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DUGAS CENTER -- Standing before
a rendering of the façade of the newly named “Dugas Center for Southeastern
Athletics” and life-sized likenesses of the Dugas brothers in Southeastern
football uniforms are (from left) Southeastern President Randy Moffett,
Manuel and Linda Dugas, Laura Jo and Wayne Dugas, and University of Louisiana
System President Sally Clausen. The naming ceremony was held Friday on
Southeastern’s campus and recognized the Dugas family’s contributions to
SOUTHEASTERN ATHLETIC BUILDING NAMED
IN HONOR OF DUGAS FAMILY
HAMMOND -- Southeastern Louisiana
University’s athletic building was officially named the “Dugas Center for
Southeastern Athletics” in ceremonies held on the campus Friday (Sept.
Unveiling a rendering of the building’s
refurbished façade, Southeastern President Randy Moffett and University
of Louisiana System President Sally Clausen recognized contributions of
the family to enhancing the university’s overall athletic program and helping
to reinstate football. In attendance were Manuel and Wayne Dugas,
both Southeastern graduates who played football for the Lions in the 1950s.
In a tribute to the family, Clausen
– a former president of Southeastern – noted that the late Horace Dugas
had instilled in the family a spirit of public service and giving. He served
several terms as a state representative from St. Charles Parish and also
served on the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission and the State Highway Board.
Manuel Dugas, a retired businessman currently residing in Boutte, contributed
to Southeastern’s program and recruited others to donate to the campaign.
In addition, he established an endowed scholarship at Southeastern for
a student-athlete majoring in business. Wayne Dugas, a retired executive
with Dollar General Corp. was Southeastern’s most valuable player on the
1957 football team. His contribution was made through his private foundation,
the Laura Jo and Wayne Dugas Family Foundation.
Clausen recalled that one of the first
questions she received as president at the university was “When are you
bringing back football?” She noted that academic and building priorities
had to take precedence because of the rapid growth in enrollment the university
had experienced. Once those were met, she said, she turned her full attention
to enhancing the athletic program.
Moffett said Southeastern instituted
an extension of its Commitment to Excellence fund raising campaign with
a goal of raising $5 million in private funds to enhance the overall athletic
program, address gender equity issues, and reinstate football. The goal
was surpassed within a 12-month period, and the Lions’ football team took
to the field last year for the first time in 18 years.
“When we set out to raise additional
funds for athletics, it was not just to return football; we wanted to enhance
the program as a whole,” Moffett said. “Just as we strive for excellence
in academics, we wanted to see our athletic program improve in quality
as well. And that has certainly happened.”
He noted the steady improvement in
athletics at Southeastern. In addition to launching football – in which
the Lions led the I-AA in attendance per capacity last year, attracting
56,000 fans – he noted that last year men’s basketball team earned a share
of the Southland Conference Championship and Coach Billy Kennedy garnered
four coach of the year honors. Women’s basketball earned its first-ever
win in a Southland Conference tournament game and advanced to the semi-finals,
and the soccer team won consecutive conference championships in 2002-2003.
He cited accomplishments of other teams as well, and noted that a number
of Southeastern athletes earned “newcomer of the year” and “player of the
Athletic Director Frank Pergolizzi
pointed to the academic success of Southeastern student-athletes, in which
11 student-athletes had perfect 4.0 grade point averages, and 100 others
had GPAs of 3.0 or better. In addition, 64 Southeastern athletes were named
to the Commissioner’s Honor Roll, the highest number of any school in the
Pergolizzi said some of the funds raised
in the campaign were used in the refurbishment of the athletic building.
Improvements included a renovated football locker room and coaches offices,
new meeting space, and a new baseball locker room and coaches offices.