Feb. 20, 2014
BEAUMONT, Texas -
Lamar will be hosting more than just the Sam Houston State Bearkats on 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 Kevin Smith.
Smith played three seasons at Lamar from 2003 through 2006 under legendary coach Billy Tubbs.
"I didn't play as much as I had hoped, but I made the most of it. I enjoyed it," said Smith, who majored in engineering but is now in his second year of residency as an orthopedic surgeon at Texas Medical Center in Houston. "I received an excellent education. I had the opportunity to be a student and an athlete at the same time," Smith said. "I wouldn't have had that same opportunity at a larger school. Lamar offers one of the best educations for the money not only in Texas, but in the country."
Smith said he was sold on Lamar after meeting with then-president Dr. James Simmons and others on his visit.
"They did a good job of selling me on the university as far as academics were concerned," Smith recalled. "I met with people in the engineering department who told me I could do both basketball and engineering."
Of course, having the opportunity to play for a solid program led by a storied coach didn't hurt, either.
"Lamar had a great basketball tradition. That was important," Smith said. "They had great success in the 1980s under Coach Tubbs. It was something I thought we could build on. Of course, Lamar didn't have football then. It was the main show in town."
Smith still cherishes the friendships he made during his playing days.
"The relationships I formed with teammates are special," he said. "We went through a lot with Hurricane Rita (in 2005). Everyone just bonded together."
Smith 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 game 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.