Friday, March 10, 2006

AD - LSU Ticket Prices

Interesting article about LSU and their current AD Skip Bertman, who was thought to be replaced by Dan Radakovich. It is interesting because it gives you some insight into what has happened to LSU athletics through their AD. We all know Radakovich has had his fingers in all these activities. Note these comments:

On the AD as a recruiter:

"I understand what coaches need," Bertman said before moving from the diamond to the administration building. "I think we can have fun, and I want to win in all the sports." One of the first things Bertman did was get behind the women's basketball program. In the spring of 2002, he actively recruited a high school girls player like no A.D. before him. Seimone Augustus signed with LSU in May of 2002, and the rest is history.

"That's what happens when you have a coach as an athletic director," said Chatman, whom Bertman promoted to replace Sue Gunter two years later. Behind the scenes, Bertman created marketing positions for women's basketball, and the rest is attendance history.

On facilities:

Bertman and staff made renovation plans for the neglected Assembly Center, which before Bertman's touch looked nearly as bad as the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. Previous athletic departments neglected the building and used a convenient excuse. The university operated the arena, so it was not the athletic department's responsibility, though it was home to basketball, volleyball and gymnastics. Bertman thought that excuse was stupid and took it over. A new roof replaced the diseased one in 2004 along with a new concourse, lights and seats among other enhancements.

On scheduling football and sticking with a coach:

Bertman tried to improve Brady's media image as he did with Saban. He got Brady to toughen his schedule, which was at its toughest this season and which many have credited for making LSU so good this season. He got Brady to alter his coaching staff.

"He did a lot that I asked him to do," Bertman said.

Bertman also did not fire Brady after the 2002 season, which was LSU's second straight losing campaign in the SEC and fourth out of five under Brady, or after the 2004 season, which saw LSU lose seven of its last eight after star center Jaime Lloreda's foot injury. Bertman did not roll over Brady's five-year contract after 2004, but he did stick with him when a firing would have been a much more popular decision among fans. But Bertman saw the local talent coming in and believed Brady could coach.

"I thought John had a bum wrap," Bertman said. "He's a good coach and a good person."

Today, Brady has the best two-year record of any SEC coach at 26-6 with a SEC title, two SEC West titles and a record, 17-0 home SEC record. He has two years left on his contract that Bertman plans to renew either after this season or next.

On raising ticket prices:

"We can win in all the sports, but it's expensive and depends on football," said Bertman, who dramatically raised football ticket prices before the 2003 season but showed "timely hitting." The football team won the 2003 national championship. Bertman raised football ticket prices again recently, but the football team is 33-6 the last three seasons with two SEC titles and a national title. It's not like the Saints raising ticket prices.

on Radakovich:

Bertman lost a valuable Radakovich to Georgia Tech last month, but he'll find someone else. He also said he's staying on at least through 2008 when he'll be nearing 70. New stadiums are on the horizon for baseball and softball.