BATON ROUGE – It was a memorable evening at the ol’ ballpark on May 17, 2013, at LSU, one that will go down in history as the night legendary coach Skip Bertman’s name was etched onto Alex Box Stadium.
In a pregame ceremony that also celebrated the 20th anniversary of Bertman’s 1993 national championship team, the field at Alex Box Stadium was officially dedicated “Skip Bertman Field.”
“In a very fortunate lifetime of thrills and awards that were mostly deserved because of great players, this is at the very, very top,” Bertman told an adoring crowd of more than 10,000 Tiger baseball fans.
Bertman was joined on the field by his wife Sandy, his 1993 squad as well as scores of other players from the Bertman era that spanned from 1984-2001. Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva officially christened the field and signaled the unveiling of a new sign above the stadium’s press box that reads, “Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.”
“This is truly the house that Skip built,” Alleva said.
Although the field will be called “Skip Bertman Field,” the name of the stadium remains “Alex Box Stadium” in honor of the late LSU student, baseball player, Purple Heart and Distinguished Cross recipient who was killed in North Africa during World War II. The recommendation to name the field for Bertman came from the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame Election Board, which recommends honors for former coaches and student-athletes, and was approved by the LSU Board of Supervisors.
Bertman helped grow interest in the sport of baseball from an average attendance of less than 500 fans per game in 1983 to now become the annual NCAA attendance leader of more than 10,000 fans per game in a new stadium constructed under his direction as athletic director.
In 18 seasons as head coach at LSU (1984-2001), he led the Tigers to five National Championships (1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000) and seven Southeastern Conference Championships. He finished his career with a record of 870-330-3.
Bertman took LSU to 11 College World Series appearances, 16 NCAA Tournament appearances and he coached 31 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 2001-07, directing one of the greatest periods of facility growth and athletic accomplishments in the history of the institution.
Bertman is a member of the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame, the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Upon his retirement as baseball coach, his No. 15 jersey was retired at LSU.
Throughout his career and to this day, Bertman remains a pillar of the Baton Rouge community, serving on numerous philanthropic organizations such as United Way, Cancer Services and the Alzheimer’s Association and he has been honored by the likes of the Arthritis Foundation, the Boy Scouts of America and the Anti-Defamation League.