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Men's Basketball: Shipley misses reunion, but isn’t forgotten by Ron Gomez, Acadiana Gazette

Men's Basketball: Shipley misses reunion, but isn’t forgotten by Ron Gomez, Acadiana Gazette

Shipley misses reunion, but isn’t forgotten

By Ron Gomez, Gazette Publisher

January 26, 2011
The Cajundome welcomed the largest basketball crowd of the season Saturday night as University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Ragin’ Cajuns responded to the excitement of the “Basketball is Back” reunion by defeating the ULMonroe team in a come-from-behind victory 84- 75. According to sources, new Head Basketball Coach Bob Marlin was the inspiration for the reunion. Marlin felt the university had not previously fully acknowledged nor taken advantage of its rich tradition in the basketball world. Under his leadership and prodding, Dr. Dan Carroll and a host of committee members organized the two-day event that culminated in more than a hundred former players, managers, trainers, play-byplay announcers, sports information directors and coaches converging on the UL campus and the Cajundome for reunion activities. Starting with a reception at the Alumni Center Friday evening, featuring a day of activities on campus Saturday and ending with another reception at the Mardi Gras Ballroom at the Cajundom, an autograph signing preceding the basketball game and finally closing with introductions on the court during halftime of the game, it was nearly 36 hours of activities for the attendees and fans. After the game, three former coaches held receptions for their players and friends at seperate venues. The only sad part of the entire event was the illnessdictated non-participation by former Head Basketball Coach Beryl Shipley. Shipley and his nationally recognized progam was the centerpiece of the acitvities. He was to recieve a specially conceived appreciation plaque at the Saturday night game events. Shipley became seriously ill just prior to Christmas. He insisted to the last minute that he would be on hand Saturday with “his boys” and, indeed, was being driven to the ‘Dome by former All-American Dean Church when he became too ill to attend. He was later taken to Lafayette General Medical Center for emergency treatment. As of Sunday, the coach was in good spirits, eating well and expected to be released to his home in a day or two. Shipley was visited at his home before and after the events by players from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s including Church, Tim Thompson, Dr. William McHorris, Bobby Andrews, Eddie Mouton, Don Frailey, Charles English, Bob Cutrer, C.J. Scheufens, Payton Townsend, Denny Wright, Ted Lyles and many others. Returning coaches included Jim Hatfield, who coached from ‘75 to ‘78, and Bobby Paschal, ‘75-’86. Assistants Tom Cox, Jimmy Dykes, Andy Russo, Eric Mouton, Byron Starks and Brad Boyd were also in attendance. Players returning included Kevin Figaro, Alonza Allen, Graylin Warner and Ross Mouton.

The reunion was a real bonus to the fans who attended Saturday night’s game. It was also a huge step for the basketball program in healing prior wounds and moving forward. If Coach Marlin never wins another game, he has put his name in the record book as a coach who has pulled the program together.

Athletic Network Footnote: Click here for Ron Gomez's Athletic Network Profile

Click here for the photo gallery of the Jan. 21-22, 2011 Basketball Reunion http://athleticnetwork.net/site1894.php

Click here for the January 18, 2003 Basketball Reunion  http://athleticnetwork.net/site266.php

Click here for the Nov. 1-2, 2001 Shipley Basketball Reunion    http://www.coachshipley.com/beta/scrapbook.php

Judice & Adley