One of Louisiana Tech's most devoted fans, friends, and benefactors passes away Wednesday
Team physician honored at Club Level of Davison Athletics Complex
The professional approach taken by Oakes in the management of Tech Athletics has brought Louisiana Tech national recognition in a wide variety of athletic endeavors.
The schools' athletic programs and student-athletes have claimed numerous team and individual titles and the school has raised its profile through an unprecedented number of national and regional television appearances.
Louisiana Tech's athletic program has undergone many changes during the 13 years that Oakes has served as Athletic Director. The most significant change for Tech Athletics was the move to the Western Athletic Conference which came as a result of intense lobbying by Oakes and President Reneau.
In the first year of WAC competition, the Bulldog football team won the 2001 conference title and made a post-season appearance in the Crucial.com Humanitarian Bowl, while the Lady Techster basketball team also won the conference title and participated in its 21st consecutive NCAA Tournament. The Bulldog basketball team finished third in the WAC that inaugural year, and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the National Invitational Tournament.
This past year brought significant change in the athletic department with the hiring of Derek Dooley as head football coach, Kerry Rupp as head men's basketball coach, and Kevin Sherry as head soccer coach.
"All of these coaches possess the qualities essential to Tech's tradition of success: integrity, intelligence, the ability to recruit the talented student-athlete, the ability to motive the student-athlete, and the ability to build a successful leadership program," said Oakes. "Outstanding coaches have long been the mainstay of Tech's athletic success, and Tech's current coaches will continue in that tradition."
One of Oakes's first initiatives upon returning to Tech was to formulate a first ever five-year strategic plan for Tech Athletics. TECH 2000 encompassed academics, facilities, marketing, revenue growth, and the Tech tradition, and outlined an ambitious fund-raising campaign. TECH 2000 was an unqualified success. Fund-raising and corporate sponsorships dramatically increased, and every goal set in facilities, academics and marketing was met or exceeded.
A fundraising campaign for Tech Athletics titled CHAMPS was created at the start of the WAC era to boost revenue and help Tech teams win in the very tough Western Athletic Conference.
Encompassing the same fundamentals as the phenomenally successful TECH 2000 campaign, CHAMPS has helped Tech continue to compete in the rapidly changing NCAA Division 1-A environment. Tech's athletic budget has almost tripled under Oakes's leadership, growing from $3.8 million to over $11 million today.
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