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Long Gym Improving

Long Gym Improving

This story about the new floor being installed in Long Gym was posted on June 29, 2005 and is followed by fond memories which were submitted by former athletes and others. The variety of memories make for interesting reading.
You are encouraged to email the Athletic Network with your fond memories of Long Gym. Help document this history, which only current/former athletes, their support groups and fans may provide.

Bruce Brown

J. Kelley Hall has brought a new look to Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns women’s basketball, reaching unprecedented heights with an appearance in the 2005 Sun Belt Conference championship game.

Now the Cajuns are going to have a new-look floor to go with their success on the court.

A $150,000 project is well under way to replace the floor at Earl K. Long Gym on campus, where the Cajuns were unbeaten last season, and results are already evident.

"The floor has been laid," Hall said. "They still need to sand it, then seal it, paint it and then they’ll seal in again, but it’s nailed in."

Originally, the university had received estimates on repairing a portion of the floor that had been damaged by water.

But officials were able to strike a deal that would produce an entire new floor for a reasonable fee.

The light-colored maple wood floor will have a large, black "UL" symbol at midcourt, with "Louisiana" in small script. There will also be the mandatory "Sun Belt Conference" logo included in the new look.

"It looks like it will take two weeks, max, to finish the job," said Hall, who is expecting to sign a new multi-year contract with UL as soon as details of the contract are finalized.

Under Hall, the Cajuns have improved from 8-19 to 13-15 and to 22-9 last season.

Fan support has grown with that success, and the resultant increased volume of noise at Long Gym was a contributing factor as UL won the Sun Belt Western Division with a thrilling 66-64 Feb. 26 win over Arkansas State.

The revamped floor is another example of the program’s rebirth.

Earl K. Long was home to the Cajun men’s program until 1950, when the program shifted to Blackham Coliseum on Johnston Street.

The Cajuns moved into the Cajundome in time for the 1985-86 season.

UL women have since established Long Gym as their main home, with occasional games played at the Cajundome in conference doubleheaders with the Cajun men.

Originally published June 29, 2005

Submitted June 29, 2005
Yes, I recall Paul Harvey speaking there. I brought him to speak there as President of Blue Key. Of course sweat on that floor connotes other memories!
M.Doug Adkins, Basketball 55-57.

Submitted June 29, 2005
I was at UL-Lafayette (then S.L.I.) during WWII and school dances were held in Long Gym. In fact, during that time we had a "Victory Queen" and her court. Nita Overby was queen for the last one (1945, I believe) and I was a maid in her court.
I also remember attending big band concerts at Long Gym – The Glenn Miller Band (which was led by one of his band members after his death), Stan Kenton, and several others now out of my memory.
I’m so glad the new floor is being installed. I am a women’s basketball fan and really enjoy attending games in Long Gym. I was not a basketball fan until the late 70’s, but most of my friends remember all the men’s games in Long Gym.
Thanks for the good work you do on the Athletic Network,
Willanna James, Red Jackets, 1942-46.

Submitted June 29, 2005
Yes, I do, and I remember (Paul Harvey’s presentation) that a few "pointy headed" professors made a point of getting up and walking out.
Marion Stewart, Men’s Basketball, 1955-59

Submited June 29, 2005
I believe Long Gym was the location of the student dances (especially fraternity/sorority), special dances, and some entertainment in 1953 and 1954.
If I am correct it was the site of our super exciting concert by Louis Armstrong and his band.
What a night for us students to have Louie on our own campus!!
Regards, Jack Rousso, AN Fan and Alum

Submitted June 30, 2005
I remember taking PE with Dr. Ed Dugas in the gym and playing him in badminton. He would beat everyone he would play…and we had the best athletes in college in the class.

I also remember playing basketball games in the gym with the likes of Bo Lamar, Fred Saunders, Jerry Bisbano, Tree Lofton and the rest of the great players in basketball, football, baseball, track & field and the rest of the sports.

Another memory of the old gym was how hot it was. All this was in the early seventies.

Bob Savoy, Football 1970; Spotter for Trampoline; student, 1970-75.

Submitted July 1, 2005
1957-1958 was the first year for Beryl Shipley and my personal introduction to Long Gym. I remember flying to Lafayette from Ashland, Kentucky in the summer of 1957 with two of my high school teammates.
My most vivid memory is still the heat that we found in the gym as we all worked out that summer. No air conditioning – just big fans that had little effect on the heat.
We also played our regular season games there. I have only very fond memories of that time I was at then SLI and being part of the first USL graduating class in 1961.
Howard Humphreys, Men’s Basketball, 1957-61.

Submitted July 1, 2005
Yes, I remember being at the Paul Harvey speech at Long. Also around that time was a concert by one of those groups of the time, I think it was Peter, Paul and Mary. They had just gotten started on the concert when a severe rainstorm with lighting knocked out all the power and after a few minutes with the rain beating on the roof, and dim lighting, they started singing acappella some song about rain and, after it ended, I never heard such applause.
That dimly lit place also was the scene of a freshman game when we [and I use the term WE liberally] beat one of the supposedly best recruiting classes in the nation at Loyola. They complained after the game about the poor lighting and proved they were right when we went to their place later in the year and they killed us by some ungodly score.
But most of all I remember my years there with that crazed redheaded coach that had the idea of Long practices, Long lessons on the art of taking the lick, and Long trips running those stairs for some reason or the other . . . and those great friends . . . my teammates.
Long live The Long

Finley Stamatis, Men’s Basketball, 59-61.

Submitted July 2, 2005
Southwestern Sign on Long Gym
In 1941-42, I was President of the Freshman Class at S.L.I. As a lasting remembrance from our class, we had the "Southwestern" Sign made and placed over the North Gate (corner of University and Johnston Street). The sign was installed there; however, it only remained for a short time as the Alumni began calling President Dr. Joel L. Fletcher requesting that it be removed as it made the College look like the entrance to a "Nite Club".
In order that the sign be put to some use, it was installed on the front of Long Gym where, after over 60 years, it still remains. After many wonderful name changes, it still reminds a number of us "old timers" that it will always be "Southwestern".
George Berry – Class of 1947; Cheerleader, 1942-47.

Athletic Network Note: To view the sign which George refers to, click on Photo Gallery, then Men’s Basketball, then Basketball Reunion Jan. 18, 2003, then Earl K. Long Gym, the picture at the top left may be clicked on and enlarged. Thank you, George, for enlightening us about the sign.

Submitted July 2, 2005
In addition to having the high honor of teaching in Long Gym for 23 years (2 UG, 1 G, and 1967-86 as a full time faculty member – HPE moved to Bourgeois Hall in Jan. 1987), one of my fond memories is the picture taken in Long Gym on Nov. 3, 2001 for the Shipley Reunion. Former players and coaches in the picture were from the 1957-73 era, affectionately known as the "Shipley Era." To view this picture, click on the Photo Gallery, then Men’s Basketball, then Shipley Reunion Nov. 2-3, 2001, then click on the thumbnail to see the enlarged picture. It was my pleasure to attend the basketball games beginning in 1967 with one of my mentors and close friend, Dutch Reinhardt, who loved the chairback seats over the front door of Blackham Colesium.
Ed Dugas, Shipley Reunion Coordinator; UL Kinesiology Faculty, 1967-2001.

Submitted July 5, 2005

I saw the update on the renovations to Long Gym.

The first thing that came to my mind was one thing back in the summer of 1986. As all the teams did, we used to play pick up games there in the late afternoon/early evening. It was always the same cast of characters that would play. However, a quiet guy from Lake Charles showed up and wanted to play. He never said two words but he could light it up. It was Joe Dumars. He would battle with Cedric Hill.

Stephen Beene, Men’s Basketball, 1985-88.

Submitted July 7, 2005
I started at SLI in July of 1943 as a dewey-eyed freshman, barely 16 years old and totally awed by all the V-12 Marines and sailors who were also just arriving. Consequently, my fondest memories of the "Boys’ Gym" are connected with the wonderful evenings spent dancing to the music of the V-12 Band and meeting all these young men from such far away places as New York, Philadelphia, Chicago-as well as Texas and Virginia.
The special programs such as Camellia Pageants and orchestras like Stan Kenton, that we stood and listened to, were treats after a week of classes and studying. The only athletic event I went to was a boxing match and only because a boyfriend was boxing.
I supported athletics in my way as a Red Jacket, marching in the rain, cold and on some great evenings when the fantastic team we had made you forget any discomfort in the excitement of winning with the likes of Alvin Dark, Earl Humphries, Weldon Humble and so many more.
What glory days those were!

Phyllis Fairchild, Red Jackets, 1944-46.

Submitted July 18, 2005

The Men’s Gym, that was the name we used, seemed to be the center of
activities during the four years I attended SLI. It all began with a
Freshmen assembly on one of the first days on campus where we were
introduced to President Fletcher.

The dances seem to be the most memorable. I remember the receiving
lines that seemed to always include Miss Edwards, Dean of Women, Miss
Roth, Assistant Dean of Women, and Dean of Men and often Mrs. Abel.
Almost everyone went through the line as they entered the gym. It was
expected of everyone. It was the thing to do. Between dances we sat in
the bleaches, but tried to dance every dance. Often we walked to the
dances from the dormitory as very few people had cars at that time even
if it was a formal dance. I remember the Red and White Formal for only
Red Jackets, Theta XI Christmas dances, Pan Hellenic Dances, Sadie
Hawkins Dances and many others. Stunt Night sponsored by the sororities
was also held at the gym.

We also went to the men’s basketball games. There were also the
assemblies with noted speakers. I remember the tapping of Blue Key and
Who’s Who being held during assemblies.

I love to look at the sign "Southwestern" on the gym. It brings back so
many wonderful memories of my days at Southwestern.

Amanita Robin Lamperez
Class of 1952
Red Jacket 1949-1952
Phi Delta Epsilon 1948-1952