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Former McNeese coach Bobby Keasler stands on the sideline during a game. (American Press Archives)

Former McNeese coach Bobby Keasler stands on the sideline during a game. (American Press Archives)

Former McNeese coach headed to Southland Hall of Fame

Last Modified: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 2:26 PM

Special to the American Press

Bobby Keasler, who guided McNeese to four Southland Conference football championships from 1990-1998 and continues to remain the only coach in league history to garner Coach of the Year honors five times in a career, will be inducted into the Southland Conference Hall of Honor along with former Lamar men’s golf standout Chris Stroud, the league office announced Monday.

The two will be enshrined during the Southland’s annual honors ceremony and dinner May 20 at the Westin Stonebriar Resort in Frisco.

Keasler will be the seventh individual from McNeese to be inducted into the Hall of Honor, joining Moe O’Brien (1999), Louis Bonnette (2007), Bob Hayes (2007), Joe Dumars (2009), Sonny Watkins (2011), and Kerry Joseph (2012). Only Lamar has inducted more (9) into the Hall of Honor than any other team, past or present.

“We are thrilled to induct Bobby Keasler and Chris Stroud into the Hall of Honor,” Southland commissioner Tom Burnett said. “Coach Keasler led an incredible era of McNeese State football success, and his high performing teams included many of the best football student-athletes in Southland history.”

Honored last fall as the Southland Coach of the Year for the decade of the 1990s, he accumulated a 78-34-2 overall record and a 43-13-2 league mark during his tenure. Keasler’s teams won eight NCAA Division I-AA playoff games during the decade, and his 1997 team ran off a 13-2 overall mark and 6-1 league record on the way to the NCAA Division I-AA national championship game, a narrow 10-9 loss to Youngstown State. Keasler earned conference coach of the year honors in 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995 and 1997.

In his nine-year career, he became McNeese’s winningest all-time football coach and his teams won four Southland Conference championships (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997) and participated in the NCAA I-AA playoffs a total of seven times. His 1995 team went undefeated in the regular season and was ranked No. 1 in the nation for all of the regular season.

A native of New Iberia, Keasler was named the Louisiana coach of the year three times. He coached 53 first-team All-Southland players and 16 first-team All-Americans. He coached seven Southland players of the year and four Southland rookies of the year. He compiled an 8-7 record in the FCS playoffs and in four of his nine seasons as head coach, the Cowboys won 10 or more games.

His teams averaged 8.7 wins per season. Keasler, who also served the university as director of athletics, was inducted into the McNeese Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

“This is a great honor not only for Coach Keasler, but for the university and the area, for him to be acknowledged for the great success he had as head football coach here at McNeese,” McNeese athletics director Bruce Hemphill said. “It’s a well-deserved honor for one of the greatest coaches not only in McNeese football history, but also the Southland Conference.”

One of the all-time great golfers in Southland history, Stroud guided the Cardinals to three Southland titles and four consecutive NCAA Regional Championship appearances, which included a 13th-place finish in his final two seasons. A two-time conference individual champion (2001 and 2003), Stroud fired a 6-under par 210 to tie for fifth at an NCAA Regional and secure a bid to the 2003 NCAA Championships.

Stroud posted one of the best finishes in school and league history when he tied for third at the NCAA tournament after carding a 2-over par 290. His strong showing would earn him Ping First-Team All-America honors, becoming the first Cardinal to receive All-America recognition since 1986, and only the sixth Cardinal in school history to receive the distinction.

Stroud made his presence known early in his Southland career, earning player and freshman of the year honors in 2001. Stroud is the only player to earn both those distinctions in the same season.

A native of Groves, Texas, Stroud graduated from Lamar in 2004 with a degree in business administration and management information systems.

He is one of the school’s most decorated athletes.

The former Southland freshman of the year is the only golfer in league history to be named golfer of the year four consecutive seasons.

He also is a two-time Ping American and led the Cardinals to conference titles in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

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