Matt Vines, Northwestern State Assistant Communications Director
NATCHITOCHES — Northwestern State invites friends, colleagues and former staff members of long-time sports information director Doug Ireland to celebrate his career July 12.
The Diggin’ Dougie Retirement Roast & Toast will honor and jab Ireland, who promoted NSU athletics with his own style for more than 30 years.
The event will take place on campus at the Freidman Student Union Ballroom from 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $25, which will help send the Western Pennsylvania native on a trip to see his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers and to start an endowed scholarship in his name.
To buy tickets or for more information on the event, visit nsudemons.com/diggindougie.
Ireland’s fashion sense suggests NSU/Dougie casual (T-shirts/polos with shorts) as a barbeque buffet will be served, one of his favorites.
Ireland announced his retirement this spring.
NSU Director of Athletics Greg Burke expressed admiration of Ireland’s service to NSU athletics.
“This event is designed to have a lot of fun at Doug Ireland’s expense – and Doug is all about having fun – but on a more serious note, everyone associated with NSU Athletics wants to recognize and acknowledge a dear friend who has immersed himself personally and professionally into Northwestern State University for many, many years,” Burke said. “We want this night to be special for Doug.
“What will make that happen more than anything else is for the countless number of people with whom he has interacted over the years – coaches, staff members, administrators, student-athletes, members of the media, fellow SIDs, NSU faculty and staff, Demon supporters, others around the world of college athletics and friends – to be in attendance at an event that is going to be filled with laughter, memories and maybe even a few tears.”
People who have personal or professional connections with Ireland are encouraged to write notes, record short video messages and/or send photos of the SID in action (work or play) to be shared at the event. Photos can be sent to Matt Vines at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those unable to attend the event are also welcome to donate towards Ireland’s retirement trip and endowed scholarship.
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 and McNeese, 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.