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July 24, 2000

ULM AD will talk Sun Belt, Athletics in Bastrop Aug. 1

Things have changed in athletics at the University of Louisiana at Monroe over the last year.

Four new coaches have been named, most recently Brad Holland as the interim baseball coach to take over for the ultra successful Smoke Laval. Lisa Martin-Varytimidis is the Indians' new volleyball coach and Pat Bream has been hired to coach men's tennis. J.D. Malone was promoted from interim to head track and field coach.

And there was that announcement last November, that the Indians will join the Sun Belt Conference for football in 2001, giving ULM its first conference football home since moving to Division I-AA in 1994.

All of those changes have taken place in the short time that Warner Alford has served as ULM's Director of Athletics. During his 17 years as the AD at the University of Mississippi, Alford built an impressive resume in intercollegiate athletics. His ability to get ULM into a football conference has already punctuated his credibility in Monroe.

Alford will talk about ULM athletics at the Bastrop Municipal Center on Aug. 1 as part of ULM's "Athletics and Academics Building Partnerships,"

"Our players and our fans deserve the opportunity for ULM to compete against quality opponents at home," Alford said. "We feel like with the conference affiliation that we will have the opportunity to schedule five home games per season and that those five opponents will be teams that our fans and boosters want to see and that our team is excited about playing."

Next year, ULM will compete in the SBC with Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Middle Tennessee State, New Mexico State, the University of Idaho and the University of North Texas. ASU, UL-Lafayette and North Texas are all familiar to Indians' fans, and all are within easy driving distance when the Indians face them on the road.

"Warner Alford is a truly exceptional individual who brings to this position both the vision and the depth of experience necessary for success at this level," ULM President Lawson L. Swearingen, Jr., said when he named Alford as the Director of Athletics last June.

That experience helped ULM land a spot in the SBC and it has also helped in football scheduling. The Indians will play five home games in 2000, just the third time that has happened since the move to I-A was made. The Indians will also visit Arkansas and Tennessee of the powerful Southeastern Conference this season.

"Warner Alford is one of the most respected athletics administrators in the country," says R. Gerald Turner, President of Southern Methodist University and Chancellor at the University of Mississippi when Alford served as the AD there. "In addition, he is absolutely superb with alumni and supporters of the athletics program."

Alford will be just one of the guests next Tuesday at the Bastrop Municipal Center. ULM President Lawson L. Swearingen, Jr., and head football coach Bobby Keasler will be also be on hand to discuss athletics and academics at the University.

The program will begin with a social from 6:00-6:30. For more information, contact the office of Charles McDonald at 281-8121.

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