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Baseball: Cajuns Excel in Classroom

Baseball: Cajuns Excel in Classroom

Baseball: Cajuns Excel in Classroom

Dan McDonald

By NCAA rules, the University of Louisiana baseball team could put its fourth baseball coaching position, the volunteer coach, on the field full-time.
Ragin’ Cajun head coach Tony Robichaux, though, felt that Chris Domingue would be more valuable to the program as the team’s academic guru, and it’s hard to argue with his logic – or with success.

"We saw the APR (Academic Progress Rate) and graduation rates coming," Robichaux said, "and we realized how important it was going to be for us to have somebody whose primary responsibility was assisting our kids in that area."

That became Domingue’s primary responsibility when he joined the Cajun staff four years ago as the team’s volunteer assistant coach and the Cajuns’ overall team grade point average was a 2.4.
One year later, it was 2.87 and 17 players made the Dean’s List. In the spring of 2004, that number grew to 18, four of eight seniors received diplomas at home plate to end the season and the other four graduated the following semester.

Twenty-five players finished the 2004 fall term with a 3.0, and that number went to an all-time high of 29 last fall with 13 at 3.5 or higher. The team’s GPA was an all-time high 3.10, even though more than a couple are in majors such as engineering and pre-med.

"I really believe it’s because we brought some structure and accountability to the players," Domingue said. "There’s 50 guys that we track on a daily basis, and they know they’re responsible for their actions.

"We treat it like the business world. If you don’t do things in a timely manner, turn in grade check folders on time or you aren’t in class, you’re accountable for that."

"It’s a big workload for a Division I student-athlete," Robichaux said, "with all the time they put in out here and preparing themselves, and what they have to do academically. He (Domingue) assists them, both with their academic situations and helping them manage their time so that they can be successful."

Domingue has to follow many of his own time-management rules between UL baseball, his family and his full-time job as a Lafayette firefighter for the past 23 years, currently serving as fire captain.

"The key word there is volunteer," Robichaux said. "Legally the university can’t pay him for his services, but he saw a need in our program and he’s filled that need."

Domingue, a 13-year veteran of American Legion baseball coaching with one state Legion title to his credit, serves as liaison between the baseball team and UL’s Student-Athlete Center, the athletic department’s office that handles academic concerns.

"They’ve got over 300 athletes they work with," Robichaux said of the Student-Athlete Center. "Anything we can do to help them and to give our kids a chance to succeed academically is worth the effort."

"We’re lucky to be in a position to have someone that can monitor academics pretty much full-time," Domingue said. "We gave up a coaching position on the field, that’s how important Coach Robe thinks it is."

UL baseball fall GPA’s

Players with a 4.00 GPA (2)

Matt Bounds; Geoff Craig

Players with a 3.50 to 3.99 (13)

Matt Casbon, Chris Caswell, Jonathan Cottrell, Danny Farquhar, Blaine LaFleur, Jonathan Lucroy, Cody Martin, Dustin Miller, Phillip Nevels, Jameson Parker, Alex Preciado, Chase Richard, Steven Schroeder.

Players with a 3.00 to 3.49 (14)

Devon Bourque, Jeremy Collins, Grant Derouen, Nolan Gisclair, Gregory Harmon, Hatt Hicks, Andrew Laughter,

Jeremy Lucroy, Matt Pilgreen, Justin Randa, Ty Rasmussen, Brandt Sanders, Tim Santiago, Jefferies Tatford.

Originally published February 13, 2006