For many fans of Southern University and Northwestern State, Saturday’s matchup may seem like any other football game in the fall.
However, the same can’t be said for Southern Athletic Director William Broussard.
Broussard was a center for Northwestern State from 1997-2000, where he was a two-time All-American.
He recalls the first time he played the Jaguars.
“My first college football game was against Southern,” Broussard said. “I remember that game very vividly.
“My dad was decked out in his purple and white with a big No. 53 pin on his shirt. My mom was wearing black and gold because she’s a Grambling alum, and she was just excited to root against Southern.”
Sam Goodwin, who was Broussard’s coach at Northwestern State and coached at the school from 1983-99, said Broussard was one of the best interior linemen to play under his tutelage.
“We had some real good centers when I was at Northwestern (State),” Goodwin said. “But he was the best one. He was one of a kind.”
Goodwin said Broussard was a special player and person.
“He was smart as a whip,” Goodwin. “He had it all. He was an All-American as a player and an academic All-American as well.”
While not a vocal leader, Goodwin remembers Broussard as a player everyone on the football team looked up to and admired.
“The way he carried himself,” Goodwin said. “His leadership really showed in his work ethic and his ability to outwork guys.”
Despite weighing about 250 pounds, Broussard excelled.
“Every week he would be going up against someone at least 100 pounds bigger, but he always got the job done,” Goodwin said.
After his playing days, Broussard became the associate athletic director for external relations as well as the executive director of the Demons’ Athletic Association in 2007.
Broussard served in that capacity until June 2011, when he was named athletic director at Centenary.
After a year at Centenary, Broussard came to Southern in the spring of 2012 to become athletic director, where he took over a department troubled with Academic Progress Report issues.
Broussard said he is pleased with the progress that Southern has made.
“We have great academic advisors, along with a strong compliance office and coaching staffs that have bought into the importance of academics,” he said.
Upon Broussard’s arrival, the men’s basketball program was in turmoil after obtaining one of the worst APR scores in NCAA history.
Two years later, the program serves as one of the benchmarks for student-athletes.
“Our men’s basketball program is the model program,” he said. “It’s the blueprint program for APR success in the entire NCAA for anyone and after two years completely penalty-free. The team won the conference tournament and went to the NCAA tournament.”
“So we know it can be done because we have a program here that has set the prototype for it.”
Ultimately, Broussard said, he believes what the basketball team accomplished could be shared among Southern’s other athletic programs.
As the Jaguars get ready to take on the Demons in Natchitoches on Saturday, Broussard recalled his collegiate recruitment.
Heavily recruited by both schools out of Crowley High School, Broussard had interest in attending Southern despite both of his parents graduating from Grambling.
After not hearing back from legendary Southern coach Pete Richardson, Broussard eventually wrote off the Jaguars when his father informed him he had not heard from them either.
A later conversation between Richardson and Broussard revealed that indeed Southern had been in contact.
Yet Broussard’s mother — a proud Grambling alum — decided that her son would not be a Jaguar, throwing the letters in the trash and erasing the voicemails.
“I wasn’t even upset about it,” Broussard said with a chuckle. “It made me realize that the Southern-Grambling rivalry was a real rivalry.”
“And for me at the time, at some point in my career, I wanted to experience a rivalry that real.”