2003 Women's, men's basketball teams ready to hoop it up
October 13, 2003After more than a half-decade hiatus, intercollegiate basketball returns to LSUS this fall as women’s and men’s teams take on Gulf Coast Athletic Conference and non-conference squads.
The two programs are starting up with new staffs and some very good student athletes. Players have come from as far as the West Indies to be a part of the programs led by two premiere high school coaches well- equipped to move up to college ball.
Ronnie Howell, head women’s coach, compiled a 122-57 record as C.E. Byrd’s girls’ coach from 1994 to 1999 with five straight Division 5A playoff appearances. His teams were 5A state runners-up in 1997 and 1998. Since then, he led the Bossier High School Bearkats to four consecutive Division 4A playoff appearances.
Chad McDowell, head men’s coach, plans to continue his winning ways as he moves into the fourth phase of a personal “double-double.” He was a standout player at Southwood High School and LSUS, and comes to the Pilots after a highly successful tour as head boys’ coach at Byrd and Southwood, compiling an overall record of 151-57 and four 5A playoff trips including a runner-up finish in 2001.
As an LSUS senior in the 1994-95 season, McDowell held more than a dozen school single-season and career records, and was the third leading scorer and second in assist average in the region.
Howell and McDowell had to recruit their new teams from scratch, but found a wealth of outstanding talent to challenge their likely more-experienced opponents. Howell recruited 10 freshmen, two sophomores and a junior, while McDowell leveled the make-up of the men’s team with a half-dozen freshmen, three sophomores and four juniors. Four members of the men’s team have played for McDowell before.
“I am grateful for the chance to play here,” said Derrick Sowell, a 6-1 sophomore forward from Natchez (La.). “We will represent the school well and put LSUS on the basketball map.”
The season begins for the men Nov. 6 in Conway, Ark., at the Tip-Off Classic. The women travel with the men to take on Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas, on Nov. 11. Both teams take to the court for their home-opener double-header Nov. 18 against Texas College.
The season is getting close and the excitement is building. “We are excited about the upcoming season,” McDowell said. “We feel we have done a great job putting together teams everyone will be proud of both on and off the floor.”
The men play a 30-game schedule, and the women play 26. The men open their GCAC season Dec. 12 at home against Xavier University (New Orleans), while the women play Xavier at home Jan. 22. The other 17 conference games for both teams are double-headers, with three of the last four games at home in late February. They finish the regular season Feb. 28 against William Carey College in Hattiesburg, Miss.
“We are very excited about starting the program here at LSUS,” Howell said. “I am excited to have this opportunity, and the student athletes we have brought in are thrilled to be a part of this school and this program. We are really looking forward to kicking things off.”
“It’s good to have basketball back on the LSUS campus,” McDowell said. “We hope everyone takes the opportunity to see these exciting teams in action.”
Admission to all home games is free for LSUS students. Season tickets are $50 ($30 for LSUS faculty, staff, Foundation and Alumni Association “supporting” members). For season tickets, call the Athletics Office, 797-5194. For discounts, Foundation members call 797-5272 and Alumni Association members call the Alumni Office, 797-5109. Also call the Alumni Office to buy season tickets with a credit card.