A busy three days of activities on and off the LSU campus in conjunction with the first home football game of the season begins Sept. 8, when the statue of former LSU and NBA great Shaquille O’Neal will be unveiled in front of the men’s basketball practice facility.
The outdoor portion of the ceremony, to which the general public is invited, will begin at 6 p.m. in the L-Lot in front of the main practice facility doors. The facility is attached to the back of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The 900-pound bronze statue is a life-size representation of a young Shaq dunking in his LSU basketball uniform.
Also that weekend, O’Neal will host his annual fund-raising golf tournament at Carter Plantation on Friday to benefit the Shaquille O’Neal Life Skills Program at LSU. Entries are still available through the LSU Life Skills Program office at (225) 578-0385.
Also, on Friday, the latest class of the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame will be inducted that night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Entering the Hall that night will be Seimone Augustus, Skip Bertman, Wendell Davis, Suzette Lee, Carl Maddox and Lloyd Peever.
LSU hosts Northwestern State in football on Sept. 8.
LSU SELECTED TO DEFEND SEC WEST CROWN: LSU was a unanimous choice to defend its Southeastern Conference Western Division title Monday in the annual coaches preseason pool announced by the conference.
The Tigers received 10 first-place votes for a total of 10 points.
“Certainly, being chosen to win the SEC West is a tribute to our returning players like Michele Williams and Desiree Elliott,” LSU coach Fran Flory said. “They have blazed a path for our program.
“We’re appreciative and honored to be picked in this position, but we know it’s not where you start it’s where you finish. We have to go on the court and prove it. We’re working hard every day in practice to accomplish this goal.”
LSU has racked up six consecutive SEC West championships.
Following LSU in the West ern Division prediction, in order, are Ole Miss, Arkansas, Auburn, Alabama and Mississippi State.
Florida, which won its 19th conference crown last season, charted nine first-place votes and was picked to win the overall SEC title.
Tennessee, which received two overall first-place votes; Kentucky; Georgia; and South Carolina round out the East, respectively.
LEFTWICH NAMED ASSISTANT COACH: Lindsay Leftwich has been named an assistant coach for LSU, head coach Beth Torina announced Friday.
The former Northwestern State standout spent the previous four seasons in the same position with Torina at Florida International.
“I’m really excited to add Lindsay to the staff,” Torina said. “She has been an asset to me in building a successful program at FIU, and I know she will continue to have a huge impact at LSU.
“She is extremely positive, enthusiastic and brings a great deal of knowledge to the table in all facets of the game.”
Before FIU, Leftwich served as a graduate assistant at New Mexico in 2007. In 2006, Leftwich worked as the pitching coach at Wichita State.
A native of Houston, Leftwich began her coaching career as a student assistant at Northwestern State.
Leftwich enjoyed a three-year playing career with the Demons, highlighted by NFCA All-Southeast region, All-Southland Conference and All-Louisiana second-team selections in 2002.
FOUR SENIOR CAPTAINS CHOSEN: As LSU prepares to kick off the season Friday night at Memphis, a quartet of seniors has been tabbed captains: Allysha Chapman, Mo Isom, Natalie Martineau and Kellie Murphy.
“We’re blessed with a tremendous senior class that will play a vital role in our success this fall,” LSU coach Brian Lee said. “Obviously, their level of play on the field will be a key for our team this fall. Each one of these young women provides our team with All-SEC ability at each position on the field.
“They also provide our program with tremendous leadership off the field, especially organizing our club’s community service efforts.”
SEASON TICKET HOLDERS MAY GET REWARDED: LSU on Monday announced a rewards campaign for season-ticket holders, providing a reward for two different benchmarks.
If LSU reaches 2,500 season tickets, all season-ticket accounts will be given an LSU blanket. If LSU sells 3,000 season tickets, each account will get a Sylvia Fowles LSU replica jersey.
The school said it is trying to reach 3,000 season-ticket holders this season.
LSU will open its home schedule Georgetown on Nov. 16 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The entire schedule will be announced later this month.
Season tickets can be ordered online at www.LSUsports.net/wbbtix or by calling the LSU Athletic Ticket Office at (225) 578-2184.