“Whew man, I don’t know what I would’ve done Chris. I tried to quit twice.”
Well, ULM faithful are certainly glad baseball legend Lou St. Amant stuck around. The program and venue he’s called home for over five decades is now forever named in his honor: Lou St. Amant Field.
“I thought they were kidding, ” says St. Amant. “I was here with Coach [Mike] Federico and he mentioned it, and I said, ‘Oh, come on!’ And, Scott McDonald, I’m with him. He’s the [Athletic Director]. And, he talked to me about it. And, I said, ‘Come on Scott!’ I didn’t think anything of that.”
From first arriving in 1967, as Northeast Louisiana baseball’s graduate assistant, to eventually leading the program in 1979, there are tons of stories from St. Amant. That includes many from the 1983 season, during NLU’s NCAA regional run.
“We went to Texas, and my boy Roger Clemons and [Calvin] Schiraldi were pitching for them, ” says St. Amant. “That was a great event. Great memories. But, I’ll tell you what, all the years I coached, every year was great.”
Once departing the dugout, he took his talents to broadcasting. St. Amant remained in a community that meant to much to him.
“It was a small town atmosphere that we had here, ” says St. Amant. “We got to know everyone. You surround or you’re around people that are real good. You like what you see and you stay there.”
His presence continues to impact anyone he’s come in contact with.
“He was just such a laid back coach, ” says Chuck Finley, former NLU and Major League Baseball pitcher. “He had a way of saying not much. But, getting a lot across. I loved playing for Lou. We had a good time together.”
“He’s probably done more for this university, not only financially, ” says Jeff Schexnaider, former ULM head baseball coach and NLU player under St. Amant. But, support and really given his whole life since he’s been up here to ULM. I’m happy to call him my coach.”
We’re not far from baseball at Lou St. Amant Field. There’s just something missing.
“I don’t know if I could handle it, to tell you the truth, ” says St. Amant. “I know one person I wish would’ve been here, and she’s not. That’s my wife. We were married 58 years when I lost her. And, she loved it. And, that’s why we stayed here so long.”