Matt Vines, Northwestern State Assistant Sports Information Director
NATCHITOCHES — Longtime Northwestern State scribe Doug Ireland spent countless fall nights on the Turpin Stadium press level, feverishly recounting the latest Demon football contests.
Now, that press area high above the Turpin turf will bear his name.
Starting in the 2019 football season, media will compose their own NSU football articles on the Doug Ireland Media Level of Turpin Stadium after the Louisiana Board of Supervisors approved the measure (Thursday/Friday) in their June meeting.
“Doug is truly deserving of this special recognition,” said Jerry Pierce, vice president for external affairs. “He has promoted Northwestern’s sports programs effectively for three decades through extensive media initiatives, and it is appropriate for the name of the media area of the stadium press box to reflect his immeasurable contributions to the university.”
NSU director of athletics Greg Burke, who has been a part of the Demon athletics department for most of Ireland’s 30 years, said honoring Ireland in a visible way is an easy decision.
“It is appropriate and fitting for Doug to be honored in this enduring manner as an illustration of the lasting mark he leaves on the NSU athletic program after so many years of service and dedication,” Burke said.
A 1986 broadcast journalism graduate from Northwestern State, Ireland returned to his alma mater in January 1989 and began a three-decade career promoting NSU’s 14 intercollegiate teams.
Armed with nearly a decade’s worth of experience in newspapers and as an assistant sports information director at UL Lafayette, Ireland quickly put his stamp on NSU athletics. His 1992 football media guide earned “Best in the Nation” honors in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) ranks from the Collegiate Sports Information Directors of America.
The award-winning sports information director took home 33 Louisiana Sports Writers Associations honors just since 2000, including the 2017 LSWA Story of the Year.
The majority of those honors came from telling the stories of Northwestern State athletes, coaches and support staff members.
He’s tutored a wide range of sports information protégés, including directors at Kansas State, McNeese and Northwestern State, an associate commissioner of the Southland Conference with others that have worked at LSU, Vanderbilt and Penn State among other institutions and various publications.
Ireland’s career has had many branches and a vast impact, including his volunteer role as chairman of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, housed in Natchitoches.
His friendly face greeted numerous Louisiana Sports Hall of Famers and has been part of a weekend experience that has hall of famers returning each year for a new class of inductees.