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January 11, 2013

High Level Success in Two Sports Happening at Tech

Louisiana Tech has had success on the hardwood and gridiron in the past. Rarely has it come in the same year like is happening now in Ruston. One has to look back over a decade in order to find similar success on both the hardwood and gridiron.

Those seasons happened from 1999-2000. The football team under coach Jack Bicknell, Jr. finished 8-3 and basketball team under coach Keith Richard finished 21-8.

Oddly enough, Tech played Texas A&M in Shreveport in 1999 like in 2012. That season was also highlighted by a victory over Alabama 29-28 on a last second touchdown pass that features one of Tech's "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz all-time great calls.

In 2012, Tech finished 9-3 and garnered national attention as the Bulldogs were ranked in the BCS. At one point in the season, Tech even hosted Orange Bowl officials in Ruston. No team in Tech history has ever put Tech on the pedestal the 2012 Bulldog football team did.

The 1999-2000 basketball season did not have an marquee victories but the Bulldogs did finish 21-8 (12-4) which had them finish third in the Sun Belt Conference.

The 2012-2013 season for the "Dunkin' Dawgs" opened at Texas A&M and after a 71-59 loss some were wondering how the season would play out. The Bulldogs responded however with seven straight victories -- four of which came on the road. Tech would later have the highlight victory of the season to this point at home over Southern Miss 65-55. The Bulldogs opened its Western Athletic Conference (WAC) schedule at home against Denver beating the Pioneers 68-60 and sits at 13-3 overall and 4-0 in conference play with victories over New Mexico State, Texas State and UT-Arlington. New Mexico State was Tech's nemesis last season as the Aggies beat the Bulldogs three times the final loss coming in the WAC Tournament championship game. Tech currently sits with a projected RPI of 40 according to WarrenNolan.com.

With Tech's national ranking in 2012 in football during the season and basketball's projected RPI of 40, it's hard to compare any year before now where Tech had this kind of success. For a department it is immense to have this kind of success -- especially in the ever changing landscape of college athletics. Schools have to be as relevant as possible to ensure not being left in the dust.

"We strive for success in all of our sports programs however due to the inherent media coverage and attention paid to these sports, success in basketball and football translates to increased enthusiasm and financial support for our entire athletic program and University," stated Louisiana Tech Athletic Director Bruce Van De Velde.

Most schools report a financial loss on their balance sheets for all sports except football and men's basketball. Success in men's basketball and football are a necessity if an athletic department wants to be a success.

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