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Say hello to the Southeastern Louisiana Lions

Thursday, August 30, 2012 | 8:36 p.m. CDT

The Southeastern Louisiana Lions football team will pay its first visit to Columbia on Saturday. Here’s a quick guide to the university and its football team.

2011 Season Results: Southeastern Louisiana posted its sixth losing season in the last seven years during the 2011 season, according to the school's media guide. The team stumbled to a 3-8 record while losing 6 out of 7 conference games, and head coach Mark Lucas was fired at the end of the year.

However, the team managed to beat rival Nicholls State for the first time in three seasons to close the 2011 campaign. Seventeen starters return under new head coach Ron Roberts, the former head coach of Division II Delta State. Louisiana Southeastern kicks off its season against Missouri, possibly drawn by the lure of the big money the school pays to its nonconference home opponents.

Want to see the Lions play? Here are game highlights from Southeastern Louisiana’s 2011 loss against McNeese State (who the Missouri Tigers beat 50-6 in 2010).

Football History: In 2003, Southeastern Louisiana fielded a football team for the first time in 17 years. Since returning from the football hiatus, the Lions have managed only two winning seasons in nine years.

According to the media guide, the Lions first fielded a football team in 1930. Just six years after starting a football program, the Lions had an undefeated season in 1936. The Lions completed undefeated seasons in 1946 and 1954 before suspending their football program in 1986 due to a lack of funds.

Conference: The Lions play in the Southland Conference of the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division 1-AA. The FCS features a 24-team playoff system and much smaller schools than the Football Bowl Subdivision, where the Tigers play.

Location: Hammond, Louisiana, the largest city in the Tangipahoa Parish, has an approximate population of 20,000 people and is about 60 miles north of New Orleans. Hammond is known as the “Strawberry Capital of America” because the town became a major shipping hub for strawberries in the early 1900s. The Lions play home games at Strawberry Stadium.

Size: Southeastern Louisiana had a total student enrollment of 15,224 in 2008, and the campus size is 365 acres. MU has more than twice that many students, and the campus is more than triple the size of Southeastern Louisiana.

Missouri ties: Southeastern Louisiana’s media guide references former students who have gone on to have careers in the NFL. One of those players is Kevin Hughes. Hughes, an offensive tackle who played for the Lions from 2007-2010, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the St. Louis Rams. He was signed to the Rams practice squad after training camp but was promoted to the active roster and appeared in 3 games as a rookie in the 2011-2012 season.

Though the Lions have never played the Tigers, Southeastern Louisiana did play and beat the Missouri State Bears in 1984 in Springfield.

Other: Brandon Lacy, a defensive line coach for the Lions, was a Kansas Jayhawk during the 2001-2002 football seasons. He played defensive end for the Jayhawks and earned back-to-back Academic All Big-12 honors. Lacy has been a coach with Southeastern Louisiana for 4 years.

Below is a performance of Southeastern Louisiana’s fight song from Aug. 17.

Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.


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