Lamar Cardinals football

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Lamar Cardinals football
2019 Lamar Cardinals football team
Lamar Cardinals wordmark.svg
First season1923
Athletic directorMarco Born
Head coachMike Schultz
2nd season, 9–14 (.391)
StadiumProvost Umphrey Stadium
(Capacity: 16,000)
FieldW. S. Bud Leonard Field
Field surfaceHellas Matrix Turf[1]
LocationBeaumont, Texas
ConferenceSouthland Conference
All-time record214–285–9 (.430)
Bowl record1–1 (.500)
Playoff record0–1
Conference titles5 (1957, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1971)
RivalriesMcNeese State (rivalry)
Louisiana (rivalry)
ColorsRed and White[2]
Fight songCardinals Fight!
Marching bandThe Showcase of Southeast Texas[3]

The Lamar Cardinals football program represents Lamar University in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) level. The Cardinals are members of the Southland Conference and play their home games in the 16,000 seat Provost Umphrey Stadium.[4] The team's head coach is Mike Schultz.


The early years[edit]

From its inception as South Park Junior College in 1923, football was a part of Lamar's history. It was discontinued in 1928 because of a lack of common opponents but was revived again in 1932 by the renamed Lamar College. Coach John Gray led his charges to records of 8–1 that season and 8–1–1 in 1934 before the program was discontinued again in 1942 and did not resume again until the end of World War II. Football was restored in 1946 and the first football scholarships were offered. In the 1946 season Lamar posted an 8–2 ledger. The 1948 club (8–4–0) won two bowl games, and the 1949 outfit won an all time school record 10 games and another bowl trophy as the school bade farewell to the junior college era.

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. The 1961 team advanced to the Tangerine Bowl (now the Capital One Bowl) against Middle Tennessee State on December 29, 1961, and won 21–14.

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. The football team enjoyed immediate success with three straight SLC grid titles (1964–66). In 1964 the Cardinals were invited to the Pecan Bowl after a 6–3–1 campaign. The Cardinals lost 19–17 to Northern Iowa. The Cardinals had a second-place finish in 1967. A year later, the school's athletic program embarked on another challenge by upgrading to the NCAA Division I level.[5]

Lamar averaged 12,000 patrons through 1974, drawing a then record 16,226 against arch-rival McNeese State to Cardinal Stadium in 1972. The transition to Division I proved to be a spark for many LU sports but football experienced a downturn after 1974. Fans responded when new coach Larry Kennan delivered a 6–3–2 club in 1979; Games against Louisiana Tech (17,600) and West Texas State (17,250) rank second and third, respectively, behind the standing-room-only 18,500 Baylor drew for the 1980 opener. Lamar set an all-time attendance record by averaging 16,380 that season. The Cardinals’ signature win came on September 5, 1981, in an 18–17 win over the UPI #20 ranked Baylor Bears under Head Coach Larry Kennan.

Football competed as an independent from 1987 to 1989 after Lamar left the Southland Conference in 1987 to join the newly formed non-football American South Conference.

Disbandment and reintroduction[edit]

Dismal support finally led to larger-than-expected deficits and provided the bottom line fodder for five new appointees to the then-Lamar University System board of regents to discontinue football at their first official session on December 15, 1989 (5 to 4 vote).[6][7] Their vision was to divert money that was being spent on football to the basketball program and build Lamar into a basketball powerhouse.

In 2010, as a member of the Texas State University System, the university brought the football team back.[8] In preparation for the return of play the University did extensive work on the facilities including, Provost Umphrey Stadium, a new 54,000 sq ft Athletic complex,[9] and seven high class suites built into the existing Montagne Center,[10] new field turf,[1] and a new 26' X 51' video board.[11] 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 had a significant role in bringing back the Cardinals football team.

The football program, discontinued at the end of the 1989 season, was restarted with its first season back in 2010. The team competed as an independent that year. The first conference competition following the restart was in 2011.

Conference affiliations[edit]

Seasons Conference
1923–1926 Independent
1927–1931 Football not a sponsored sport
1932–1942 Independent
1943–1945 Football not a sponsored sport – World War II
1946–1950 Southwestern Junior College Conference
1951–1962 Lone Star Conference
1963–1986 Southland Conference
1987–1989 Division I-AA Independent
1990–2009 Football not a sponsored sport
2010–present Southland Conference

Division history[edit]

Seasons Division
1923–1926 National Junior College Athletic Association
1927–1931 Football not a sponsored sport
1932–1942 National Junior College Athletic Association
1943–1945 Football not a sponsored sport – World War II
1946–1950 National Junior College Athletic Association
1951–1962 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
1963–1972 NCAA College Division (Small College)
1973–1977 NCAA Division I (University)
1978–1981 NCAA Division I-A
1982–1989 NCAA Division I-AA
1990–2009 Football not a sponsored sport
2010–present NCAA Division I FCS

Early Years Reference: [12]

Bowl games[edit]

Lamar participated in two NCAA College Division level bowl games, going 1–1.

Season Coach Bowl Opponent Result
1961 James B. Higgins Tangerine Bowl Middle Tennessee W 21–14
1964 Vernon Glass Pecan Bowl Northern Iowa L 17–19

FCS Playoffs[edit]

Lamar participated in the FCS Playoffs for the first time in 2018.

Season Coach Round Opponent Result
2018 Mike Schultz First Round Northern Iowa L 13–16


Highest attendance[edit]


Below is a list of the Cardinals best-attended home games (all at Provost Umphrey Stadium).

Rk. Date Opponent Attendance
Highest attendance
1 September 13, 1980 Baylor 18,500
2 September 22, 1979 Louisiana Tech 17,600
3 October 9, 2010 Langston University 17,306
4 October 6, 1979 West Texas State 17,250
5 September 17, 1977 Louisiana-Lafayette 17,222
6 October 2, 2010 Sam Houston State 17,187

As of the 2013–14 season.

Yearly attendance[edit]

Below is the Cardinals' home attendance since program reinstatement.

Season Average High
Lamar Cardinals
2018[13] 7,077 8,028
2017[13] 6,631 8,417
2016[13] 7,429 8,697
2015[13] 9,364 13,136
2014[13] 8,347 10,212
2013[13] 8,379 10,738
2012[13] 11,119 15,367
2011[13] 14,442 15,367
2010[13] 16,078 17,306

As of the 2018 season.


McNeese State[edit]

The two teams have met 35 times on the football field, with McNeese State currently holding a 24–10–1 edge in the all-time series. The rivalry has been expanded from football to head-to-head competition in all sports under a joint agreement with the two universities and Verizon Wireless.[14]

McNeese State–Lamar: All-Time Record
Games played First meeting Last meeting Lamar wins Lamar losses Ties Win %
33 November 10, 1951 (lost 7–13) November 17, 2018 (Won 21-17) 10 24 1 29.7%


The first Sabine Shoe trophy was first awarded in 1937 to the winner of the SLI–Lamar football game.[15] The name of the bronze rivalry trophy was derived from the Sabine River that forms the Texas–Louisiana border. USL defeated Lamar in the 1978 edition of the rivalry game, but the Ragin' Cajuns were not awarded the trophy as it had vanished.[16] The Sabine Shoe trophy now sits in at trophy case in the Ragin' Cajun Athletic Complex.

UL Lafayette–Lamar: All-Time Record
Games played First meeting Last meeting Lamar wins Lamar losses Ties Win %
34 October 27, 1923 (lost 16–19) September 1, 2012 (lost 0–40) 11 23 0 32.4%

Future scheduled out of conference games[edit]

Future Out of Conference Games
Year Home Games Neutral Games Away Games
2020 Mississippi College[17]
2020 Rice[18]
2021 UTSA[19]
2021 Northern Colorado[20]
2022 SMU[17]
2022 Northern Colorado [20]
2023 ULM[20]
2025 North Texas[21]


  1. ^ a b "Football Artificial Turf Project Underway – LAMARCARDINALS.COM – Lamar Cardinals Official Athletic Site". Archived from the original on 2014-07-15.
  2. ^ LU Visual Standards (PDF). Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  3. ^ "The Showcase of Southeast Texas Marching Band". Lamar University. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  4. ^ "LAMARCARDINALS.COM – Lamar Cardinals Official Athletic Site – Football". Archived from the original on 2011-07-13.
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2011-08-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Lamar University Drops Football". New York Times. December 15, 1989. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  7. ^ "Lamar Univeristy drops football program". United Press International. December 14, 1989. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  8. ^ "Houston couple gives Lamar University engineering, football program million gift – LAMARCARDINALS.COM – Lamar Cardinals Official Athletic Site". Archived from the original on 2014-11-29.
  9. ^ "LAMARCARDINALS.COM – Lamar Cardinals Official Athletic Site – Facilities". Archived from the original on 2014-07-12.
  10. ^ "Morgan Suites to enhance Lamar University athletics facilities – LAMARCARDINALS.COM – Lamar Cardinals Official Athletic Site". Archived from the original on 2014-07-15.
  11. ^ "Lamar University".
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Archived Team-by-Team Final Statistics". National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  14. ^ "Verizon Wireless Announces Lamar-McNeese State Rivalry Series – LAMARCARDINALS.COM – Lamar Cardinals Official Athletic Site". Archived from the original on 2014-10-24.
  15. ^ "Tribal lore". The Sporting News. 1997. Archived from the original on 2012-07-09.
  16. ^ "The Week". CNN. October 9, 1978.
  17. ^ a b Kevin Kelley (March 20, 2019). "Lamar to host Mississippi College in 2020, play SMU in 2022". Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  18. ^ Kevin Kelley (March 21, 2018). "Rice adds Lamar to 2020 football schedule". FBSSchedules. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  19. ^ Kevin Kelley (August 28, 2019). "UTSA adds Lamar to 2021 football schedule". FBSSchedules. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  20. ^ a b c Kevin Kelley (August 28, 2019). "Lamar adds ULM, Northern Colorado to future football schedules". FBSSchedules. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  21. ^ James Dixon (September 29, 2019). "Roadrunners, Mean Green Added to Future Dockets". Lamar University Athletics. Retrieved September 30, 2019.

External links[edit]