The LSU Board of Supervisors on Friday approved a proposal to construct a new plaza outside of Alex Box Stadium that’ll include a statue of legendary baseball coach Skip Bertman.
Proposed by the Tiger Athletic Foundation, the board passed a resolution to build a new Champions Plaza just to the third base side of the ring of champions that honors LSU’s six national title teams. The new plaza would honor LSU’s various Southeastern Conference championships — both regular season and tournament — and include a statue of Bertman.
The measure passed through the properties-and-facilities committee with little discussion and no objections during the morning session and was unanimously approved that afternoon.
According to the proposal, the plaza will be a free-form space of about 3,150 square feet. Work would begin in November, with the project set to be completed in August 2019. No cost is listed in the proposal, but TAF will cover the full cost.
Bertman led LSU to five national championships between 1991-2000 in a tenure that spanned 1984-2001. He then served as athletic director from 2001-08, hiring three eventual national champions in Les Miles, Paul Mainieri and Dennis Shaver.
LSU already has statues for basketball legends Shaquille O’Neal and Bob Petit on the north side of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Statues are also planned for 1959 Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon and all-time college basketball scoring record holder Pete Maravich.
FARGAS EXTENSION TABLED
The proposed three-year contract extension for LSU women’s basketball coach Nikki Fargas was tabled until the board convenes for its next meeting in October.
This is the second time the proposed extension for Fargas has appeared on the Board of Supervisors agenda only to not come up for a vote, but unlike in June, when the contract was originally proposed, it wasn’t pulled from consideration Friday. The board simply got behind schedule and decided to table all athletic committee business until the next meeting.
Fargas was scheduled to receive no raise from her current $700,000 annual compensation package, but LSU was proposing an increase in her maximum postseason bonus package from $500,000 to $600,000 per year. She can be fired without cause for a buyout package that would pay her $200,000 for each year remaining on the deal.
LSU has reached the NCAA Tournament six times in Fargas’ seven seasons and she owns a record of 132-93. She led the Lady Tigers to regional semifinals appearances in 2013 and 2014.
The board was also scheduled to consider requests for small raises and contract extensions for LSU’s co-head coaches in swimming and diving, David Geyer and Douglas Shaffer. The two coaches, who have been in their roles since 2010, would each get two-year extensions through June 2020 and raises from $110,000 to $115,000 per year, according to the agenda.
James M. Williams was officially sworn in as the new chair of the LSU Board of Supervisors, making him the first African American alumnus to hold the position.
“I want to thank almighty God for giving me this opportunity,” Williams said. “There’s no way that a kid from New Orleans whose daddy worked two jobs should be sitting here, but here I am.”
The board also elected supervisor Mary L. Werner as the chair-elect for the 2019-20 academic year. Werner’s mother, Laura Leach, previously served as the chair of the board.