Fast balls, strike outs, and home runs have been drawing crowds to the J.C Love Field, home of the Louisiana Tech Bulldog Baseball team, for almost seven decades.
Louisiana Tech has one of the oldest running baseball programs in North Louisiana. It first appeared in the Louisiana Intercollegiate Conference in 1945 and has been running strong ever since. Unfortunately stats only date back to 1972, when the Bulldogs entered into the Southland Conference; there they gained national recognition. The Bulldogs now reside in the Western Athletic Conference in which they have been a part of since 2002.
During the span of the program the bulldogs have won a total of 1,590 games, with seven National Collegiate Athletic Association appearances. The bulldogs also hold two Conference Tournament Championship titles one in 1975 and another in 1980.
The team gained those two titles during the reign of head coach Pat Paterson, who coached the team from 1968 to 1990. During his time as head coach Paterson held a record of 741-462-2, the best record of any coach in the program’s history. In honor of Patterson, on May 22, 2008 Louisiana Tech dedicated its diamond field to the legend by renaming it J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
Current Tech baseball coach Wade Simoneaux said that “Anytime anybody mentions Louisiana Tech baseball, his name comes up. He set the bar so high it isn’t even obtainable to do what he accomplished here. He was an idol to me.”
After sliding into the home plate at Pat Paterson Park many players get a chance to play with the big boys in Major Leagues Baseball. Three draft picks came through the program last year alone, including Kyle Roliard, Mike Jefferson, and Mark Threlkeld. Big names such as David Segui, George Stone, Randy McGilberry, and George Stone all suited up in bulldog jersey before playing in the Major Leagues.. Throughout the programs history Louisiana Tech has had 61 Major League Draft Picks, sixteen of those draft picks have been under present head coach Wade Simoneaux.
Entering his tenth season at the helm of the Louisiana Tech baseball program, “Simoneaux has turned the bulldogs into perhaps one of the more prolific teams in the south,” said Kelvin Queliz baseball representative.
Simoneaux has compiled over 230 wins and has turned J.C Love Field at Pat Patterson into a true home field advantage as Louisiana Tech has built a .686 winning percentage. These accomplishments gained him his first coach of the year title in 2007.
Simoneaux and the bulldogs ended their 2011 season with 34 wins and the best WAC tournament showing in school history. With the upcoming season under way the bulldogs look to face seven teams that all appeared in last year’s NCAA Tournament, which will provide more of a challenge for the players.
“Our team will be battle tested by the team we get to conference play,” said Simoneaux, “We have a tough non-conference road schedule against teams that can really exploit our weaknesses. We want to find out where we stand prior to WAC play ”, he added.
Whatever the outcome of the 2012 season the Bulldogs will have the support of over 100,000 fans cheering them on and the honor of the legacy of bulldogs before them to look up to.