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Thread: Q&A interview between Bob Hamm and Gerald Hebert

  1. #1

    Support Q&A interview between Bob Hamm and Gerald Hebert

    Hebert tells of his early days raising money for sports

    Gerald Hebert, University of Louisiana director of athletic development, has emerged in recent years as master promoter and fund-raiser for athletic programs and events. In this issue, Hebert talks with Bob Hamm about his background and the development of his unusual skills. Next week, Hebert discusses athletic development programs under way at Louisiana.

    Question: What is your background in athletics?

    Answer: I played football, baseball and basketball while I was going to high school in Abbeville. Baseball was the sport I finally settled on. I played at Louisiana for two years, then with the New York Mets. Unfortunately, I tore up my left knee after six years of pro baseball, came home and finished up my degree. Then I worked as a graduate assistant in baseball. I coached the freshman team. We were undefeated. A 22-0 record. I also coached American Legion Baseball.

    Q: When did you first realize you had a special talent for athletic promotion?

    A: After I got my degree, I became a teacher and a coach at Scott Middle School. They had never won a football game, a basketball game or a track meet. I knew I was going to have to raise money for equipment, because it was so bad that opponents made fun of the school. I had been there just a few days when I announced that anyone wanting to be an athlete, in any sport, should attend a meeting in the gym. With everybody assembled, I took all of the equipment — or what they called equipment — and all the uniforms for all sports, and put everything in big cans. Then I poured gasoline on it all and burned it. I told them, "It's a new day. We're going out to raise money for uniforms and equipment, and you're going to help me." I got prizes donated for those who raised the most money.

    Q: Were you successful?

    A: We raised some serious money. I bought brand-new football helmets, shoulder pads and uniforms; track uniforms, warm-ups, you name it. Then I had them bring in anything that their parents were thinking about throwing away, and we had a sale that raised about $15,000. That's where I started to learn how to do promotions and fund-raising.

    Q: What was the next step?

    A: I was considered for the job of head baseball coach at UL, but came in second to Mel Didier. Dud Lastrapes, who was mayor at that time, offered me a job running the city and parish athletic programs. I did that for about five years. I did some things I was proud of, and I gained experience in organization and administration. After that, I worked for Paul Favaron at Coca-Cola for 10 years and really got into the promotions field, organizing things and coming up with ideas to promote the company and participate in the community. Next, I went into partnership with John O'Meara in the Liberty Card project. I sold my share to him and ended up here at the university.

    Q: You call your development work for UL Lafayette athletics the most exciting thing you have ever done. What was the most satisfying thing you did before your work at UL Lafayette?

    A: Bringing the Top 28 boys basketball championship tournament to Lafayette. I'm pretty proud of that. That was a challenge.

    Q: How did it come about?

    A: I went to a Top 28 tournament at LSU with two coaches whose teams had qualified, and they talked about how it cost them money for their teams to play in the Top 28. They talked about losing money playing for the state championship. I decided Lafayette could do better. I set out to learn just what Baton Rouge did to get the tournament, and found that they weren't doing anything. I put together a Lafayette group to meet with the committee that decided where the tournament would be held. We went to Baton Rouge in donated limousines. LSU didn't expect us. I started the presentation holding a basketball and using the theme, "We won't drop the ball." I finished and passed the ball to the next speaker. Each member of the team told what his company or organization would do to make the tournament successful, ending with "we won't drop the ball" and passing the basketball to the next speaker. In the wrap-up, I promised we would feed every team.

    Q: What was the committee's reaction?

    A: They asked me, "Are you guaranteeing that you're going to do this?" I said I was. Truthfully, I had not talked to one restaurant owner about feeding the teams. When I got back to Lafayette, I hit the streets talking to restaurant owners and managers. You know how generous the people here are. The restaurants bought into it. We kept all our promises and took the Top 28 tournament to a new level. We didn't just break the attendance record; we blew it away. It showed what we can do in Lafayette when we all work together.

    Q: Can we talk next week about the exciting things you're involved in at UL Lafayette?

    A: It's my favorite subject of conversation.

    The rest of Bob Hamm's interview

    Gerald Hebert meeting with United Louisiana Cajuns in 2002 raginpagin.com photo

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  2. #2

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    Hebert aims to develop university athletics

    PART II
    Last week, we talked with University of Louisiana Athletic Development Director Gerald Hebert about accomplishments that led to his recognition as a master of promotion and fund-raising for athletic programs and events. Today, Hebert talks about current programs initiated to give athletics a higher profile.

    Question: What is the overriding aim of the program to improve athletic facilities at UL Lafayette?

    Answer: This is all about three words: recruiting, pride and money. We have to show that we are committed to excellence in athletics, just as we're committed to excellence in academics. The "Investing in Our Future" campaign raised $100 million for academics. If we are going to be great in academics, why would we not want to be great in athletics?

    Q: Does the program benefit all sports?

    A: All athletic programs. Football is at the epicenter of it. It's the biggest sport, and the one that has the ability to pay the bills for everyone else once it's successful. The investment that LSU has made in its football program was not just to win a national championship. It was to create a pride factor. It was to reach out to those people who want to be associated with a winner. We have to do the same thing here.

    Q: What projects are under way to accomplish that?

    A: One of the first things we're doing, and it's very exciting, is renovating the athletic administration building. It will be done in four phases. The first phase is a brand-new football locker room with all brand-new lockers. The equipment room is being totally renovated. The training room, our No. 1 priority, was built 31 years ago to handle about 200 male athletes and now has to handle almost 400 men and women. It's completely outdated. We have now raised enough money and have enough in-kind donations to start working on the first phase.

    Q: What are the other phases?

    A: The second phase is doubling the size of the weight room something that is used by every sport, and can be another recruiting tool. The third phase will be to build an Athletic Letterman's Hall of Fame room. In the fourth phase, we will build a giant meeting room for athletes and staff. Offices for coaches will be built around it. I'm selling rooms. A company or individual can buy a room for $10,000 to $50,000 and that room will be named for that company or person.

    Q: How much money has your fund-raising drive produced?

    A: I am at $343,000 on Phase I. That's just cash. There are all kinds of people donating things, and with that we're actually at over a half a million dollars.

    The rest of the story


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    Lafayette, LA
    Posts
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    Like I said: Clone this guy!!!


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