NATCHITOCHES -- Monday's introduction of new Northwestern State baseball head coach Lane Burroughs featured much enthusiasm and energy from friends and fans of the program.
Burroughs was officially introduced Monday afternoon in a packed Stroud Room of the NSU Athletic Fieldhouse to followers and media, and many supporters were excited with what the new skipper will bring to the tradition-rich Demon baseball program.
"Hiring a new coach creates energy," said longtime season ticket holder Gerald Long, the state senator representing Natchitoches. "I think that is what we saw today, a lot of energy.
"I think he knows where the good athletes are," said Long, who umpired college baseball for several years, "and there are several good players looking for an opportunity. Northwestern State and Lane will be a good fit."
Burroughs has coached under some of the game's best head coaches, including Dave Van Horn, Rob Childress, and John Cohen, working under all three in 1997-98 when Burroughs was an assistant coach at NSU. Van Horn (Nebraska, now Arkansas) and Cohen (Kentucky, now Mississippi State) have since won National Coach of the Year honors, and Childress (Texas A&M) is a two-time Big 12 Coach of the Year award winner.
"It was a great hire for Northwestern State falling in a long line of great coaches hired here," said former Demon Eric Gilmore, a local businessman. "I played for Van Horn and Childress, the guys who brought him here as an assistant.
"You can look at the pedigree of coaches he's worked for and know that he's going to bring the things that NSU needs to get it to the next level," said Gilmore.
One focus Burroughs brought to the audience Monday is his recruiting plan, which focuses on making players from Louisiana a primary target.
"We're excited to have Lane here and the experience he brings," said Natchitoches Central baseball coach Kelly Spann. "I really like what he said about the taking care of his backyard when it comes to recruiting."
Burroughs also places importance on playing the game the right way and being more than just a coach, but a mentor to help players be successful once they are done playing baseball.
"I'm very impressed with him," said Randy Price. "He placed a lot of emphasis on family and winning the right way.
"The lessons he will teach young men are lessons they will carry throughout life because not everybody will have the chance to play professionally," said Price, who is the regional director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Current players who attended left the introduction with an invigorated feeling, eager to get to work and learn under a man with the track record of Burroughs.
"I'm excited to be able to work with such a prestigious coach coming from a big program like Mississippi State," said senior-to-be infielder Will Watson. "He's had a great reputation, and on top of that you can hear the sincerity in his voice when it comes to making us a better team on the field and better men off of it."
"I think it was a super hire," said Jimmy Berry, who played baseball for the Demons and whose son Kevin was a pitcher for NSU chosen in the major league draft in 1991. "I'm so excited about the experience he's had, all the people he's worked with, and the attitude he has about the job."
"We hit it out of the park with the hire of Lane Burroughs," said David Stamey, a longtime baseball season ticket holder and first-term Natchitoches City Council member. "I don't' think that is understated one bit.
"He's ready," said Stamey. "One of the bigger hurdles is getting to know Natchitcoches and NSU, and he already knows them and has done it and that will make a big difference."