DeSoto Parish has a had a long and illustrious relationship and devotion to LSU. Our chapter seeks to hear from you, your stories of friends, families and personal LSU stories. Please write to us and tell us of the great LSU people you have known in DeSoto and those who have carried the LSU banner in our parish. We will have a new regular feature in this History section called TIGER SPOTLIGHT DESOTO. Personally, I only know what is happening now as I only moved to DeSoto in 1978. I have heard of an LSU Alumni chapter getting together in the 1960's - 1970's for a while. The leaders and presidents that I haver become aware were Virginia Jensen and then Herman Lawson. I had acquired the Cadet Uniform of Claude Roberts, a 1919 student from our parish. This uniform is on display at the Jack and Priscilla Andoine Museum at LSU in Baton Rouge. The biggest LSU fans and supporters when I came on the scene were Ted Bagley, Sammy Joe Odom and Dr. Don Taylor. The list of Desoto devotees to LSU is long, so please help us record their stories and send them to us for publication.
The Desoto Parish Chapter of the LSU Alumni Association was chartered in the fall of 1997 with the goals of promoting the welfare and interest of LSU in our parish, to help introduce our local scholars to the academic offerings of LSU, to raise financial resources to provide scholarships for DeSoto parish scholars, and to foster fellowship and growth to LSU friends, families, students and alumni.
First Four Years
The first four years consisted of away gameday television parties and a yearly cookout. The first three cookout gatherings included a fish fry, a "pig roast" and a barbeque at the Cook Hill Home. The early attendees will remember watching football games at Washington Square and at Dr. Rew's house while the Davidson family, the Steve Jones family, Ted Bagley and his sons, Tommy Craig, Joe Cobb, Donnie Dufour, the Dudley Glenn family, the Chris Christian family, Dave Means, J.R. and Carol Adams and others cheered on the Tigers. These view could create interesting discussions about the coaches we correct during the reigns of Gerry Dinardo, Nick Saban, and Les Miles
The Golf Classic
The next 12 years featured the main event of an ever evolving and growing Golf Classic. The fourth Golf Classic was moved to the Cypress Bend Golf Resort overlooking Toledo Bend and grew into a whole weekend event featuring Friday night fish fries, LSU multimedia event, an Early Bird Golf Tourney and a live band,followed by a full Saturday Golf Tourney and Annual Banquet. In 2009 the Golf Classic was renamed in honor and memory of Dr. Donald R. Taylor, an outstanding DeSoto physician and citizen.
In 2013, on July 12th the 12th Annual LSU Alumni Association's Dr. Don Taylor Golf Classic will be held with an expanded field and offering to the public. We invite you to visit our section on ACCOMPLISHMENTS to view the amazing results the friends, fans and alumni of LSU in DeSoto Parish have achieved.
Awards and Accomplishments
In a listing of 130 chapters of the LSU Alumni Association, the DeSoto chapter was ranked 2nd in the amount of funds raised for the Association. The chapter has annually awarded an ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR AWARD beginning in 2000 after the chapter lost 2 of it's great early supporters in Sammy Joe Odom and Larry Binning. Those being so honored have been John Blanchard, Virginia Jensen, Walter Dorroh, Chris and Jeanne Christian, David Means, William Dorroh, Dr. Don Taylor, Dudley Glenn,Walter Fair Johnson, D. Scott Brown, Fred Binning, Amy and Jeff Garsee and in 2012 Donnie Dufour. The chapter has also awarded as a special recognition the LODWRICK MONROE COOK AWARD, in honor of DeSoto parish's favorite LSU son and one of LSU greatest leaders, benefactors, and success stories. The two recipient to date are Dr. John Gregory, Kyle McDonald and Dr. Charlie Roberts. The chapter has hosted events with Coaches Les Miles, Gary Gibbs, Josh Henson, Gary Gibbs and John Brady, LSUAA President Dr. Charlie Roberts, Dr. Tommy Casanova, Todd Walker and Jim Hathorne, the voice of the Tigers. With these great historic LSU roots in Desoto Parish this chapter is just beginning to spread it's wings.
TIGER SPOTLIGHT IN DESOTO
"BLEEDING PURPLE AND GOLD" by Robin and Christian Bagley
Anyone who knew my father knew a true Tiger fan. He wore many hats during his lifetime, but was most well-known for his work as an attorney for many years in Mansfield, Louisiana. A fixture on the courthouse square for decades, he was an overflowing source of parish and state history and a legal advisor to generations of townsfolk as well as the surrounding area. Patrons who strolled in to The Bagley Law Office found it paid homage to his family as well as the state and legal profession that he loved so well. Too, they discovered a shrine to his beloved LSU, from the law degree that proudly hung behind his renowned red leather chair to a personally autographed, original black and white photo of a boy named Billy running across a grassy football field. Few spots on his brown-paneled office walls left a doubt for visitors that Ted Bagley truly bled purple and gold.
In the 1950's, Ted played basketball at Louisiana Tech University during his undergraduate days. In fact, as he moved on to further his education in Baton Rouge, he remained a faithful fan of the hardwood. Dedicated to his studies. many nights he found himself in the basement library in the Law School Building, listening to the cheers of football fans waft in through the open windows. Fellow law students finally persuaded Ted to attend a few games in the stadium that some had begun to call, "Death Valley." However, it was in that basement on a cold Halloween night in 1959 where he listened to the uproar from Tiger Stadium as Billy Cannon completed his famous 89-yard punt return and touchdown against Ole Miss. To have heard him tell it, the torture of working in that musty basement while others were witnessing history on the field was almost too much to bear! From that night forward, Ted rarely missed an opportunity to root on his Tigers to victory.
Raised to respect tradition and loyalty, Ted shared his love for LSU with his family, friends, and often, any stranger who would stand still long enough to listen! He generously shared game tickets and was responsible for providing many their first memorable experience inside Tiger Stadium. Not ever to be confused with a fair-weather fan, my father followed the Tigers across state lines and sometimes staunchly defended a losing record, always looking forward to the next game and the next season. He found an enjoyment in Tiger football that spun into a passion for purple and gold that spanned his career and his lifetime. Well-known wildlife artist, Ron Atwood, met my father after his interest in purchasing LSU items ( well before the merchandising frenzy we know today) spurned the staff of a Shreveport gift shop to put the two in touch. They struck up a friendship and Ted quickly became his best customer. He bought at least two of each print that Atwood produced and at least 3 of anything that pertained to LSU!
My own first chance to see the Tigers play was at the ripe age of six in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1978. Having the means to fly his family across borders to support LSU was a source of great pride for my dad. Usually, he flew himself and my mother to at least one game a year. When political meetings or continuing-education law classes would overlap with a home game, Ted would have my grandparents board my brother and I on a plane in Shreveport that was bound for Baton Rouge to meet my parents who were already there. Fondly, I recall tailgating with buckets of chicken, repeated pilgrimages to the Tiger cage and listening with great anticipation for the Golden Band from Tiger Land to strike the first four notes of the night while marching down Victory Hill to the stadium. It was mystical to me as a child; an excitement that stirred the air and a way of life so steeped in tradition that it brought throngs of people together with only one desire.... to watch the Tigers win. It enchanted my father. It stirred his soul. And, he passed the fascination on to me.
Growing up, I listened as my father regaled others with tales of LSU games. One such was the 1983 game that pitted LSU against the No. 9 Washington Huskies. Our family usually lodged at the Belmont Hotel where the visiting team also stayed. After the game, in which a stellar performance by the Tigers upset the Huskies 40-14, my mom and dad, along with his brother and sister, returned to the Belmont. Stopping for a bite in the hotel eatery, the foursome soon found themselves in the midst of a room packed with Huskies' fans. Never one to back away from a challenge, Dad simply stepped up to the plate, valiantly swung his fist in the air and growled, "How 'bout them Tigers??!!" Somehow, his outburst was met with humor and sportsmanship and, ever the politician in the room, Ted met and good naturedly expressed his condolences to a few dozen Huskies' fans that night!
Not only did my father's passion for LSU teach me lessons in life about respect for tradition and preserving a legacy, it also taught me about sportsmanship, levity, and commitment. Games such as the 1979 battle against #1 Alabama, which my brother and I, along with my dad and uncle, suffered through along with our team, taught me about perseverance and never quitting when the chips are down. Played on a bitterly cold November night, the game was a true battle between gladiators in the misting rain. Bear Bryant's Tide only managed to eke out one field goal in the 3-0 win that had threatened the then-ranking of the '79 SEC Champs. At ages 5 and 7, my brother and I would have traded our ponchos and wet jeans for a dry room and a television set early on in the game, but not our dad. He stayed until the final seconds ticked off the clock. Praying for a miracle and, admittedly, respecting the man who proudly donned the plaid hat. He admired their similiar stauchness. I likened him more to the Tigers themselves. He never gave up either, especially when the odds were stacked against him.
In 2000, my dad gave my new bride the chance to go to Death Valley for her first time. Of course, she was immediately baptized in the spirit that overcomes Tiger fans in that stadium. During our eleven years of marriage, we have made many treks to Baton Rouge to enjoy the sweet indulgence of an LSU game. In 2009, we were thrilled to make the journey with a child in tow for the very first time. Our daughter, Teagan, inhaled the sights and sounds of her first game and, completely tuckered out by half-time, fell asleep draped across my lap, invoking memories of resting my own sleepy head against my dad inside the very same arena. It was bittersweet, to say the least. Running a close race to that event, was the 2010 season which saw me escorting all three of my "girls" to Tiger Stadium. Five-year-old Teagan and two-and-a-half-year-old Tatum, both fully attired as LSU Cheerleaders, rode our shoulders as the band marched down Victory Hill. I choked back tears as those first four notes again evoked memories of my childhood, my mother and my father, a flood of happy memories that I was now making for my two precious daughters. Of course, on Sunday morning, we traditionally revisited the stadium and said our farewells to Mike. And, leaving campus, we made one final stop. On the steps of the Law Building where their "Poppa" went to school, my wife took a picture. I sat on the steps of that monument in my life with my two biggest blessings, perhaps not far from the window from where my father breathed in the sounds of his very first Tiger game, and I hoped. I hoped that there was a hole in the floor of Heaven that day, so my dad could see us. I know he was smiling.
Note from webmaster: Christian Bagley has provided to the annual Silent Auction at the Golf Classic creations made thru his talents in metal work each year we have been at Cypress Bend. He helps recruit sponsors to the Golf Classic as well.