Curtis: On the Bayou

Feb. 1, 2006

On The Bayou


Brian Curtis is a CSTV football and basketball analyst and a regular writer.
E-mail here!

LSU is tops on Signing Day...when it comes to parties


By Brian Curtis

Senior Editor, CSTV


It's been a long day in Baton Rouge...for the revelers at the Bayou Bash on the Mississippi River.  Whether or not LSU has the top recruiting class in the nation (which, by the way, they don't, coming in anywhere from #5-7 according to the experts), the recruiting bash put on by the LSU Gridiron Club has got to top any other Signing Day party.


In my years in the media, I had heard about the all-day party, and had even been invited to attend, but I never seemed to make down there.  Tonight, I am no longer a Bayou Bash virgin.  Let me tell you a little about the gathering.


Imagine close to 5,000 people packed into a convention hall on the Mississippi River.  Now, envision that everyone is wearing some form of purple and gold LSU wardrobe.  Throw in dozens of vendor booths hawking everything from T-Shirts to financial advice.  Now, take that crowd of 5,000 and start the party at 7:30 in the morning, with food and beer flowing. 


Seriously.  The party gets underway at 7:30, so it is up and running when the first recruit sends in his fax to the football coaches, saying he is on his way to LSU.


After the coaches receive a fax, the recruiting coordinator approves it, sends it to the compliance office where it is certified, and the good 'ol folks at the Bayou Bash are alerted to the new signing, when it is posted on a large TV screen followed by video highlights of the new Tiger.  The place roars.


By late afternoon, much of the class is secured, but the beer is not.  As you might imagine, many of the faithful - who have driven from all parts of the state and region, and who have been drinking all day - are in a very loud mood.  They have been entertained during the day by replays of LSU games and by guest speakers, which, on this day, included the Tigers' equipment manager.  (There's a lot of time to kill.) 


Around 5:00 p.m., the LSU marching band arrives, and the place erupts.  The biggest roar of the day is reserved for head coach Les Miles and his staff, who take the stage along with their wives and children.  Miles gives a pep talk, says some nice things about each recruit, and then concludes the whole day as he walks off stage.  The 5,000 fans exit within minutes.


The day is a celebration for the fans, a time when the passion comes together.  It is a far cry from the LSU football offices during the day, where I spent time with the coaches and Miles as they waited, and sometimes waited longer, for faxes.  They received most of the faxes they were after.  They lost a few key guys who announced they were headed elsewhere, and one big-time recruit put off his decision.  The cell phones were busy and Miles was clearly on an emotional swing of sorts during the day.  The staff and their assistants kept track of how rival SEC schools were doing via the Internet.


When it's all over, the coaches and their wives head to a private dinner to celebrate; and to start talking about the high school juniors they will offer scholarships to in the morning.



Football Home