A Letter From Joe Alleva
LSU Sports Interactive
On the heels of Mardi Gras, we are beginning our busiest time of year – spring sports season when hundreds of our student-athletes compete for the purple and gold all over the country.
Earlier this month, we welcomed 23 new student-athletes to our football program and to the LSU family. Like all our student-athletes, every member of that class will enjoy the benefits of a great education, the best facilities in collegiate athletics, great coaching and the unwavering support of the most passionate fans in all of sports.
Coach O's first full class as head coach brings with it great promise and lots of reasons for optimism heading into the 2018 season.
Building a roster is about setting priorities and executing a vision. Coach O is doing exactly that – not just with talent but with a talented roster purpose-built to compete for championships in the SEC. To do that, Coach O made clear the priorities for this recruiting class – bolster the offensive and defensive lines with top talent and depth, keep home Louisiana's best and improve the passing game.
The results? Coach O delivered one of the top classes in America for offensive and defensive lineman - 11 of our 23 signees will play with a hand on the ground including the No. 1 ranked JUCO defensive and offensive linemen. LSU signed eight of the top 10 prospects in the state. Rounding out the class is the No. 1-rated receivers class in the country who will play alongside a group of quarterbacks who have the potential to be elite.
Mark April 21 on your calendar for the spring football game. And in the fall, we will gather as a community to cheer on our Tigers in the pantheon of college football. Our shared passion will be on full display – it's what makes this place so special and we wouldn't want it any other way.
Geaux get 'em Coach O and welcome to our new Tigers!
Last night against Vanderbilt, our men's basketball team won their fifth-straight home game in impressive fashion. Coach Will Wade's team isn't content with just a promising future with a top-5 recruiting class. They continue to work hard each day to represent our university with pride, posting seven victories against top-50 RPI teams as they look to finish the regular season strong.
Our women's basketball team is playing as well as anyone in the SEC and are back in the top 25 rankings sitting at 10-4 in the league. They are playing inspired, pulling off multiple upset victories in conference as Nikki Fargas surpassed 200 victories as a head coach. The Lady Tigers are poised to make a postseason run.
We are also celebrating the return of diamond sports. Softball under Coach Beth Torina remains unbeaten at 10-0 and ranked in the top 10. They return great talent and have welcomed one of the best freshmen classes in America. They will embark on their first road trip this week, competing in Stockton, California, on Thursday.
Coach Paul Mainieri and LSU baseball witnessed the largest paid attendance in the history of the program Friday night against Notre Dame before an incredible rally to win game 1 of the series. There are a lot of new faces on the roster and I know our fans will continue to cheer them on as they work to improve every game and represent that great program with pride.
Coach D-D Breaux's gymnastics squad is No. 2 in the nation after making history this weekend with the highest score in the country in 2018 and its second-straight 198+ score for the first time in school history. At home, their performances are a must see for LSU fans. Twice this season we have seen a record 13,000 plus fans pack the PMAC for gymnastics meets. There's no other place in America that can say that.
This season we have already witnessed track records set - senior Mikiah Brisco recorded the fastest 60-meter dash time in LSU women's track history and the fastest time in the nation. Head Coach Dennis Shaver has his team set again to break even more records and compete for championships in one of the most storied programs in all of college athletics.
Our men's and women's tennis and golf teams are gearing up to challenge for championships. Both are enjoying new and updated facilities that are unmatched in their sports. And you'll want to witness one of our new fan-favorite sports, beach volleyball. We recently announced a new arena will be built for the program that is already establishing itself as one of the best in the country.
Our swimming and diving teams competed in the SEC championships over the weekend and had more than 20 personal best times. Congratulations to LSU sophomore diver Juan Celaya-Hernandez who won his second SEC platform title and third gold medal of his career with a 474.85 and to swimmer Harrison Jones who set the school record in the 200 fly.
All of that, and we still have a department-wide graduation success rate of more than 90 percent.
At LSU Athletics, our goal is to provide the best possible environment in which our student-athletes can excel on and off the field of play. We are doing that at an elite level and I have never been prouder of our student-athletes than I am today.
We have the best and most passionate fans in America and I want to thank all of you for your continued support and enthusiasm for LSU Athletics. It's a great time to be a Tiger.