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Athletics: Remembering UL staffer Wiltz – ‘Mr. Leonard was such a good person’

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, March 22, 2019

Back before UL had a shiny 18-wheeler to tote its football equipment to games throughout the country, the Ragin’ Cajuns often utilized a Ryder rental truck.

Typically behind the wheel was either Leonard Wiltz or Lloyd Darby, both longtime UL employees who for many seasons left behind their real jobs at the school and hit the road on a half-dozen or so weekends each fall.

“They would alternate (driving) so they wouldn’t have to stop,” former Cajuns football player and assistant coach Gerald Broussard said.

The pair would deliver equipment to the visitors’ locker room at opposing stadiums, including SEC and Sun Belt Conference venues, then oversee the packing of it all and the return trip to Lafayette.

The two also have been fixtures at UL athletic events over the years, doing everything from maintaining the grounds and facilities to setting up before and breaking down after games of all sorts.

Wiltz, however, was lost on March 14, when the 59-year-old died peacefully at his Lafayette home, according to his obituary.

More: UL mourning loss of athletics staffers Williams, Wiltz

Lloyd Darby, left, and the late Leonard Wiltz, right, have devoted years of serve to the UL athletic program. Wiltz will be laid to rest Saturday.

Lloyd Darby, left, and the late Leonard Wiltz, right, have devoted years of serve to the UL athletic program. Wiltz will be laid to rest Saturday. (Photo: RaginCajuns.com)

Services will be held 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Lafayette, preceded by visitation at 8 a.m. and recitation of the Rosary at 9:30 a.m.  

The 1977 Lafayette High graduate retired from UL after 35 years of service, then later returned as a part-time employee in the athletic department, giving him more than 40 years with the school.

He and Darby often spent plenty of time in the Cajuns’ football equipment room, frequently helping out longtime UL equipment manager Lynn Williams with his duties.

And six days after Wiltz passed, Williams died as well. He will be laid to rest Tuesday, with Darby serving as one of his pall bearers.

MORE: UL equipment manager Williams: A pro who liked to play

To many, the trio often seemed connected at the hip.

“Leonard, Lloyd, Big Lynn — those three — when you think of them, if you saw one you saw the other two, usually,” former UL and ex-NFL quarterback Jake Delhomme told The Daily Advertiser.

“You never see Leonard without Lloyd and you never see Lloyd without Leonard,” Broussard added, “and they were always there to see Big Lynn.”

More: Local football legends Faulk, Delhomme enjoying NFL playoffs

Wiltz and Williams are being mourned by the UL athletic department and remembered for their work ethic.

“Both Leonard and Lynn dedicated their lives to the service of the University of Louisiana and its student-athletes,” UL athletic director Bryan Maggard said in a statement. “The impact they had on so many people will serve as their legacy, and both will be dearly missed.”

“Just smiles. Work. Pride,” Delhomme added, sharing what he recalled most about the two. “They were just so prideful about the university, and so diligent about their work.”

Mark Hudspeth, UL’s head football coach from 2011-17, remembered Wiltz for his time behind the wheel and all the hours he devoted to the team.

“Mr. Leonard was such a good person. Always enjoyed having him along for all of the road trips,” said Hudspeth, now the head coach at Austin Peay University in Tennessee.  “He always made sure I had everything I needed. Our prayers are with his family.”