By Malcolm Butler, Louisiana Tech Senior Associate Athletic Director
RUSTON — Louisiana Tech will honor legendary Hall of Fame coach Leon Barmore during a couple of events on Homecoming Weekend 2021.
On Friday, Oct. 22, at 2 p.m., the Leon Barmore statue will be unveiled on the front steps of the Thomas Assembly Center, the building where Barmore’s teams dominated opponents – with a record of 300-17 – during his time as Tech’s coach. The statue was funded through private donations in Barmore’s honor.
Tech Athletics partnered with world-renowned sculptor Brian Hanlon to create the tribute. Hanlon has created more than 550 public and private art pieces during the past 35 years and is the official sculptor of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
In addition to the statue unveil ceremony, the premiere of Coach: The Leon Barmore Story, an 84-minute documentary will be held the night before (Thursday, Oct. 21) at 7 p.m. in Howard Auditorium. Admission is free.
The film celebrates the legacy of a Ruston native who starred for Tech’s Bulldogs as a player, then coached himself into enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2003), the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2003), the Louisiana Tech Athletics Hall of Fame (2003) and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame (2004).
Barmore joined the Lady Techster coaching staff in 1977. During the next glorious 25 years until his retirement in 2002, he built a record of 576-87, the highest winning percentage in the history of both men’s and women’s college basketball. He guided Louisiana Tech’s Lady Techsters to 13 Final Fours, eight national title games, and three national championships.
He served as the assistant coach from 1977 through 1982, co-head coach from 1982 through 1985, and head coach from 1985 through 2002. He was a part of 24 national postseason tournaments, made national championship appearances in 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1988, 1994 and 1998, and earned national championships in 1981 (AIAW), 1982 (NCAA) and 1988 (NCAA).
The Ruston native coached 16 Kodak All-Americans, 14 WNBA players, four Olympians, and three Wade Trophy winners. He was a nine-time Conference Coach of the Year, the 1988 Naismith National Coach of the Year, the 1990 and 1996 United States Basketball Association (USBWA) National Coach of the Year, and the 1990 USBWA co-Coach of the Decade.
— Featured photo courtesy of Louisiana Tech