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February 25, 2000

Barr honored at Fant Memorial Scholarship Dinner

Guy Barr, Regional Vice President in Mid-South for State Farm Insurance and a longtime supporter of the University of Louisiana at Monroe athletic program, received the community service award at the Second Annual Lenny Fant Memorial Scholarship Dinner Friday evening.

The event, part of this weekend's festivities officially changing the name of Ewing Coliseum to Fant-Ewing Coliseum, was hosted by the ULM Athletic Scholarship Foundation at the Conference Center in the University Library.

ULM President Lawson L. Swearingen, Jr., made the presentation and praised the many ways both Fant and Barr had contributed to not only athletics, but the entire University.

"We honor the memory of Coach Lenny Fant for a life well lived -- a life which influenced so many others for the better and in so doing contributed immeasurably to this University and this community," Swearingen said. "Secondly, we are here to honor the many contributions of one whose own unselfish community spirit best represents that exemplified by the life of Coach Fant."

Barr, a former coach and teacher, has been in his current post with State Farm since 1992. He began his State Farm career as a Baton Rouge agent in 1972.

A past chairman of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, past President of Parkview Baptist Church Men's Group and Superintendent of Sunday School, Barr has also served as the President of the ULM Athletic Scholarship Foundation and as a member of the Board of Directors of the ULM Foundation. He has been a member of the Board of Directors for various other civic organizations and has received numerous awards and honors in the community, including the Sam Walton Business Leader Award and the Arthritis Foundation Humanitarian Award. Recently, he was named to the Copiah-Lincoln Junior College Sports Hall of Fame and the Delta State University Sports Hall of Fame, as well as the College of Business Hall of Fame at Northwestern State University.

Swearingen said Barr's attitudes and actions in community service, were similar to those of Fant.

"Guy was once asked what had compelled him to give so much of his life to community service. He replied, 'A community or a neighborhood needs everyone contributing. By combining that great variety of talents, there is nothing we can't accomplish. I've just been trying to do my part.' With that simple, heartfelt perspective, Guy Barr -- just like Coach Fant -- has taken the life that he has been given and has lived it to the fullest. Our community -- our neighborhood -- has been made richer and better for his living among us," Swearingen said.

Barr joined Melvin Rambin, last year's honoree, as the second recipient of the award that's chosen by the ULM ASF Executive Committee.

The Lenny Fant Memorial Scholarship is named in memory of the former Indian basketball coach who lost an 18-month battle with cancer in October, 1998. Fant, who coached men's basketball for the Indians from 1958-79, posted a 326-221 overall record at the helm of the Indians and closed his career with 18 consecutive winning seasons.

A 1950 graduate of Centenary College in Shreveport, Fant was a four-year basketball letterman and captained the Gents to a then school record 21-win season as a senior. He is a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame, the ULM Hall of Fame and the Centenary Hall of Fame.

During halftime ceremonies of the ULM men's basketball game against Stephen F. Austin on Saturday (3:00 p.m. tipoff), the name change of the Coliseum will become official, in honor of the former coach.

"Coach Fant was a person who had a great relationship with everyone he came in contact with, and he was committed to this University and its success," said ULM Director of Athletics Warner Alford. "This is a fitting way to honor his memory and it will continue his legacy here forever."

The ULM ASF has set a goal of raising $100,000 to endow the scholarship for future men's basketball players. Those wishing to contribute to the scholarship fund can donate their tax-deductible contributions at any time by contacting the ULM ASF at (318) 342-5428.

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