Like many of his coaching peers, Jordan Dupuy understands the importance of tradition.
In that vein, Dupuy was happy to announce Wednesday the date for the Pat Pierson and James Smith Reunion Day, which will take place at noon Feb. 25 in advance of Northwestern State’s Southland Conference basketball doubleheader with New Orleans.
For $10, Lady Demons alumni players, staff and coaches will receive two tickets to the 1 p.m. game against the Privateers, lunch and postgame gumbo. Additional tickets are available for $5 apiece.
Pierson compiled a 166-88 record across nine seasons (1979-87) as the Lady Demons head coach, winning three straight Gulf Star Conference titles and guiding Northwestern State to its first Division I postseason appearance, the 1986 National Women’s Invitational Tournament, where it reached the championship game.
Prior to becoming Northwestern State’s third head coach, Pierson was a four-year letter winner (1974-78) for the Lady Demons and was among the group of 13 women who became the first recipients of athletic scholarships to a Louisiana university.
Smith, who was hired by Pierson as an assistant coach in 1980, succeeded his mentor and became the program’s leader in career victories (340) across 17 seasons from 1987-2004. Smith’s resume included three Southland Conference championships and NCAA Tournament berths in 1989 and 2004. Smith also steered the Lady Demons to appearances in the 1995 NWIT and the 1999 Women’s NIT. The 1995 Lady Demons made the school’s second appearance in the NWIT finals.
In addition to the postseason appearances, Pierson and Smith led the Lady Demons to victories against Notre Dame, Duke, Louisville, Kansas, Florida, Oklahoma State and Iowa among their many notable wins.
“Coach Pierson and coach Smith helped bring our women’s basketball program to the forefront, not only on a state level, but a national level as well,” said Dupuy, who created a display in the Lady Demons locker room that six former players, including all-time great Joan Darbonne, signed following the Demons’ 113-65 win against Louisiana College on Dec. 20.
“Their legacy helped to create the tremendous opportunity I have today, and they did it the right way. The well-being of their players, both on and off the court, was first and foremost while they were graduating players and winning tons of games. This one day doesn’t come close to the credit and thanks they deserve, but it is a huge start. They are Lady Demon basketball.”
Following the game, the alumni in attendance are invited to add their names to the display in the locker room.
For more information or to RSVP to the event, contact Kelsey Martin at 318-357-5891 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dupuy at email@example.com. Reservations also are being accepted at http://www.nsudemons.com/wbbreunion.
PHOTO: File shot of former Northwestern State coaches Pat Pierson (left) and James Smith , who will be honored Feb. 25. NSU Photographic Services