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Football: Bustle gets vote of confidence

Football: Bustle gets vote of confidence

Football: Bustle gets vote of confidence

The UL athletic department released a written statement Monday in support of football coach Rickey Bustle, whose squad finished a 3-9 season with a 17-11 home loss to UL Monroe Saturday at Cajun Field.

Bustle, ending his sixth season as head coach of the program, said Monday he was happy with the vote of confidence, and said that he would retain all members of his current coaching staff.

"I’m not making any changes," Bustle said. "If opportunities come up for those guys, obviously things could change, but I’m not doing anything."

The statement made reference to three narrow home losses – an overtime loss to Florida Atlantic, which will play for the Sun Belt Conference title this weekend, and last-minute defeats against Ohio and ULM – that separated the Cajuns from a 6-6 record and bowl eligibility.

"The university believes that Coach Bustle is the right coach to lead our program," athletic director David Walker said in the statement. "The administration understands the disappointment of this season, but Coach Bustle and his staff have raised the standards by which our football program is judged and, therefore, the expectations.

"The fan support, as well as the financial support, for Cajun football continues to grow, and the university is very optimistic and excited about the future. The addition of the indoor practice facility and plans for more facility improvements will allow the program to continue to attract quality student-athletes.

"The administration is committed to supporting Coach Bustle and our football program, and we are very excited about our potential for success."

The Cajuns won two of their last three games, including road wins at Middle Tennessee and Florida International, and finished 3-4 in Sun Belt play to tie for fifth with ULM in the eight-team league. UL had been picked to finish fourth and fifth in the league’s preseason coaches and media polls, respectively.

The statement referred to a school-record grade point average for the football team in the 2007 spring semester, breaking the mark set in 2005, and cited an increase in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate from 890 to 945. The APR has a 925 cutoff for teams to avoid penalties.

"It means a lot anytime you are in this business," Bustle said of the statement. "It means a lot to have the administration back you because they are the ones that run this university. Our coaches are excited about the future of this program. We’re excited about the youth movement that we have.

"I think we have brought more expectations to this program, and I’m very excited that they feel we are the ones that can get this done."