Myles Casbon – Health & Physical Education, 1971; M. Ed., 1979
1971 – Health & Physical Education
It was late summer of 1968 when I arrived at USL. Why did I chose USL? Because I can still see my parents smiling when Vice President Blanco, formerly Coach Blanco, said, “If he plays football for USL for four years, he will get a degree.” I would be the first in my family to receive a college degree and that was important to my parents and me. Having never lived any place but New Orleans, USL was definitely a lifestyle change. As a native of New Orleans and a graduate of Holy Cross High School, I immediately fell in love with Lafayette and what was going to be my world for the next four years. My roommates ranged from Ken Rabalais, a Baton Rouge native who studied until all hours of the night, to Ed Doyle, a Michigan native who had a laugh that would rattle the windows. Fifty freshman football players on the sixth floor in McCullough Dorm were nothing anyone’s mother could envision. Shower stalls hadn’t been invented and restrooms were of the stadium variety. There was a TV room in the lobby where occasionally I would watch Star Trek or Laugh In. The best thing about USL was that everything I needed was within 15 to 20 minutes walking distance, which was great because freshman were not allowed to have cars on campus in 1968. Classes were all within a 15-minute walk. A night out for you and your date was a walk to “The Strip” and a walk back to her dorm before curfew. The new Center Cinema was a walk through Girard Park. Restaurants were Hoppers and McDonalds located on Johnston near the University.
During this time period, all young people were questioning political issues and parental values but that was not a problem for me. The choices were easy: pass and stay in school or quit and go to Vietnam, a very easy decision in my opinion. What a great time this was in a young person’s life: I had only two responsibilities–pass and play football. The most dominant person in my college life at that time was head football coach, Russ Faulkinberry. He was as big as a bear and just as scary at times, but there was no one on the USL team who would not sweat blood for him. We knew we were not the biggest or fastest team, but we also knew no one was in better condition or better prepared to win a game in the 4th quarter than we. His record during my four years there was 27-13-1, two Gulf States Conference championships and a trip to the Grantland Rice Bowl, now the Independence Bowl.
As a scholarship football player, I couldn’t imagine in my first impressions that these next four years were going to be some of the greatest times in the history of USL athletics. In the fall of my first year we played against two college and professional Hall of Famers: Roger Stauback and Terry Bradshaw. In winter, the basketball team was led by Bo Lamar and Marvin Winkler, both top draft picks, and for a leisurely spring day there was Lafayette’s own “Louisiana Lightning,” Hall of Famer, Ron Guidry.
USL was still in a transitional period moving from small time McNaspy Stadium to Cajunfield. At McNaspy, extra bleachers were literally hauled into the end zones for big games. I was a participant in one of USL’s greatest victories. A heavily favored Louisiana Tech team led by Terry Bradshaw came to USL with high hopes for an undefeated season and a conference championship and left with the sound of Cajun fans celebrating a 24-20 USL Ragin Cajun Victory. The only other time I felt such excitement and pride in our football team was when USL defeated Texas A&M.
Today much is said about the problems of athletes meeting academic requirements. At USL in the late sixties and early seventies, despite the troubled times of Vietnam and Watergate, I can still remember that we had six players who became doctors, two who became judges, and many others who are presently business and education leaders.
Earning a Bachelor of Science and Master of Education wasn’t necessarily easy for me, but the campus was alive with people eager to help you with any type of problem. As a physical education major it was great to walk in Earl K. Long Gym and have most of the department located in one office. I don’t remember ever having to make an appointment with Dr. Ed Dugas, Dr. May or Dr. Dave Fisher during the four years I attended USL. If they were in, these men would see you, no questions asked. I can also say the same for Dr. McCauley who guided me through the Masters Program at USL. After graduating from USL, I joined the staff at Northside High School. I was amazed at how well prepared I was for the teaching profession. Other jobs followed at De La Salle High, Eunice High, Crowley High, Judice Middle and I am presently employed at Acadiana High School as a discipline facilitator and coach.
Along with academics, relationships were formed that last a lifetime. I am proud to say I met my wife, Joan Hebert, mother of our three sons (Anthony, who attends USL at the present time, Michael and Matthew) while at USL. I have kept up a lifelong friendship with fellow football player Larry Sikes and wherever you meet someone from those times at USL, there is a bond that is undeniable.