home sitesearch sitemap contact fan about
  Submit/Update Profile  

Search the Network:

Former Women’s Basketball: UL honoring Kim Perrot’s impact with memorial weekend

Kevin Foote, The Advertiser, January 10, 2015



Houston Comets’ Kim Perrot (10) steals the ball away from New York Liberty’s Teresa Weatherspoon (11) on June 13, 1998, in Houston. (Photo: File, AP)


Former UL women’s basketball coach Ross Cook remembers the national signing day that Kim Perrot committed to play for the Ragin’ Cajuns very well.

He arrived at her home early that morning with all the official NCAA papers. There was no fanfare. No big party. It was simply Cook and Perrot discussing her future.

"I told her, "I want you to play for me’," Cook recollects, "but I also want what’s best for you."

You see, Cook was already convinced that Perrot was one of the best point guards in America … even though the nation, and nearly everyone in Lafayette, didn’t realize it yet.

So before Cook allowed Perrot to sign on the dotted line, he made her an offer.

"I told her that I know this should be USC, Texas, Louisiana Tech, name the school, sitting here today," Cook said. "You know you’re the best point guard in the country and I know it. I believe in you."

So as much as Cook wanted to sign her, he made Perrot an offer that he’d let out their big secret to the biggest programs in the country if that’s what she wanted. He told her that he had all of their phone numbers and would deliver her to the one she wanted if that was her dream.

Perrot told him that she didn’t want it to be handled that way. Basically, if it happened naturally, she’d consider it, but if not, she was signing with the Cajuns.

So the two agreed to meet back again at noon.

When they reconvened, Perrot told him, "Let’s do this thing."

Three decades later, UL will be recognizing all the achievements that followed that decision when Perrot’s No. 12 banner will be unveiled in the Cajundome rafters forever more during Saturday’s 5 p.m. home women’s game against South Alabama.

It’s all part of the Kim Perrot Memorial Weekend, which will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday with a banquet and social at the Petroleum Club.

"I’m so glad they’re recognizing her," said Cook, who currently lives in Boise, Idaho but plans on making the trip for the ceremony next weekend. "I love that kid."

As it turned out, Cook was right about Perrot from the start.

Her greatness was revealed in so many ways during her four-year career at UL (1986-90) — from the 58-point performance against SLU in 1990 that still stands No. 2 on the NCAA’s all-time single-game scoring list to leading the nation in scoring at 30.0 points a game in her senior season, which still stands as the ninth-highest scoring average in NCAA history.

She still remains in the NCAA’s all-time record book in single-season steals and steals average.

After playing in Europe throughout most of the 1990s, Perrot got her big professional break by being signed out of a tryout with the star-studded Houston Comets. In her two seasons as the Comets’ starting point guard in 1997 and 1998, Perrot was the floor leader for two WNBA championship teams.

Then tragedy struck with Perrot being diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer in 1999. After a six-month battle, she died on Aug. 19 of that year at the age of 32.

UL had actually retired Perrot jersey during halftime of a Louisiana Tech game on Feb. 26, 1998, a year before being diagnosed, but no banner was ever hung high up there near the Cajundome’s ceiling next to such men’s basketball legends as Bo Lamar and Andrew Toney as a reminder of her greatness.

"For me, this is such a joy," older sister Loretta Perrot Hunter said. "I’m not thinking, ‘It’s about time this is happening.’ I’m thinking that it’s happening in God’s time."

Perrot Hunter helps run Kim Perrot Vision of Life, which is "a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of after-school programs and advocating for quality, affordable (learning) programs for all children."

She recently moved back to Lafayette from the Houston area to bring Kim’s vision of helping the youth of America back home.

In Houston, Kim Perrot’s name continues to have a major impact. In the MD Anderson Cancer Center, there’s ‘Kim’s Place’ — a designated area where kids with cancer can play games, participate in sports or just relax in a fun atmosphere.

The WNBA still gives out two major awards in her honor — the Kim Perrot Leadership Award and the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award.

The Comets officially retired her No. 10 jersey on July 29, 2000.

"It’s all very special," Perrot Hunter said. "It’s even more special to be able to bring it home, though. It was always a dream of Kim’s to be able to reach out to the community she grew up in and help the kids, give back."

The basketball court at the Martin Luther King Center on Cora Street in Lafayette has now been named after Kim.

It was on that court where Kim’s legendary skills were born.

Initially, Perrot Hunter wanted no part of her younger sister’s love for the game in those days. So when their mother, Consuella, made her take Kim to games or practice and wait for her, big sister wasn’t happy about it.

"Sports wasn’t me," Perrot Hunter said. "I was a lot more girly. I was into making sure everybody hair was combed and learning how to cook. I had no interest in playing sports and getting all beat up and all scarred up."

But by the time Kim was in the seventh grade – and played organized hoops on the boys team – big sister began to take notice.

"That’s when I started realizing how good she was," Perrot Hunter said.

Soon after that, Cook began to acquaint himself with Perrot, or rather Kim Menard.

Menard was her mother’s maiden name and Perrot Hunter remembers so many people having trouble pronouncing ‘Perrot’ properly that they tried Menard Perrot for a while and then eventually settled on just Menard. By the time she was earning All-State honors at Acadiana High, she had gone back to Perrot.

It was about that time that Perrot began making a name for herself on the national AAU circuits. At the time, Cook was at Oregon State, and certainly knew of this skilled guard from Louisiana named "Kim Menard."

So when Cook accepted the job as the Cajuns’ head coach for the 1983-84 season, he called AAU guru Charlie Domino in New Orleans to find out where Kim Menard was.

"He (Domino) told me, ‘You’re not going to believe this. You’re the luckiest man in the world.’" Cook laughed.

Yes indeed, Kim Menard was now Kim Perrot again and playing high school basketball in the very city Cook had just moved to. And even better, apparently the powerhouse coaches around the country had lost track of her due to the name change.

So once Cook offered Perrot a chance at the big time and she went with the coach that showed interest in her all along, as the story goes, he began to try to mold her.

"Look, Kim was an incredible talent," Cook said. "She had tremendous skills. The things that I taught her were the silly little things. I taught her to back up (both with the ball on the court and generally in life), to stop and take a look at herself.

"Once she learned how to back up (on the court) and get space, she was unstoppable."

Cook said Perrot was always very open to learning all she could learn.

"She wasn’t afraid to be a little worse today to be better tomorrow," he said. "She was hard. She worked hard and she played hard. She wanted excellence."

Long before Perrot became a household name in sports circles nationally with the Houston Comets, she was establishing long-lasting records with the Cajuns. Perrot is still the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,157 points and is also the program’s all-time leader in assists (654) and steals (421).

She still owns 19 school records.

In those days, the Cajuns competed against top-notch competition, including the likes of Louisiana Tech.

"We played against a Final Four team every year I was there," Cook said. "I can remember some great battles between Kim and (Louisiana Tech All-American and Olympian Teresa) Weatherspoon.

"It was literally two of the best point guards there’s ever been just going at each other. (La. Tech coach) Leon (Barmore) and I would just look over at each other and smile."

Kim Perrot social tickets on sale

Tickets for the Kim Perrot Social Dinner are currently on sale between 3 and 7 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Center, located at 309 Cora St. in Lafayette.

The dinner will be held on Friday, Jan. 16 at the Petroleum Club as the tip-off event for the weekend that honors former UL and Houston Comets basketball great Kim Perrot, whose No. 12 jersey number will be retired prior to the UL women’s game on Saturday, Jan. 17.

The ticket price of $25 includes admission into the Friday social, which will include special guests and live entertainment, and tickets the 5 p.m. game against South Alabama.

Any group of five or more wishing to purchase tickets should contact Loretta at (832) 461-7787 or Eric at (832) 863-0363.

Click here for Kim Perrot’s Athletic Network profile.