Demons hire North Carolina State product Kevin Bostian for AD post

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

Northwestern State’s two-month search for its new athletics director landed 43-year-old North Carolina State graduate Kevin Bostian, a highly-accomplished fundraiser with senior-level administrative experience at several prominent Division I athletics programs, the Demons announced Tuesday afternoon.

Bostian will be introduced Thursday morning in Natchitoches at 11 a.m. in the Friedman Student Union Ballroom on the NSU campus, in an event open to the public. He will take over for longtime Demons’ AD Greg Burke effective Monday, Feb. 7.

Bostian has spent the last two years at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as the executive associate athletic director for development. He previously worked at NC State’s athletic department as a major gifts officer, after revenue generation and management positions at Georgia Southern, Tennessee Tech, East Tennessee State and South Alabama.

Bostian becomes just the third NSU AD since 1983, succeeding Burke, who is taking a position as a university fundraiser after 25 1/2 years in charge of the NSU Athletics. Tynes Hildebrand was AD from 1983-96.

A 2000 magna cum laude graduate of North Carolina State in business management, Bostian earned his master’s of business administration and master’s of sports administration from Ohio University in 2002. He and his wife, Megan, have three young daughters, Ayla, Zoe and Piper.

“We are elated that Kevin will be joining the university as athletic director,” Northwestern State President Dr. Marcus Jones said. “He has impressive credentials and extensive experience in college athletics that will assist him in re-energizing NSU’s intercollegiate sports program and guiding it to new levels of success.

“He has a steadfast commitment to student-athletes and their accomplishments on and off the field, and Northwestern alumni, faculty and staff, and other stakeholders will appreciate his genuineness, enthusiasm, and spirit of collaboration. Kevin and his family will be a valuable addition to the university and community.”

The hire culminated a two-month national search spearheaded by Kyle Bowlsby, founder of Bowlsby Sports Advisors, the search firm that coordinated the process. An alumni-based advisory committee helped hone the candidate pool down to roughly 12 semifinalists and three finalists, who were interviewed on campus Monday and Tuesday morning.

“Northwestern State University has hired an exceptional person in Kevin Bostian,” said Bowlsby, the 34-year-old son of Bob Bowlsby, one of college athletics’ most powerful leaders as commissioner of the Big XII Conference. “He is a transformational leader who will maximize the student-athlete experience and position the athletic department for long-term success. Kevin rose quickly on our list of potential candidates as someone who is passionate and driven to make his mark on the intercollegiate athletics landscape.”

Bostian, who interviewed on campus Monday and returned home to North Carolina, emerged as a clear choice for Jones. The hiring was announced less than three hours following the final candidate’s interview concluded before lunch Tuesday.

Based on a press release from Northwestern State Athletics

Photo/Graphic: by Northwestern State Athletics


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All washed up

We’ve all been there, up Mildew Creek without a paddle.

Such is life when your clothes-washing machine goes 10 toes up.

It didn’t really die as much as it went on strike or was just terrible at its job. If my old clothes-washing machine were a football team, it would be the Dallas Cowboys, a mind-numbing imposter.

We inherited a “water and energy efficient” washing machine; it came with the house, same as the den and kitchen sink. And it looked like a washing machine, a little white cube with knobs and buttons and a big bin.

True to its branding, it was very efficient with water — but only because it hardly used any. And if you really think about it, water is one of the main things you need to wash clothes properly. So, the trouble was, this “pretend washer” wasn’t efficient at all in getting clothes clean. You know you’re in trouble when the clothes smell worse after they’re washed than before.

You know how a wet dog smells? There’s a charm to that smell if it’s on your dog from time to time. The smell loses its sentimentality if it’s coming from your blouse or blue jeans.

Ode to a Dried-up Washer

When your washing machine
Is all washed up,
It’s a dirty shame.
You’re out of luck
And in deep poo.
(You smell bad too.)

Even your friends and family want little to do with you if it’s 9 a.m., you’re working a desk job, and you smell like old eggs or last week’s trash.

“Honey, something stinks in here.”

“Yeah, sorry; I just washed a load of clothes.”

Something’s rotten in Denmark. Not optimal.

People could never have had this type of problem before the invention of clothes. You wore leaves. They got dirty or smelly, you threw them in the compost pile and picked yourself some new leaves, either in the yard or off the rack at The Leaves Store — “Got something in a Fig or a Palm? Size 16? Petite?”

But then some nitwit invented the snap brim hat, which led to cottage industries of neckties, pants, dresses, ascots, two-tone shoes and, eventually, the clothes-washing machine.

Sigh … It was a simpler time.

It’s been a while since I’ve bought an appliance. Maybe a toaster 10 years ago. This was different. This was Big Game Hunting, a safari.

Yet it proved as easy as studying online, then showing the nice man at the store a picture. He hit F4 and maybe a Shift, typed in the model number, looked up and said, “There’s one on the truck that just pulled up outside.”

If you ain’t got timing, you ain’t got nothin’.

Quick as he could say “Twelve months same as cash,” the deal was done. The delivery guys showed up two days later, unhooked the old and hooked up the new, did it all in maybe eight minutes, could not have been nicer, and hauled my old “washer that wasn’t really a washer” away for just $30.

“You’ll take this heavy piece of junk away from my house for just 30 bucks? When otherwise I’d have to borrow a friend and a truck and lift it and haul it myself? Glory!”

Would have paid twice that. Even three times, and I’m broke as that machine was.

For another $10, he said I could buy a “nice” plot in the Appliance Cemetery, between a busted coffee pot and a Frigidaire, and he’d bury her there. I told him I was good, to dump it in a ditch if he wanted. I’m a sentimental softie, but not in this case.

We are so spoiled, all of us. Used to, clothes-washing machines never broke down. Back then they were called “our grandmothers,” have a wash tub and washboard will travel.

Laundromats took off after World War II — talk about a lot of laundry to do — and in-house washing machines became less bulky and more affordable and, thankfully, ran on electricity and not on steam. Now they’re common as a ketchup or coffee stain.

Thank goodness for that. Especially when they actually work. I don’t look any better since getting a new washer, but I smell fresh as $736.06, plus tax.

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu


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Cloutierville gets ready for 16th Annual Mardi Gras Parade: February 19

The 16th Annual Cloutierville Mardi Gras Parade will be held on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 2 pm. Come early and check out the vendors and food trucks.

The Grand Marshal is Cloutierville’s very own hometown hero Patrick “Petey” Hicks.

All elected officials, bands, dance and drill teams, old cars, churches, motorcycles, horses, pageant queens, side by sides, golf carts, etc…are welcome.

ABSOLUTELY NO FOUR WHEELERS.

Everything must be decorated and participants must have something to throw.

For more information contact one of the following parade organizers:

Rhonda Sanders (318) 332-7116
Rhonda Carter (318) 332-2523
Michael Sanders (318) 609-3004


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Our City’s First Community Mural is Unveiled at the Ben D. Johnson Center

One of the walls of Natchitoches’ Ben D, Johnson Center will be transformed into our city’s first full color community mural. The mural’s design was unveiled at a ceremony and community celebration on Martin Luther King Day January 17 at the Center’s Legacy Garden.

The mural will be on a wall facing the Ben D. Johnson Center’s Legacy Garden. The mural was designed by Natchitoches artist Edgar Cano, a prominent local artist and product of the master’s degree program in art at NSU. The mural incorporates elements of life in the city as well as an agricultural theme. There will be several “Paint Days” coming up in which community members will be invited to come to the center to help complete the mural. This will be a wonderful opportunity to help create what will become a lasting contribution to our city.

The Legacy Garden is an essential part of the Ben D. Johnson Center’s mission. It serves as a community garden. Produce grown there is distributed to the community and is also used in the center’s renowned Legacy Café. In addition to being a superb restaurant and catering service, the café is used in the center’s workforce development program. Ben D. Johnson Center board members Ronald Helaire and NSU President Marcus Jones both spoke at the mural’s unveiling. The Sisters of Natchitoches’ chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority donated $500.00 to the center to further its mission. A large contingent of NSU students came to the unveiling and worked in the garden afterwards.

The Ben D. Johnson Center is a force for good in our city. The center embodies the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam or “Repair of the world”. The Natchitoches Parish Journal extends its best wishes to the Ben D. Johnson Center and is looking forward to upcoming “Paint Days”!


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Natchitoches Parish Early Childhood Network Announces School/Site of the Month for January 2022

Childcare Site: Tiny Tots Daycare and Preschool School/Site Performance Rating: 5 stars 6.46 excellent

100% of teachers using a Tier 1 Curriculum

100% of Teachers certified (CDA, BA, or higher)

Vision: To help prepare our children for the many encounters in life.

Mission: To offer a well rounded program that promotes growth in educational, social, emotional, cognitive and physical areas. We will do this by offering tools that are developmentally appropriate for each individual child.

What is unique/special about this site?

With seeing our parents on a daily basis we get to know them as well as the children. We try to always keep them informed of their child’s growth, and needs. Sometimes sharing something unique their child has said or done will brighten up what might have been a hard day at work.

Why should parents enroll their children into your facility?

A parent who enrolls their child will get a piece of mind knowing their child’s needs are being met in a loving environment. We believe each child should be offered a great foundation to help them succeed.

What is a major accomplishment your site has done?

“To maintain our 5 star rating is an accomplishment that my teachers and I are proud of,” said Clara Delacerda, Tiny Tots Owner and Director. “Watching the change child care has taken since starting up in 1974 and keeping up with the changes has also been quite an accomplishment.”

The Natchitoches Parish Early Childhood Network serves children ages birth-4.

Start the process of educating your child TODAY by going online to teachingtomorrownow.com and filling out an application!


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Save the Date-St. Mary’s Catholic School Open House

St. Mary’s Catholic School will host an Open House on Wednesday, Feb. 9 from 6-7:30 pm in the school gymnasium.

Prospective new families, of students in preschool through twelfth grade, will be able to tour the school campus and receive enrollment information. Faculty members, as well as club and athletic representatives, will be available for questions. RSVP is preferred but not required. Interested families may contact Debbie Norman at 352-8394 or dnorman@smstigers.org for more information.

St. Mary’s is a Catholic, co-educational college preparatory school that educates students from preschool through twelfth grade. It is a ministry of the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church.

St. Mary’s Catholic School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin in: (i) the admission of students; (ii) the offerings of rights, privileges, programs, or activities generally made available to their students; or (iii) the administration of educational policies, admissions policies, loan programs, athletic programs, employment practices or policies, or other school-administered programs


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Rotary Club learns about new football facilities at NCHS

Rotarian with the Program Lance Lopez introduced Natchitoches Central High School (NCHS) Head Football Coach James Wilkerson at the Rotary Club of Natchitoches luncheon. Coach Wilkerson discussed the new NCHS football facilities and the present and future goals of the program. Pictured from left are Lopez, Wilkerson, and Aaron Johnson (Photo by Dr. Ron McBride).


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Guardian Angels

The belief in guardian angels goes back thousands of years. The Bible mentions several instances in which God sent angels to protect or deliver people from danger. Guardian angels are believed to be able to take on any form and can embody any person at any time. Believers contend that guardian angels are all around us although they are usually unaware that they are guardian angels.

On December 9, 2021, Muskogee, Oklahoma had at least two known cases where a guardian angel stepped in to help. It happened first at an elementary school. A seventh-grade boy was standing by a water fountain holding a water bottle. Wishing to refill his bottle, the boy pushed the button to turn the water on while he held the bottle in his other hand. Rather than releasing the button to remove the lid, he removed the cap with his teeth. When he inhaled, the bottle cap slid down and lodged in his throat. In a panic, he stumbled into the nearest classroom and mouthed the words, “I’m choking. I’m choking.”

It could have been his last breath, but his guardian angel was waiting. The guardian angel sprang into action as if he were placed in the moment for that very purpose. He got behind the seventh-grader and performed the Heimlich Maneuver in a manner that would have impressed most doctors. His only experience with the life-saving technique was what he had seen on YouTube. With a couple of thrusts, the bottle cap shot out of the panic-stricken boy’s mouth. The boy took several deep breaths and thanked his guardian angel. Rather than glorifying the fact that he had saved someone’s life, he humbly returned to what he had been doing before the choking boy staggered into his classroom.

Later that day, a fire broke out in the back of a house in Muskogee. As if by divine providence, a guardian angel was on his way to church with a family member when he noticed smoke and flames coming from the house. He ran from the car toward the home. He knocked on the door and yelled to those inside that the house was on fire. Several people ran from the home while the guardian angel ran into the house. A disabled woman who required a walker to get around, slowly made her way toward the front of the house. Unfortunately, the fire was spreading more quickly than she could move. She was gasping for breath and struggling to walk. The guardian ran to her, put his arms around her, and quickly helped her escape from the flames. The guardian angel remained completely calm through the whole ordeal, which could have claimed his life as well. Had he been a few seconds later, the woman probably would have been consumed by the flames. Once he made sure the woman was safe, he returned to his car and continued on to church.

On a single December day in Muskogee, Oklahoma, the same guardian angel saved the lives of a choking boy and a disabled woman from a house fire. People referred to him as a hero, but he just replied that “it was the right thing to do.” For his life-saving deeds, the Muskogee Police Department and Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office named him an honorary member of their forces. He was also recognized by the Muskogee Public Schools Board of Education during their December board meeting. ‘I don’t want everyone to pay attention to me,” he said. “I kind of did what I was supposed to do.” This guardian angel was Davyon Johnson, an 11-year-old boy.

1. Medina, Eduardo. “A 6th Grader Saves the Lives of Two People On the Same Day.” The New York Times. December 26, 2021. nytimes.com/2021/12/26/us/davyon-johnson-student-saves-classmate-fire.html.

2. Crane, Emily. “11-year-old Boy Saves Choking Classmate, Woman from Burning Home — All in One Day.” New York Post. December 23, 2021. nypost.com/2021/12/23/oklahoma-boy-saves-choking-classmate-woman-from-burning-home/.


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Cookie decorating class begins Feb. 1

Northwestern State University’s Office of Electronic and Continuing Education will offer “Cookie Decorating with Royal Icing for Beginners” starting Tuesday, Feb. 1.

The class will be held on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. through Feb. 22 in the Culinary Arts Building near the Friedman Student Union. The fee is $75.

“Cookie Decorating with Royal Icing” is a beginning class to learn some basic decorating techniques. This course will teach students how to make an amazing sugar cookie dough suited for shaped cookies and then explore different royal icing techniques such as dip tie-dye, outlining and flooding with single and multiple colors, and painting on royal icing. Students will be encouraged to express themselves creatively.

There is a $25 fee due at the first-class meeting (cash or check only made payable to the instructor). This fee will cover all ingredients needed in the course including cookies prebaked for some class dates, food coloring, paintbrushes, cookie cutters to be shared in the class and a set of three piping tips, a coupler, and a reusable piping bag for each student to keep.

For more information or to register for classes call (800) 376-2422 or (318) 357-6355.


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OPPORTUNITY: FINANCE DIRECTOR

POSITION: Finance Director – Finance Department

DESCRIPTION: Performs a variety of complex supervisory, professional, administrative and technical accounting and finance functions in maintaining the fiscal records and systems of the City. Will serve as chief financial advisor to the Mayor and prepare and maintain financial reports and records. Oversees payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, Utility Service Center, Information Technologies and Programming and Promotions Department.

QUALIFICATIONS: The successful applicant shall have graduated from an accredited four-year college or university with a degree in accounting or business related field. A working knowledge in Governmental Financial Accounting and GASB rules and regulations are required. An MBA or Certified Public Accountant is preferred.

CONTACT: City of Natchitoches, Human Resources Department located at 1400 Sabine Street, or P.O. Box 37, Natchitoches, LA 71458-0037. Applications may also be picked up upstairs at City hall, located at 700 Second St., or you may download an application on line at http://www.natchitochesla.gov

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Applications will be accepted until filled.

THE CITY OF NATCHITOCHES IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER


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School is back in session and the Goldonna Wildcats are busy!

The Goldonna Elementary-Junior High School is very proud to announce that they have graduated another class in the DARE Program. Deputy Hobley with the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office was on hand to congratulate the students and present them with a shirt for their success.

The Village of Goldonna is very proud to report that Killingsworth Road and Godwin Road are the beneficiaries of road resurfacing with the newly collected sales tax funds. Sales Tax collections began July 1, 2021 and all of the money is dedicated to road repairs. They have collected a little over $11,000 and it is being reinvested.

Mayor Jennifer Smith would like to thank the Natchitoches Parish Government for their efforts in assisting with the road repairs. “Crew members, Dustin Hightower and Marty Cheatwood have been really instrumental in coordinating the recent work.”

This past Sunday was one of the quietest Sundays in Goldonna history. All of the churches were closed, without live services, due to the rising cases of COVID. All three churches had a high number of illness and absences.

Pastor Timmy Harris from Goldonna Assembly of God wanted to share a few words of encouragement with the community.

“It saddens me to say the least, that no live services were held in the town of Goldonna due to seasonal illness and COVID. Please know, the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. Jesus is the one who declared it so and his promises are yes and Amen. My prayers are with all who are sick and or affected by COVID, this too shall pass.”

Goldonna Assembly of God will be having outdoor drive up church this Sunday January 23, starting at 11:00, all are welcome.

If you have news to share please email Reba Phelps at jreba.phelps@gmail.com


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Louisiana to Receive Approximately $1 Billion for Bridges from New Federal Program

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced plans to release a program that will dedicate $26.5 billion to states for investments in bridge repairs and infrastructure. The Bridge Formula Program, made possible through the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will allocate federal funds over five years to rural and urban bridges that are in need of repair or rehabilitation.

Under this new program, Louisiana will receive approximately $1 billion over five years, with $202.6 million allocated this fiscal year. This funding is available to improve approximately 400 bridges in need of repair or replacement throughout the state.

“Louisiana will be well served by this program, as our funding needs for infrastructure projects are immense,” said Governor John Bel Edwards. “I applaud the Biden administration for seeing the transportation needs of our nation, and state, by launching this investment program that will greatly aid our communities. Bridge closures or weight restrictions severely hinder our agriculture, manufacturing and service industries, as well a public transit, commuter travel and school bus routes. Limiting closures will provide a better overall quality of life to our residents, motorists and businesses.”

“This new federal investment comes at the right time as many of our bridges, including those on the interstate system, are 45 to 65 years old,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “The number of bridges falling into poor condition is expected to increase greatly in the coming years and this funding will allow us to make necessary improvements before these bridges deteriorate to the point of closure. Having shared bridge closures with the public for some time, no parish is exempt and problems exist on state and local bridges alike. I am looking forward to using more than the minimum established by USDOT to help locals address their needs as well. This bipartisan bill will allow the state to address many infrastructure needs in the coming years and I am grateful for the work that Senator Bill Cassidy and Representative Troy Carter put in to get this bill passed and for their vision of infrastructure improvement in Louisiana. “

Louisiana has the third largest bridge infrastructure in the nation when the number of bridges and bridge size is accounted for. Currently, there are 7,846 state owned bridges, with 795 needing major rehabilitation or replacement, and 4,736 locally owned bridges, with 793 in need of rehabilitation or replacement.

Some of the bridges projects that will advance this year due to this funding include:

· LA 485 Bridges near Allen Louisiana (Natchitoches Parish)

· LA 1226 over Bayou Chevreuille in Natchitoches Parish

Nationwide, the Bridge Formula Program is expected to help repair approximately 15,000 bridges. In addition to providing funds to states to replace, rehabilitate, preserve, protect, and construct highway bridges, the Bridge Formula Program has dedicated funding for Tribal transportation facility bridges as well as “off-system” bridges, locally owned facilities which are those not on the federal-aid highway system.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a once-in-a-generation investment in infrastructure, which will grow the economy, enhance U.S. competitiveness in the world, create good jobs, and make our transportation system more sustainable and equitable.


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Notice of Death – January 18, 2022

NATCHITOCHES:
Bessie Kay Winn
Nov 19, 1978 – Jan 14, 2022
Service: Saturday, January 22 at 11 am at the North Star Baptist Church in Powhatan

Darian Pye
Apr 8, 1954 – Jan 15, 2022
Service: Saturday, January 22 at 2 pm at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel

Pamela Revels Johnikin
Arrangements TBA

Cornell Robinson
Jul 27, 1962 – Jan 15, 2022
Arrangements TBA

Anthony Alex
Jan 18, 1968 – Jan 17, 2022
Arrangements TBA

Mildred Louise Eckhardt McTyre
March 26, 1935 – January 4, 2022
Service: Saturday, January 29 at 11 am at First Baptist Church of Natchitoches

WINN:
Melda McKay Pace
August 20, 1934 – January 10, 2022
No services are planned at this time.


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Demons hire North Carolina State product Kevin Bostian to take AD job

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

Northwestern State’s search for its new athletics director has wrapped up with North Carolina State graduate Kevin Bostian, a highly-accomplished fundraiser with senior-level administrative experience at several prominent Division I athletics programs, hired to take over for longtime AD Greg Burke, effective Feb. 7.

Bostian, 43, has spent the last two years at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as the executive associate athletic director for development. He previously worked at his alma mater’s athletic department as a major gifts officer, after revenue generation and management positions at Georgia Southern Tennessee Tech, East Tennessee State and South Alabama.

Bostian will be introduced in Natchitoches at 11 a.m. Thursday in the Friedman Student Union Ballroom on the NSU campus. Bostian’s hire, announced Tuesday afternoon, is subject to approval of the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System, which governs Northwestern State University.

Bostian becomes just the second NSU AD since 1983, succeeding Burke, who is taking a position as a university fund raiser after 25 1/2 years in charge of the NSU Athletic Department.

A 2000 magna cum laude graduate of North Carolina State in business management, Bostian earned his master’s of business administration and master’s of sports administration from Ohio University in 2002.

He and his wife, Megan, have three children, Ayla, Zoe and Piper.

“We are elated that Kevin will be joining the university as athletic director,” Northwestern State President Dr. Marcus Jones said. “He has impressive credentials and extensive experience in college athletics that will assist him in re-energizing NSU’s intercollegiate sports program and guiding it to new levels of success.

“He has a steadfast commitment to student-athletes and their accomplishments on and off the field, and Northwestern alumni, faculty and staff, and other stakeholders will appreciate his genuineness, enthusiasm, and spirit of collaboration. Kevin and his family will be a valuable addition to the university and community.”

The hire culminated a two-month national search spearheaded by Kyle Bowlsby, founder of Bowlsby Sports Advisors, the search firm that coordinated the process. An alumni-based advisory committee helped hone the candidate pool down to roughly 12 semifinalists and three finalists, who were interviewed on campus in the last 36 hours.

“Northwestern State University has hired an exceptional person in Kevin Bostian,” said Bowlsby, the 34-year-old son of Bob Bowlsby, one of college athletics’ most powerful leaders as commissioner of the Big XII Conference. “He is a transformational leader who will maximize the student-athlete experience and position the athletic department for long-term success. Kevin rose quickly on our list of potential candidates as someone who is passionate and driven to make his mark on the intercollegiate athletics landscape.”

Based on a press release from Northwestern State Athletics

Photo: Graphic by Northwestern State Athletics


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After national search, Demons could name new AD today

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

The national search for Northwestern State’s new athletic director could culminate as soon as today with an announcement of a hire to replace departing AD Greg Burke.

A field of about dozen semifinalists was pared to three finalists at the end of last week. On campus visits began Monday and the last one should happen this morning, the Journal has learned.

The search has been managed by an outside search firm, Bowlsby Sports Advisors. The process involved an alumni-based advisory committee, steered by search firm owner Kyle Bowlsby, which finished its work by helping trim the contenders to three last Friday. After their visits, new Northwestern president Marcus Jones will consider his choices and make a job offer.

None of the three unnamed remaining candidates have ties to Natchitoches or NSU.

Changing NSU’s approach for athletics became a priority for Jones, largely because the Demons have not had a winning football season since 2008 (7-5), coming close in 2013 and 2014 (6-6 both seasons). But in that span Northwestern suffered its first-ever winless campaign (0-11 in 2009 under first-year coach Bradley Dale Peveto) and Jay Thomas’ third NSU squad went 1-10 (0-9 in the Southland Conference) in 2016. The program’s last FCS playoff berth, along with the most recent conference championship, came in 2004.

NSU announced in mid-November that Burke would shift out of the AD’s office and into a university fundraising role. He is believed to be the longest-tenured Division I director of athletics in state history, having taken the post in late August 1996, and has a long list of accomplishments.

The announcement also cited a 6-8 week target for naming Burke’s successor. Assuming the search comes to fruition, that timeline will have been met. It’s anticipated that the new AD will need 3-6 weeks to relocate to Natchitoches and take over. It’s expected Burke will run the daily operations of the department until the new hire arrives.

While football has dipped, other sports at Northwestern have enjoyed high points and low ebbs over the last decade-plus.

Men’s basketball reached the NCAA Tournament for the third time under venerable coach Mike McConathy in 2013, played in postseason again a year later and won 19 games in 2014-15 before struggling in league play until the last two years.

Lady Demon basketball had NCAA Tournament trips in 2014 and 2015, and played in the WNIT in 2016, but hasn’t had a winning season since.

Baseball (2018) and softball (2014, 2015) have made NCAA appearances and the baseball team owns two recent wins at LSU. Track and field and Lady Demon tennis have been consistently strong over the last 12-14 years with NCAA success. Women’s soccer won the 2021 Southland crown and made its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2005, and the fifth in the 24-year history of the program.

Volleyball, which had never experienced a successful season in its first three decades, reached the 2014 NCAA Tournament and has been respectable since in the Southland.

Away from competition, NSU Athletics has maintained a sparkling record in NCAA academic performance, graduation rates, NCAA compliance, and community service. There have been no significant state legislative audit issues under Burke’s watch.


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March for Life this Friday

St. Mary’s Catholic School and the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church, in partnership with the Women’s Resource Center, will host a March for Life on Friday, Jan. 21. The day will begin at 10 am with a Pre-Rally concert by the Josh Blakesley Band, followed by a Pro Life Rally with guest speakers at 11 am, and finish with the March at 1 pm. The March shall begin at the riverbank and continue to the rectory lawn of Immaculate Conception.

The Natchitoches March for Life will mirror and take place at the same time as the national March for Life in Washington, D.C. The national March for Life began in January of 1974. Every year, tens of thousands of pro life supporters march in support of life. This has become the largest human rights demonstration in the world. The national March for Life “is an inspiring, peaceful, vibrant, and joy-filled rally of women, men, young people, and children from all across the country.” Together, they “gather to celebrate life, from the moment of conception, to the moment of natural death, and every moment in between.” (See www.marchforlife.org).

Local marches began to occur in cities throughout our nation to further expand this celebration of life into our communities. In Louisiana, rallies occur in major cities during the month of January. This will be the first year for Natchitoches to host a rally and march. The public is invited to attend. If you are interested in becoming involved, please reach out to Jessica Spear (jspear@smstigers.org), Lisa Guillet (lisaguillet@yahoo.com) or Jennifer Luna (wrcnatladirector@gmail.com).


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Saturday, January 15 – A Day of Service for our Community

The Martin Luther King Day weekend in Natchitoches saw a flurry of activities throughout the community to celebrate and continue the legacy of Dr. King. Saturday, January 15, kicked off the commemorations with a “Day of Service” in which NSU athletes, Greek and student organizations were joined by NSU President Marcus Jones, Mayor & Mrs. Williams in making our community a little better.

NSU athletes played games with children at the MLK Recreation Center. Students in NSU’s Helping Hands and African American Caucus cleaned up the city’s Highland Park. Other students packed warm coats and clothing and gift baskets for senior citizens.

The Ben D. Johnson Center’s community garden was also a center of activity and service Saturday. A large contingent of NSU student organizations ranging from sports teams to Greek organizations from every part of the university came together to work in the Legacy Garden and clean up the surrounding area.

What was all the more impressive about the day’s events was that the students led and planned the projects themselves. It was a joy to see young people of every race and background coming together to improve their, and our, community. Well done ladies and gentlemen!


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2022 Martin Luther King March for Justice and Peace, and Monument Dedication Ceremony

Natchitoches’ second Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration March for Justice and Peace was held Monday, January 17. The march began at the Ben D. Johnson Center and extended to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Triangle Park. The marchers were led by members of NSU’s Alpha Phi Alpha chapter. Dr. King was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, joining as a graduate student in 1952 at Boston College. The Alphas were joined by members of NSU Greek organizations. The NSU Chapters of the NAACP and African American Caucus also marched as did NSU head football Coach Brad Laird and the NSU football team. They were joined by fellow athletes from NSU volleyball and other sports teams. Natchitoches Mayor Ronnie Williams marched for the second year. The Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts brought a large contingent of students to the march and celebration. The march ended at the Dr. Martin Luther King Triangle Park where the brothers of NSU’s Alpha Phi Alpha chapter placed a wreath at Dr. King’s memorial. For the second year in a row, NSU’s Lifted Voices Gospel Choir gave a truly impressive vocal performance. Natchitoches Mayor Ronnie Williams spoke of Dr. King’s legacy and accomplishments as did several local spiritual leaders. The main speaker was Darin Nixon, NSU NAACP President and NSU NPHC President. The event was organized by the City of Natchitoches, NSU and the Northwestern State University Center for Inclusion & Diversity.


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“Carrying on the Dream” Exhibition Opening

Join the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum for the opening of “Carrying on the Dream”. The exhibition opens with a free reception on Friday, Jan. 21 from 5-7 pm. Libations and appetizers will be provided by FLASH and Raising Cane’s.

The University of Louisiana System’s Reginald F. Lewis scholars in partnership with Raising Cane’s are presenting a statewide tour of the exhibit “Carrying on the Dream” which features a rare display of the hearse that carried the body of prominent civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. after his assassination in Memphis on April 4, 1968.
Todd Graves, founder and CEO of Raising Cane’s, led the preservation of the hearse and, through its exhibit, wants to remind Louisianians what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. contributed to society.

Speakers for the opening include Natchitoches Mayor Ronnie Williams, Reginald F. Lewis Scholars Derrick Varnado and Ebenezer Aggrey, NSU Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity member William Roberson, and Dr. Michael T. Snowden Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity at NSU.

The exhibition will be on display from Jan. 20-Feb. 5, 2022.

State regulations require masks in all state museums.
Please visit our website or call (318) 357-2492 for more information.

Free and open to the public.


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