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Letter to Gridiron Alumni From Nate Thornton, President 10/6/2017–Overview and Future Projections

Oct., 6, 2017
Greetings Gridiron Members:

Our inaugural reunion was a success. I would like to thank Dr. Bryan Maggard and the entire Athletic Department for sponsoring this event.  Special thanks to Melissa Minton for her tireless efforts to keep everyone on task.

Many components came together to make our vision a reality. None more important than you, the members of the Gridiron Alumni Chapter.  Over 200 members and their families attended two days of fun, comradery, eating, drinking and “story telling”. More than Seven decades of players were represented, starting with 1940’s to 2015.  Many traveled far distances including California, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, South Carolina, Washington, D.C. and all parts of Louisiana. Some even came after enduring the historic flooding of Hurricane Harvey.

I saw team mates embrace each other with such ferocity it was reminiscent of a championship win!  I heard stories that I have never heard before, and I heard old stories with three different endings. I saw players from 1944 talking to players from 1987 talking about how hard practices were when they played.  I found out that at one time, you could fold your helmet up and put it in your pocket.  Recorded forty times ranged from 5.0 to 4.2, and those were linemen.  Most notably I heard, “Man this is GREAT, we need to do it again”!  And do it again we will. 

Planning is underway for next year.  We anticipate the timing to be similar to this year, around the second home game.  We also intend to move our annual Bill “Black Jack” golf tournament to the reunion weekend. You will receive more information as the planning is refined.

I encourage you to use the athletic network (www.athleticnetwork.net or athleticnetwork@louisiana.edu ) to stay in touch with each other, provide personal updates and inform the Chapter, Alumni Association and Athletic Department on things that are important to you.  It’s well known that we love our University. What became evident, is our love for one another.

If you wish to donate to the Gridiron Alumni Chapter, you can do so in one of three ways: Go the website www.ullafayettefoundation.org   Once there, you will be directed to give to the area of your choice. It is very important in the “Comments” section you indicate which one of our three (3) accounts you wish to donate to: Ragin' Cajun Gridiron Alumni Fund – Account # 80297 – This is an ‘operating’ account for our chapter and the funds in this account go towards costs involved with running the chapter. Bill "Black Jack" Landry Scholarship – Account # 12249 – This is an account that was created to cover the costs of Black Jack’s statue. Once the statue was paid for, this account was turned into a scholarship account for a student equipment manager. Ragin' Cajun Gridiron Fallen Teammate Memorial Fund - # 07707 – This is our newest account and should be used when you wish to donate in memory of or in honor of a deceased teammate. If giving to this account, please indicate the teammates name in the ‘In Honor Of’ field or the ‘In Memory Of’ field. The money in this account goes toward a scholarship for a graduate assistant in Athletics. 

Thank you, Geaux Cajuns

Nathan J. Thornton, Jr.

Gridiron Alumni Chapter

President nathan@louisiana.edu