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Gazzolo Column: Dow's voice missing but his presence still felt at McNeese

Last Modified: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 10:10 PM

By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

Richard Dow lives for McNeese State sports.

To many he is the voice of the Cowboys, whether it be as a roving sideline reporter at football games or up in the press box during baseball season — and several points in between.

But of late the sideline guy, as some know him best, has been sidelined himself with a serious case of what was diagnosed as pancreatitis.

It has left a void this season, one that Dow is especially happy with.

Before the first kickoff he predicted the Cowboys would return to the postseason. He was convinced when others were still wondering what direction the program was headed.

At 7-1 and in the driver’s seat in the Southland Conference, Dow was right. He often made it a point to let me know that during the early portion of the season.

His voice might be missing this season, but McNeese State still feels his presence.

No matter what the game’s final outcome Dow, who also hosts the television show “Inside McNeese Football” with head coach Matt Viator, would end his broadcast with the same words: “It’s a great day to be a Cowboy.”

These days he is finding out just how right he is.

While Dow has been sidelined, the school, community and his friends are coming together when he and his family need them the most.

On Nov. 15, McNeese is hosting a jambalaya lunch. All proceeds from the event will go into a fund to help defray some of the medical and other expenses the family faces.

Even if it is just a little bit of the overall bill, the money will go a long way to show how much the school and those associated with it care about Dow.

“Richard has been a great part of the McNeese family for a long time and we will do anything we can to help out,” said Sports Information Director Matthew Bonnette, who also is serving on the fundraising committee.

“This is what we do here, we are all one big family and try to help each other out. We have to try and take care of and look out for each other.”

Tickets ($7 per plate) are on sale for the lunch, planned for 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. two weeks from Friday.

“It is really the least we could do to show Richard how much he means to all of us,” Bonnette said.

Dow, who has been in and out of the hospital spending a good portion of the time in intensive care, would likely be one of the first to step up if it meant helping somebody else.

“Richard has been a great Cowboy and a great friend to me and the community,” said Ron Hayes, who is Dow’s partner on men’s basketball home broadcasts and helped form the fund. “This is tough for the family, especially with the holidays coming up. Anything we can do to help with that we will do.”

“This is a tough situation for family and anything we can do to help we will try,” Bonnette said. “Richard has meant and done a lot for McNeese athletics over the years. He is always there for us. He has been a big part of any success we have had. This is one small way to show our appreciation.”

The community has already stepped up. One local businessman, who Bonnette said wanted to remain anonymous, took care of all the expenses for the event, ensuring that all the proceeds will go directly to the fund and family.

“We have already gotten a great response from the community, especially those with ties to McNeese,” Bonnette said. “The outpouring has just been great. People want to help.”

Tickets can be purchased through the McNeese State SID or men’s basketball offices, or donations can be made to Jeff Davis Bank in care of the Richard Dow Gift (Acct. No. 60020390).

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Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at

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