Feb. 18, 2014
BEAUMONT, Texas -
Lamar will be hosting more than just the Sam Houston State Bearkats Saturday. Although a contest against a conference foe is reason enough for Cardinals' fans to show up on campus, Friday begins a very special weekend for Lamar, and it has just as much to do with those in attendance. Lamar will be hosting a men's basketball reunion. One of those returning for the reunion is Calvin Rice, Sr.
Rice was a Lamar letterwinner in the late 80s and early 90s playing for two different coaches (Tony Branch and Mark Newell). Rice averaged 5.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game under coaches Tony Branch and Mike Newell.
"I had a great time," Rice said of his experience at Lamar. "There is nothing like camaraderie. I have established some lifetime relationships with gentlemen from different parts of the country. We are like family, and although we don't talk regularly, we are still connected."
Although his time at Lamar was a great experience, Rice's career as a Cardinal almost never happened. On a recruiting trip that was intended to scout a different player Rice caught the attention of the Cardinals' staff.
"Tony (Branch) came to see another kid play, and became impressed with me," said Rice. "He established a relationship with me, and did not lie about his intentions for me as a player."
Rice, who now serves as the as the principal of Booker T. Washington Elementary School in nearby Port Arthur, proved his longevity throughout his career playing in more than 100 games.
Rice and other past Cardinals will relive more of their fond memories beginning Friday. The reunion begins Friday at 6 p.m. with a dinner at the MCM Elegante. On Saturday, there will be an alumni golf tourney at the Beaumont Country Club, and an alumni basketball game at McDonald Gym. The weekend concludes with the against Sam Houston State at 6 p.m.
Fans interested in tickets for Saturday's game, can call (409) 880-1715, or visit www.LamarCardinals.com.