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Heymann Classic recalls Herbert’s impact, passion

His name is still attached to UL’s football season opener, seven years later, as well it should be.

Arguably, no one individual outside of the Ragin’ Cajun athletic department ever had more of an impact on the UL program than Herbert Heymann. Saturday’s renewal of the Herbert Heymann Football Classic, when the Cajuns host Ohio at Cajun Field, is another recognition of that impact.

"Herbert Heymann approached the beginning of every fall season with unbelievable enthusiasm for our teams," said long-time UL athletic director Nelson Schexnayder. "It’s only fitting that we begin our home football season in his memory every year."

That tradition began in 2001, not long after the prominent Lafayette businessman and community pillar – and unabashed Cajun fan – passed away in April of that year. Three months later, the university announced that the first football game each year would carry Heymann’s name.

"The university wanted to honor Herbert in some way for all the contributions he made over the years," said UL president Ray Authement. "We felt there was no better way to do it than in athletics. He had such an enormous passion for the Ragin’ Cajuns, and this is a way to remember that passion."

It would be hard to forget. The Heymann name is attached to so many facets of the Lafayette community, and his assistance to causes and community projects was legendary.

But if there was one true love among those causes, it was those that wore Cajun uniforms. They were in many ways an extended family.

Heymann sat on the committee that was responsible for Cajun Field’s construction. His fund-raiser tournament helped bankroll UL’s golf team for many years. His behind-the-scenes philanthropy helped the program grow in countless ways. Rare was there a football game he didn’t attend, whether it was home or away.

Seven years later, we don’t need to forget all that he did. That’s why, on Saturday, his name will be up there on the scoreboard once again.

Dan McDonald, Daily Advertiser, Septbmber 5, 2007