Better late than never: Acknowledging Lisa Stockton’s history-making win at Tulane

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Lisa Stockton
(Photo: Parker Waters)

It might have gotten overlooked for a number of reasons.

It happened on the second Saturday of Carnival season.

It happened out of town – in Cincinnati.

And it happened amid other historic events on the same campus.

But something really important, really historic and really overlooked happened when Tulane’s Lisa Stockton became the winningest coach in the history of women’s college basketball in Louisiana.

It happened on February 18 when the Green Wave produced the 577th win of Stockton’s 29-year tenure by defeating Cincinnati 65-45.

That pushed her past former Louisiana Tech coach Leon Barmore, a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame, who led the Techsters to the 1988 NCAA Championship.

Speaking of Barmore, that brings us to another potential factor in Stockton’s milestone not receiving more attention – Barmore’s most noted pupil – LSU coach Kim Mulkey, a fellow member of the Naismith Hall of Fame, who led Baylor to three NCAA titles before becoming Tigers head coach before last season.

Mulkey, who played for Barmore from 1980-84 and was an assistant under him from 1985-2000 before going to Baylor, has LSU among the Top 5 teams in the country and one of the stronger Final Four contenders as the post-season looms.

When it comes to women’s basketball in Louisiana, it has been Mulkey’s Tigers who have breathed most of the oxygen this season and understandably so.

But the fact that Stockton has now won more games while coaching women’s college basketball in Louisiana than the guy who put women’s basketball on the map in Louisiana is significant.

“I think it’s really special because I think Leon Barmore, with what he’s meant to women’s basketball, is amazing,” Stockton said in a Tulane news release after the record-setting win. “To be mentioned in the same sentence as him is pretty incredible.”

Imagine if a Louisiana men’s basketball coach had surpassed Dale Brown’s win total. Or if a Louisiana baseball coach had surpassed Skip Bertman’s (or Ron Maestri’s) win total. Or a Louisiana football coach had surpassed Eddie Robinson’s (or Charles McClendon’s) win total.

These are history-making times for Tulane athletics. The Green Wave just completed the most significant football season in school history – winning the AAC championship, defeating USC 46-45 in the Cotton Bowl and finishing No. 9 in the AP poll.

As a matter of fact at about the time Stockton was making history, football coach Willie Fritz was riding as Grand Marshal in Endymion.

Men’s basketball coach Ron Hunter isn’t doing any grand marshaling just yet, but his fourth Green Wave team is in a three-way fight to claim the No. 2 seed in the AAC, behind only Houston – the No. 1 team in the AP poll.

As for Stockton’s group, the record-setter was Tulane’s third consecutive American Athletic Conference victory and the streak grew to four with a 64-46 win against East Carolina on Saturday.

That left the Green Wave 17-11 and 7-8 in the AAC going into the regular-season finale at Memphis on Wednesday. Then Stockton and Tulane will be off to Fort Worth for the AAC tournament.

In remains to be seen what happens with the Green Wave at the conference tournament and perhaps beyond. It has been common for Tulane seasons to extend beyond the conference tournament during Stockton’s tenure.

Stockton, who has averaged 20 wins per season, has taken the Green Wave to the postseason 21 times (including 11 trips to the NCAA Tournament) and won five conference tournament titles and won four regular-season conference titles.

She has earned conference Coach of the Year honors three times (Metro in 1995, C-USA in 2007 and 2010).

Perhaps someday many years from now someone will win more games than Stockton as a Louisiana women’s basketball coach.

If they do, it will be worthy of a lot of attention.

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Les East

CCS/106.1 FM/Daily Iberian

Les East is a nationally renowned freelance journalist. The New Orleans area native’s blog on was named “Best Sports Blog” in 2016 by the Press Club of New Orleans. For 2013 he was named top sports columnist in the United States by the Society of Professional Journalists. He has since become a valued contributor for CCS. The Jesuit High…

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