BATON ROUGE – When then-LSU Athletic Director Bob Brodhead named Stanley “Skip” Bertman as LSU’s head baseball coach on April 25, 1983, no one could have predicted the monumental impact it would have on college baseball at LSU and across the Southeastern Conference.
Thirty years later, LSU plans to mark the anniversary of Bertman’s hiring when the legendary coach throws out the first pitch on Friday night before the Tigers take on South Carolina in Alex Box Stadium. The actual anniversary of Bertman’s hiring is Thursday.
Bertman was named head coach in April of 1983, succeeding Jack Lamabe, a former major league baseball pitcher. Bertman came to LSU from the University of Miami where he had helped Ron Fraser build the Hurricanes into a nationally prominent program. Bertman’s first LSU team competed in the spring of 1984 and by 1986 he took the Tigers to their first appearance in the College World Series.
In the ensuing years Bertman methodically built Tiger Baseball into the most successful college program in the country, leading LSU to 11 College World Series appearances and five national championships while generating interest that has produced the nation’s leader in attendance for 17 straight years.
He has received numerous honors over the years, including induction into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame, the University of Miami Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
Bertman’s number 15 was retired upon his retirement from coaching in 2001, the street that ran in front of the old Alex Box Stadium was renamed in his honor, and most recently it was announced that the field at LSU’s new stadium will be dedicated as “Skip Bertman Field” on May 17 of this year.
In 18 seasons as head coach at LSU (1983-2001), Bertman led the Tigers to five National Championships (1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000) and seven Southeastern Conference Championships. He finished his career with a total record of 870-330-3.
In addition to LSU’s 11 College World Series appearances, he led the Tigers to 16 NCAA Tournament appearances and he coached 41 LSU players who reached Major League Baseball. He was named National Coach of the Year six times (1986, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000) and SEC Coach of the Year seven times (1986, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997).
He represented LSU on the international stage as well, serving as assistant coach on several USA national teams and the 1988 US Olympic Gold Medal Team, and was head coach of the 1996 US Olympic Team in Atlanta that won the Bronze Medal.
Bertman also served as Director of Athletics at LSU from 2001-08, directing one of the greatest periods of facility growth and athletic accomplishments in the history of the institution.