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UL director of athletics Bryan Maggard, shown here introducing Matt Deggs as the new head baseball coach last July, has been given a five-year contract extension.

When UL hired Bryan Maggard on Feb. 1, 2017, he naturally had no idea how many major issues he was about to face as the director of athletics for the Ragin’ Cajuns over the next three years.

More than three years later, Maggard’s consistent, compassionate and organized handling of each major obstacle has resulted in the university awarding him a five-year contract extension.

The university released the news late Thursday afternoon, saying Maggard’s revised deal will now run through February 2025 “with no other contract terms changing” in the new contract.

“Dr. Maggard has made important improvements and advancements with Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics during his time on campus,” UL president E. Joseph Savoie said in a statement. “This contract extension reflects that, and we are all excited to see our sports programs maintain this momentum. Our student-athletes, staff and community will continue to benefit from the department’s commitment to academic achievement and athletic excellence in the years to come under his leadership.”

It would be difficult for an athletic director to have a more turbulent first three years on the job.

Seven months into the job, Maggard fired successful softball coach Michael Lotief, resulting in dividing the UL fan base in the department’s most successful sport.

In three weeks, Maggard replaced Lotief with Gerry Glasco, who has continued the program’s annual assault on Oklahoma City. In his second season, Glasco led the Cajuns to a 52-6 record and the program was 18-6 against the No. 1 RPI schedule in the country at the time with very real Women’s College World Series hopes after beating such programs as Florida, LSU, Texas and Oklahoma State.

Maggard also helped get the softball program and UL community overall through the loss of Glasco’s 24-year-old daughter Geri Ann in a tragic automobile accident just weeks before the start of the 2019 season.

Almost immediately after guiding the softball program in a new direction in 2018, Maggard fired football coach Mark Hudspeth and replaced him with Billy Napier.

Much like Glasco, Napier was somewhat successful in his first season at 7-7 and then took off in Year 2 with a record-breaking 11-3 record and bowl victory.

Maggard then remained calm as his popular football coach was reportedly courted by Ole Miss, Mississippi State and then Baylor. Yet Napier remains the Cajuns' coach and hopes to return to the Sun Belt championship game for the third straight season in the fall.

Then incredibly it was baseball’s turn with the sudden passing of longtime baseball coach Tony Robichaux to heart disease last July.

After helping to console an emotionally devastated fan base, Maggard quickly went to work in convincing former UL assistant coach Matt Deggs to return to Lafayette as the Cajuns’ new baseball coach.

In his introductory news conference, Deggs said, “If you guys aren’t aware of this yet, you have an absolute stud in this guy. I suggest you break out whatever it takes to keep him here. He’s got a vision. He’s got energy.”

Deggs’ announcement came a week after Maggard introduced Lee De Leon as the new executive director of the Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Fund.

During his three-year tenure at UL, Maggard also hired a new women’s soccer coach in Lance Key, who immediately led the Cajuns to a winning record and the program’s first Sun Belt Conference Tournament win.

“I am extremely humbled and honored to receive this extension and vote of confidence from President Savoie,” Maggard said. “Although we have experienced a number of positive achievements to date, we have much more to accomplish. Both Kerry and I are very excited to remain a part of the amazing Cajun culture that has embraced us so warmly since arriving in 2017.”

In addition to all the emotional upheavals UL’s athletic department has had to endure under Maggard’s leadership since 2017, his wife of 28 years, Kerry, was diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall of 2018.

And now, Maggard joins the nationwide effort of trying to lead his athletic department through the economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic.


Email Kevin Foote at kfoote@theadvocate.com.