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Bowling Milestones

Email Dr. Ed Dugas athleticnetwork@louisiana.edu if you have a Milestone/Ragin’ Cajuns First to submit. Please include sport, date, event, etc., source, along with your contact numbers.

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Memories of the first bowling team by Dr. Eddie Bankston, member of the 1962-63 Bowling Team and holder of other university attributes.
Click here for his Athletic Network profile.  

I returned to SLI in the Fall of 1960 and went to work at Lafayette Lanes behind the counter. I had the graveyard shift. Mr. Joe Petrov was the manager with Mr. Butch Baum as assistant. In 1962, Mr. N.R. Duff became manager and Baum became manager at a bowling alley in BR. It was Mr. Duff who provided the incentive to form a bowling team. I think he had discussed the matter with Whitey Urban, the Athletic Director at the time.

I remember matches with Tulane in New Orleans and Nichols in Houma.  For our road matches, team members traveled in personal vehicles, used our own balls, etc. I think Mr. Duff’s wife, Pat, provided white shirts with USL lettering and names on the back. I kept my shirt for a long time, but unable to locate at this time. Seems like we all averaged 160-180. My  ball was a “Black Beauty,” made of rubber by Manhattan Rubber with finger holes fine tuned to a semi-fingertip grip.   

I quit bowling the summer of 1964 when a state tennis tournament and the state bowling tournament happened over the same weekend in Lafayette—seems tennis callouses & bowling callouses were not the same — they broke such that I was playing tennis with a bloody right hand. So, I quit bowling in favor of playing tennis in the sunshine.

Another wonderful person who worked at Lafayette Lanes was Jackie LeBlanc.  I bowled with her husband, Jocko, a local architect— together, they raised some great athletes!

Bowling Team Memories by John "Jay" Caldwell, Jr., member of the 1966-70 teams.
My memories of when I participated on the USL Bowling team during the 1966-70 years were that Bowling was a sport in which you could letter and be a member of the S Club.

Our team participated in the Louisiana Intercollegiate Bowling League with LSU, McNeese and Southeastern. The league was formed with the leadership of Mr. N. R. Duff of Lafayette Lanes and Mr. Whitey Urban, the USL Athletic Director.

We also participated in the Association of College Unions and this lead to regional and national tournaments held in Austin, Texas (1st place); Miami, Florida (2nd place); and Cincinnati, Ohio (3rd place). 
One of the outgrowths of these successes was the installation of bowling lanes in our new student union by Mr. Bob Cosper, Mr. Russell LeJeune, and new director, Mr. Glenn Menard. Thanks to Mr. Duff, Mrs. Jackie LeBlanc and Mrs. Anna Belle Richard, who developed young bowlers in high school who aspired to bowl in college.

The  program brought a great deal of publicity and notoriety to USL. Many of the minor sports were also bringing visibility to the university. The Trampoline team coached by Jeff Hennessy had the first female athlete earn a varsity letter and she followed that with being named Miss America, Judith Ann Ford. She and the team brought additional national fame to the university. Amen.

Thanks. Jay Caldwell, B. S. USL, 1971 and very grateful

Click here for Jay's Athletic Network Profile. 
Athletic Network Footnote by Dr. Ed Dugas.
For years the Health & Physical Education Department conducted our bowling classes at Lafayette Lanes. It was a wonderful arrangement for both parties and made possible through the generosity and cooperation of Mr. N. R. Duff and Mrs. Jackie LeBlanc. There were no problems, only challenges and situations,  which they addressed immediately and professionally. They treated our instructors exceptionally well and make our students feel at home.

Click here for Jackie's obituary and the article about her being "The First Lady of Bowling in Lafayette."

Regarding the involvement of Mr. N. R. Duff with the bowling team, he offered every courtesy and encouragement available through his leadership and dedication. He wanted the team to succeed and did whatever it took, from coaching to help financing, to facilitate scheduling. He was the mover and shaker for the university bowling team for over a dozen years. In only the second year of having a Bowling Team, the 1965 team won the N. A. I. A. National Championship. The team was always a force in collegiate bowling circles and contenders for championship honors in  any competition.  Many are indebted to this fine person who gave much so students at the university could enjoy this wonderful new sport. Thank you, Mr. N. R. Duff.

Click here for Mr. Duff with his 1967 championship team. He is included with several other teams.   

Please click here for the photo of our first Bowling Team, the 1963 team.  

In just the second year of collegiate competition, the 1964 team won the N. A. I. A. National Championship.
Please click here for the team photo of the 1964 team.

Beginning in 1963, the university and Lafayette Lanes teamed to sponsor a team for ten years. After that the existence of a team was determined by factors at the university and the community coming together. Some of those years are posted in the Bowling photo gallery, along with the teams from 1963-72.

Click here for the Bowling Photo Gallery, which contains 13 years of photos between 1963-2012. Their thread is a significant part of the university fabric and an important part of our history.

Viewers are encouraged to have those who were part of the Bowling Program contact the Athletic Network at athleticnetwork@louisiana.edu and provide email addresses for those who may not be connected with a current email address in their Athletic Network profile. Thank you.

Peace, Dr. Ed Dugas