Video: Alleva talks Fulton, facilities, fan experience, football at New Orleans QB Club

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LSU athletic director Joe Alleva came prepared to speak at Tuesday’s season-opening meeting of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Quarterback Club presented by Home Bank to talk about three F’s: facilities, fan experience and football.

When it got to the question-and-answer session of his speech at Rock ‘n’ Bowl, Alleva added another F: local product Kristian Fulton, who was reinstated last week after a lengthy appeal process with the NCAA of a two-year suspension.

“Kristian is an unbelievably great kid,” Alleva said of the former Archbishop Rummel five-star recruit who has not played since Jan. 1, 2017. “If someone had told me I couldn’t play football for two years, I wouldn’t have had near the maturity he had. He never missed anything. He handled himself with the utmost of class.

“Forget about the fact he’s a really good player. He learned his lesson and he handled it with such class and dignity that I’m happy for him and happy for the team that he’s able to play.”

Alleva said a number of facility updates are ongoing, most notably a $30 million renovation of the football operations building.

“Almost everyone (in the SEC) has renovated or built a new football ops building” since LSU opened its building 11 years ago, Alleva said.

In addition to new video boards, the baseball and softball programs are getting new ancillary facilities. At baseball, a new weight room complex will also include a small locker room for former Tigers who are now in professional baseball.

“We think that’s great for the culture of our baseball program,” Alleva said.

Next up on the list are renovations to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, of which plans are still being finalized.

“One of the last facilities we haven’t done a lot to is the PMAC,” Alleva said. “One of the things we have to do to keep (the men’s basketball program) growing is to enhance the PMAC. I’d like to add club seating to that facility. Our fans like premium seating.”

Fans entering Tiger Stadium beginning Sept. 8 for the Southeastern Louisiana game will find several improvements, most notably a sports bar area in the lower level south end zone, where dormitories were previously located.

The sports bar will feature large-screen televisions and serve beer. “I think it’ll be a great enhancement to Tiger Stadium,” Alleva said.

“The SEC disallows the sale of alcohol in public areas,” he added. “You have to create club-type areas to sell alcohol. I really believe in the near future, that rule will be lifted.”

When the Tigers open the season Sunday night against No. 8 Miami in Arlington, Texas, the starting lineup will feature only three seniors, Alleva said.

“That’s a relatively young team,” Alleva said. “(Ed Orgeron has) done a great job of filling holes that we had, particularly on the defensive line. Our depth is much better on the defensive side of the ball. We’re going to have a very good defense, there’s no doubt in my mind.

“On the offensive side of the ball, I think you’re going to be pleased. Joe Burrow is going to be an outstanding quarterback, but Myles Brennan isn’t far behind. We’re really deep at wide receiver.”

Alleva called Orgeron, who begins his second full season as head coach of the Tigers, “a terrific motivator and an outstanding recruiter.”

“There’s some great talent in the state of Louisiana. Ed’s focused on the state of Louisiana.”

 

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Lenny Vangilder

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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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