Oct. 14, 2004
BEAUMONT - Lamar coach Billy Tubbs reached the coaching milestone of 600 career wins last season and if his excitement level at Thursday's basketball media day is any indication he's looking to add significantly to that total this season.
Tubbs, entering his 30th season as a head coach, guided the Cardinals to an 11-18 record last season, the first year of his second tenure at his alma mater. He has an overall record of 606-315 (.658) and an 86-64 (.573) in five years at Lamar. Tubbs enters the 2004-05 season as the 10th active winningest coach in NCAA history.
Lamar led the Southland Conference and ranked 15th in the NCAA in scoring at 79.1 points per game last season, topping the century-mark three times. The Cardinals also ranked among the NCAA leaders in steals at 9.3 per contest.
With three starters and six lettermen returning and the addition of a recruiting class that was ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation by Clark Francis of HoopScoop.com, Tubbs is excited about the upcoming season.
"We're like everybody else in the country," Tubbs said about the anticipation practice starting. "We're tired of running on the track and conducting off-season workouts. As a coaching staff, I know we're excited and ready to go and I know the players are excited and ready to go."
Lamar has put together another challenging schedule that features 16 home games. Among the non-conference schools visiting the Montagne Center this year will be Houston, Air Force and long-time rival Arkansas State.
"We have a nice schedule this year," said Tubbs. "I thinks it's a winnable schedule from the standpoint that I don't think there's a game in there we couldn't win. There is a nice balance with tough road and home games that will prepare us for conference play.
"Road games at Rice, Tulsa and North Texas will certainly be comparable to road game we'll be playing in our league. Home games with Arkansas State, which brings a nice rival back and we're starting a series with them, and Houston, a continuing series that we hope to keep going."
Not known as a coach who typically plays a lot of players, Tubbs admitted he may have to expand his rotation this year with a roster that includes 19 players.
"This may be the most players I've ever had on a team," commented Tubbs. "That has some advantages because it's going to be very competitive. It's going to be tough to get practice time and it's going to be tough to get game time. Because of the number of people and the quality of the people on the roster, that's going to make us a better team.
"We're going to be at least two-deep at every position. I think that makes for great competition in practice. I think our players are excited about that and they know it's going to very, very competitive in practice."
Lamar officially starts practice on Saturday with workouts from 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. and again from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. Both practices are open to the public. The Cardinals first exhibition game will be Wednesday, Nov. 10 against Delta State at 7 p.m. Lamar opens the regular season on Nov. 23 with a 7 p.m. game against Jarvis Christian College.
There are still plenty of good seats left for the 2004-05 season. Season ticket applications are still be accepted. Sidecourt reserved tickets are $150 (per seat), end zone reserved tickets are $105 and the family fun zone is $249, which includes two adults and up to three children. For more information, call the ticket office at (409) 880-1715 or visit the Montagne Center Box Office.