Posted Aug 18, 2004 17:08:32
Tech Football Boasts High Percentage of Senior Graduates
RUSTON - As collegiate athletics becomes a bigger business year after year, winning games becomes more and more important.
However, not lost on Louisiana Tech University, is the No. 1 goal of having its student-athletes graduate and the seniors on this year's Bulldog football team are proof of just that..
With the recent graduation of four Bulldogs in Corey Brazil, Jemelle Cage, John Nash and Danny Wilson, 12 of the 23 seniors on this year's squad have now earned their diplomas heading into this season.
"It's a real tribute to the dedication and hard work of these young men in the classroom," said Tech head coach Jack Bicknell. "Most people don't understand the time restraints that today's student-athletes have trying to juggle classes, practice, study time and everything else that comes with college life."
The 12 Bulldogs who have already obtained their undergraduate degrees include Brazil, Cage, Aaron Capps, Erick Franklin, Myron Hawthorne, Ira Horyna, Lee Johnson, Michael Johnson, Jordan Lang, Nash, Wilson and Jerron Wishom.
And according to Tech offensive coordinator Conroy Hines, who is in charge of working closely with the athletic department's academic center in monitoring the progress of the student-athletes, four more will graduate following the fall quarter while the remaining seven are on pace to graduate within the NCAA's timeline used for determining graduation rates.
The Bulldog football team isn't the only program at Louisiana Tech that continues to be successful in graduating their student-athletes. In the most recent graduate rate reports released by the NCAA, Louisiana Tech ranks first in the state among public universities with Division I programs.
"From the first day these young men and women step on our campus, we do everything possible to emphasize to them the importance of earning their degrees," said Tech Athletic Director Jim Oakes said. "The fact that we are first in the state in graduation rate among public universities is a credit to our coaches and (assistant athletic director in charge of academics) Stacy Gilbert, but most of all, it's a credit to our student-athletes."