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LSU Football

Woodward taking over a good situation

May 16, 2019

Normally, a university fires its athletic director when there is not enough winning in the major sports – particularly, football.

But, such was not the situation at LSU when Director of Athletics Joe Alleva was reassigned last month. Tigers alumnus Scott Woodward, who officially replaced Alleva last week, is in charge of a department in which most of the programs are on solid footing.

The 2018 football team won ten games for the first time in five years and finished ranked No. 6 in the country. Expectations are quite high for coach Ed Orgeron’s squad for the upcoming campaign. LSU could definitely surpass the ten-win mark in 2019.

The men’s track team won the Southeastern Conference outdoor crown for the first time in 29 years. The men’s basketball team won its first SEC title in ten years. Both the gymnastics and soccer teams won the conference’s postseason championship events.

The gymnastics team was the national runner-up, while the beach volleyball team ended third in the country. The softball team will be a regional host team when the NCAA tournament begins Friday.

So, there has been success across the board for many LSU teams during the 2018-19 school year.

Still, the LSU administration felt there was a need for a change in the leadership of the athletic department. There have been some disappointments during this academic year. The women’s basketball team had a losing SEC record and did not reach the NCAA tournament.

There is a cloud hanging over the men’s basketball program due to possible NCAA violations involving coach Will Wade. The baseball team heads into the final week of the regular season not in position to be a regional tournament host. The Tigers were ranked No. 1 in the country in multiple preseason polls.

Woodward does not have too many pressing issues as regards his head coaches. He does need to hire a soccer coach as Brian Lee left for Rice. Of the head coaches, Fargas is the one individual who finds herself needing a big season in 2019-20 to keep her job.

Wade is safe as long as there are no NCAA problems. The next few months will be critical for Wade’s future. After next season, Wade will have three years remaining on his original contract. Following next season, Woodward may have to decide whether or not to extend Wade’s contract.

Baseball coach Paul Mainieri has five years remaining on his contract. The Tigers could possibly not play a postseason game at The Box for a second straight year this June. Mainieri is in no trouble now, but a similar season in 2020 could change that situation.

Under Alleva, the athletic department certainly had minimal off the field problems. Money was made. There were few compliance issues. LSU’s athletes performed adequately in the classroom.

Woodward is taking over an athletic department with a somewhat frustrated fan base. There are people who are frustrated that LSU has not played for a SEC title in football in eight years. There are people who are frustrated that the Tigers have not won a national title in baseball in ten years.

Those two sports draw the highest expectations of the LSU fan base. After winning two national championships in football in a five-year span – one under Nick Saban and one under Les Miles, the fans are looking for such results every year. The Tigers have played for the national title once since 2007.

The baseball fan base was spoiled by coach Skip Bertman, who won five national titles in a ten-year period. Mainieri has taken LSU to the College World Series five times in his first 12 seasons. But, one national championship does nothing for the Tigers baseball fans.

So, Woodward must find a way to ease some of the pain felt by LSU supporters, who have watched Alabama and Florida become dominant teams in football and baseball, respectively, in recent years. Woodward has the personality to communicate with the Tigers fan base.

Woodward must do what is necessary to get everyone on the same path in order for LSU to be successful in numerous sports as has been the case in 2018-19. However, Woodward is taking over anything but a broken athletic department. He simply must make it a stronger one.

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from: Fanatics

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