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Spotlight on Former Athlete: Dianne Lowings – Women’s Tennis 1984-87

Lowings feels at home in south Louisiana

April 2014 Spotlight of Former Athlete Feature

By Bruce Brown
Written for Athletic Network

Dianne Lowings came a long way to play tennis for UL’s Ragin’ Cajun women in the 1980’s, went a long way away to improve her game, then came full circle to Lafayette once more to make a living in the sport.
The South African arrived in 1985 and promptly helped the Cajuns to the 1986 Southland Conference women’s championship, capturing both singles and doubles titles.
Playing No. 1 for coach Linda Tuero’s 15-6 team, Lowings was 19-7 in singles and 18-5 in doubles.
Although the team slipped to 11-13 in 1987, Lowings was even better. She compiled a near-perfect 23-2 mark in singles and was 15-5 in doubles.
“Linda Tuero was recruiting a friend of mine in South Africa, and the friend said that they were looking for players and that I should come over to the States,” Lowings said. “So, I called.
“Eventually I brought some friends with me. It led to other South Africans coming here.”
Lowings had played in the Orange Bowl and other tournaments as a junior standout, but she was still a long way from home.
She went even further away the next year, transferring to U.S. International in San Diego to challenge herself with stronger competition.
“Some of the teams we played (at UL) were tough,” Lowings said, “but others couldn’t field a complete team. U.S. International was a Top 25 program and played a good schedule.”
Lowings redshirted one year, then finished her collegiate career on the West Coast.
But South Louisiana had seeped into her veins, and she returned to UL to earn a graduate degree in education.
“I came back, so obviously Ioved it here,” said Lowings, the director of tennis at Red Lerille’s. “I enjoy the teaching aspect of it. I taught on the side back in South Africa. I would have loved to have gone into physical therapy, but it wasn’t offered at the time.
“In teaching, I enjoy when the person you’re working with finally gets it. I have a passion for the game and love to put it forth, love to teach it. I like to see improvement with a client, that time when they’ve actually got it.”
After 3 years in San Diego, Lowings worked on the staff of former Cajun men’s star Paul Griffith at Oakbourne Country Club while in graduate school and also helped as a graduate assistant with the UL program.
Next came the chance to join ex-UL All-American Ashley Rhoney at Red’s, and Lowings has been at that landmark health club for 21 years.
“I love my job, and I’ll keep doing it as long as my body holds out,” she said. “Every hour is a different hour. I work with such a wide variety of people.”
In her playing days, Lowings was known for both power and finesse.
“My forehand was my weapon, and I had a big serve,” Lowings said. “And, I could volley. I was a good doubles player. I loved doubles.
“Doubles is not stressed in the States. We were a lot more doubles oriented. It’s the way you play. When you entered a tournament, you entered three divisions – singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
“When I was growing up, you played all day. When we won conference, it came down to the doubles.”
A card-carrying member of Old School tennis, Lowings misses the old format for college matches of 6 singles and 3 doubles matches – in that order, and with each match counting the same. Many 2-4 singles deficits could be reversed with a 3-0 sweep of doubles, resulting in a 5-4 dual match victory.
“I remember a great (men’s) match, when Ashley and Bret Garnett were No. 1, going against Tennessee,” Lowings said.
Equipment has also changed greatly, with racquets altering strategy and widening the field of participants.
“When I grew up, we sliced and came in a lot,” Lowings said. “Now, the racquets are lighter, the sweet spot is bigger and the strings are different. You can put more spin on the ball. You can hit harder and stay back. Now, the only time players come to the net is to shake hands.
“A lot of players want to hit the ball hard. Technology helps ladies stay in a match. Half of them would not be able to play with a wood racquet. Lightness does a lot for you.”
Still, Lowings misses a bygone part of the game.
“I like craftiness, thinking through the match,” she said. “The art of tennis has been taken away.”
Lowings will long remember the artistry it took for her to defeat LSU’s No. 1 player in dual match play, as well as facing the LSU twin tandem of Dee Ann and Dana Dee Watlington. Matches with Tulane were also intense events.
But Cajun fans might never have heard of Lowings if she had continued an early athletic path.
“Field hockey was my first love,” she said. “It was a school sport, and my family all played. My aunt captained the South African team. It’s like soccer, 11 on a side, except that it’s played with a ball and a stick. It’s a little bit like lacrosse.
“The team aspect was nice, too.”
Tennis was Lowings’ ticket to South Louisiana, and she has remained glad of her choice to make a phone call nearly 30 years ago.
“Lafayette is such a friendly town,” she said. “I love living here.”

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ictured Pictured above is Dianne and 1987 Women’s Tennis Team. 

Pictured above are Sherry Richard Lebas, Dianne Lowings, Meg Scopes Cook, Madelyn Boustany Juneau, and Milou Israel at the 2013 Tennis Reunion.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Our rich athletic traditions were entrusted to the vision, hope, loyalty, and dedication of those former athletes and we will forever owe them a debt of sincere gratitude. May God bless each of them and their families.

Anyone with information, materials, pictures, memorabilia, etc., of the university’s former athletic program participants is requested to contact Ed Dugas at athleticnetwork@louisiana.edu Thank you.

The Photo Gallery Link located on the left side of the home page at www.athleticnetwork.net contains over 12,000 pictures of former and current athletes and support groups. Just click on photo gallery and when the menu appears, click on the sport or support group you wish to view. The years of pictures posted for that team or group will appear and you may click on the year you wish to view. One click on a thumbnail picture or narrative and it is enlarged; a click on the enlarged photo and it reverts back to the thumbnail.

The Athletic Network seeks to post pictures of each team and support group for each year they represented the university.

The stories of the previous honorees featured in the Spotlight on Former Athletes have been moved from the News Page to the Archived News Page. Please click on the title of any current news story, then the Archived News link in the upper left to go to the Archived News Calendar.

The Spotlight on Former Athletes announcement has also been placed in the profile of each honoree, excluding the pictures.

Bruce Brown continued as feature writer.
January – focused on expanded photo gallery, including 60? additional videos of game/season highlights for Baseball, Basketball (M), Football, Softball, and Track & Field from 1962-2013.
February – Catherine Cassidy – Women’s Basketball 1993-94
March – Brandon Stokley – Football 1995-98
April – Rickey Broussard – Baseball 1967-70 & Coaches 1984-86

Bruce Brown continued as feature writer.
May – Tennis Program – April 19-20 Reunion – Simmons, Cook, Albertine
June – Stefni Whitton Lotief –  Softball 1987-90, Coach 1995-97 & 2000-12
July – Tony Robichaux – Baseball 1984 and Coach 1994 – present
August – Jake Delhomme – Football 1993-96
September – Judi Ford Nash – Gymnastics & Trampoline 1967 & 68, Miss America 1969
October – Ursula Quoyeser – Softball & Volleyball 1981-84, Coaches 1984-86
November – USL Sweethearts 1960-81 – performance & service dance teams.
December – Michael Allen – Men’s Basketball 1991-94

Bruce Brown continued as feature writer.
January – Ruthie Dugal, Women’s Basketball 1970-73, Volleyball 71-74, Coaching 1974 & 75.
February – Eric Mouton, Men’s Basketball 1987-92, Coaching 1994-97
March – Robert Dunphy, Baseball 1979-82
April – Dawn Broussard, Track & Field 1985-89
May – William C. "Trey" Coker, III Golf 1990-93
June – Danny, Baseball, 1977 & 78, and Meg Scopes Cook, Tennis 77 & 78, Coaches 78-84
July – Dr. Johnny Mack Hollier, Track & Field 1969-71 and Band 1969-71
August – John Bordelon, Football 1973-76
September – Courtney Hofland, Soccer 2006-2010
October – Anna Petrakova, Women’s Basketball 2001-05
November – Yvette Girouard, Volleyball 1972-75, Head Softball Coach 1981-2000
December – Byron Starks, Men’s Basketball 1990-94 and Coach 2007-09

Bruce Brown continued as feature writer.
January – Ashley Rhoney and Bret Garnett 1988 Tennis
February – Craig Perks Golf 1989 & 90
March – Eddie Baseball/Basketball 60-63,Coach 67;Ross Mouton Basketball 03-07
April – Kim Eisnaugle Chaffin Softball 1983-86
May – Grady Labbe’ Hunt Track & Field 1989-1994
June – Mike Heinen Golf 1986-89
July – Kyla Hall Holas Softball 1991-94
August – Charles Wimberley Track & Field 1953-56
September – Chris Gannon Football 1984-88, Coaches 1995-2000
October – Anne Corbello, Soccer 2000-02, and Ashley Delahoussaye, Soccer 2000-04
November – Nia Kiggundu Volleyball 1993-96

Bruce Brown became feature writer.
January – Andrew Toney Men’s Basketball 1976-80.
February – Orlando Thomas Football 1991-94.
March – Rocky Guidry Football 1990-93, Track & Field 1991-94.
April – Track & Field Network & March 20, 2010 1st Annual Track & Field Reunion.
May – Keisha Ray Owens Williams Track & Field 1991-96.
June – 2000 College World Series Baseball Team.
July – Thirty Years of UL Softball.
August – 1970 Cajuns Measured Up (Football).
September – Boxing Program (1930-1947).
October – Dr. Sam Foreman Baseball & Basketball 1940-42
November – Rhonda McCullough, Women’s Basketball 1986-90
December – Athletic Network-from concept to reality-its mission and practices

Ed Dugas served as feature writer.
January – Tim Thompson Men’s Basketball 1957-61.
February – Gene Bacque Baseball 1956 & 57.
March – Dr. Louis Bowers – Tennis 1956-58, Track 1955, Coaches 1964-66.
April – Dr. Carter Lomax, Jr. Tennis 1974-76.
May – Johnny Morris, Jr. Football 1927-29,Men’s Basketball 1927-30,Track & Field 1928-30, Golf 1927-28, Coaches 1947-49 .
June – S.L.I.I. Athletic Pioneers I
July – S.L.I.I. Athletic Pioneers II
August – 1912 – A Special Year – First L’Acadien
September – Glenn Davis Lafleur Football 1966-69
October – Bill Bass – Boxing 1938 & 39, Football 1938-40, Coach 1971-75 & 1983
November – Tom Nolan – Cross Country & Track & Field 1971-76, Coaches 1978-83
December – Military Personnel – Military Page posted

Ed Dugas served as feature writer.
January – Alvin Dark Football, ’43; Basketball, Baseball, Golf, Track, ’44; Coaches, 1947.
February – Alyson Habetz Women’s Basketball 1991-95 and Softball, 1991-94.
March – Ron Guidry Baseball 1968-70.
April – Edgar "Glynn" Abel Baseball 1939, Track & Field 1937-39, Football 1937-39.
May -Christian Keener "Red" Cagle Baseball 1925-26, Basketball (M) 1922-26, Football 1922-25.
June – Paul "Buddy" Short Golf 1962-65.
July – Louis "Louie" Campbell Boxing and Football 1940-41.
August – Dudley Wilkins Track & Field 1933-35.
September – Brad Hamilton Football 1963-66.
October – Brian Mitchell Football 1986-89.
November – Kimberly "Kim" Callaway Morvant Volleyball 1988-91.
December – Kenneth "Mike" Stansbury Weightlifting 1956 – 1957.


Ed Dugas served as the initial feature writer and continued until Bruce Brown began writing in 2010.
June – Michael Langston Football 1973-77;
July – Hollis Conway Track & Field 1986-89;
August – Leigh Hennessy Gymnastics/Trampoline 1976-1980;
September – Dean Church Basketball (M) 1961-65;
October – Dr. David Fisher Football 1946-49 Track & Field 1947-50;
November – Kim Perrot Basketball (W) 1986-90;
December – John McDonnell Cross Country/Track & Field 1966-1969;

Peace, Ed Dugas

Ed Dugas, Research Coordinator
Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Network