in between the soccer stadium and the future softball stadium, the complex building is designed to provide ticketing, concessions, and locker rooms for both sports.
The soccer stadium has a seating capacity of 500 and is equipped with lighting for night-time games.
The 2014 Southland Conference Soccer Tournament will be held at the Lamar Soccer Complex on November 6-9, 2014.
The Lady Cardinals played the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons at an off campus site, Ford Park Softball Complex. A new on campus stadium will be built in time for the 2015 season. Initial capacity will be 650. The stadium is also designed for an increase in seating capacity by 250 via berms along the baselines. Groundbreaking for the new stadium was held on October 17, 2014.
The tennis center has sixteen (16) outdoor courts including five (5) stadium courts with covered stadium seating. The center also has a scoreboard capable of scoring six matches at once.
- Tennis Support Building A building includes a pro shop/meeting room, locker rooms, and restrooms.
Track and Field Ty Terrell Stadium
Ty Terrell Track Stadium has a seating capacity of 1,000. It is located next to the Thompson Family Tennis Center.
Volleyball McDonald Gym
McDonald Gym is now part of the 129,550 sq ft Sheila Umphrey Recreational Sports Complex. The Gym has a seating capacity of 500 for volleyball.
|Athletics Facilities Pictures|
Lamar has had many rivalries over the years. Some extend back to its early days in the Southland Conference on to the American South Conference and its time in the Sun Belt Conference. Others are newer following Lamar's return to the Southland Conference.
McNeese State University Lamar's biggest current rival is the McNeese State Cowboys. Games between the two schools usually are among the highest attended into the Southland Conference. The rivalry features double header basketball games for men's and women's basketball. The weekend baseball series is usually played to allow both teams a home game, the designated home team plays Friday at the opposing school and then plays its Saturday and Sunday matches at home. In 2010 when Lamar revived its football team the fans of both teams packed the 17,000 seat stadium to the brim. The official attendance of 19,235 was the largest game at McNeese since 2002. In 2009, the rivalry was formalized with a joint agreement between the two universities and Verizon Wireless. The "Verizon Wireless Battle of the Border features "...head-to-head and SLC Championship competition in 14 different sports..."
A rivalry with another fellow Texas State University System school, Texas State University, has cooled with after Texas State's departure from the Southland Conference. During the 70's and 80's Lamar had long standing basketball rivalries with the University of Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana Tech and Arkansas State.
Conference and National Championships
- Baseball – 1971, '75, '76, '77, '79, '81, '84, '85, '2003, '04, '10
- Men's Basketball – 1964, '70, '78, '79, '80, '81, '83, '84, 2000 '08, '12
- Football – 1964, '65, '66, '71
- Men's Cross Country- 1979, '81, '82, '83, '84, 2006, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '13, '14
- Men's Golf – 1964, '65, '66, '67, '68, '69, '70, '71, '72, '73, '81, '82, '83, '85, '86, '87, 2001, '02, '03, '06, '07, '08, '09, '12
- Men's Track & Field (Outdoor) – 1971, '78, '79, '80, '81, '82, '83, '84, '85, '86
- Men's Track & Field (Indoor) - 1980, '81, '82, '83, '84, '85
- Men's Tennis – 1967, '73, '74, '75, '76
- Women's Basketball - 2010
- Women's Cross Country- 2004, '05, '06, '13, '14
- Women's Golf - 2003, '05, '06', '13, '14
- Women's Tennis – 1983, '84, 2008
- Volleyball – 1983, '84, '01 '07
Sun Belt Conference
- Baseball – 1993, '95
- Women's Basketball – 1992
- Women's Golf – 1993, '94, '95, ‘96
- Women's Track & Field – 1992
- Volleyball – 1993, '97
Lone Star Conference
- Men's Basketball – 1961, '62, '63
- Football – 1954
- Men's Golf – 1953, '54, '55, '56, '57, '58, '59, '60, '61, '62, '63
- Men's Tennis – 1952, '53, '54, '55, '56, '57, '58, '59, '60, '61, '62, '63
- Men's Track & Field – 1963
American South Conference
- Women's Basketball – 1991
- Women's Tennis – 1988
- Men's Cross Country – 1988, '89
- Volleyball – 1987, '90
NAIA National Championships
- Men's Tennis – 1955, '56, '57, '58, '59, '60
- Men's Golf – 1956, '57, '58, '59, '60
NCAA College Division National Championships
- Men's Golf – 1967, '68
- Men's & Women's Track & Field – 40
- Men's Basketball – 3
- Women's Basketball – 1
- Men's Cross Country - 5
- Football - 5 (3 NCAA D-II, 2 NCAA D-I-AA/FCS)
- Men's Golf – 9
- Women's Golf – 5
- Men's & Women's Tennis – 18
- Volleyball – 1
Cardinals in the major leagues
Cardinals in the Olympic Games
- Colin Ridgeway (Australia), high jump
- Brian Davis (South Africa), 1600-meter relay
- Colin Ridgeway (Australia) high jump (Bronze)
- Christer Gullstrand '83 (Sweden), 400-meter Hurdles
- Doug Hings '82 (Canada), 1600-meter relay
1984 Los Angeles
- Pedro Caceres '84 (Argentina), Steeplechase
- Christer Gullstrand '83 (Sweden), 400-meter Hurdles & 4x400-meter relay
- Thomas Eriksson '85 (Sweden), High Jump & Triple Jump
- Midde Hamrin '83 (Sweden), Marathon
- List of college sports teams in the United States with different mascot names for men's and women's teams
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- "Hardman Resigns as Women's Soccer Coach". Lamar University Athletics. May 7, 2012. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
- "Orlando Cervantes Named Soccer Coach". Lamar University Athletics. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
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