PINEVILLE, La. (KALB) - Michael Byrnes Jr. and Tillisha Givens joined the ranks of LC Athletic greats today, immortalized in the Louisiana College Athletic Hall of Fame.
Photo Source: LC Sports Information
Not since the building of the first baseball field on the campus of Louisiana College by the legendary Billy Allgood has one man had more of an impact on Wildcat baseball than Mike Byrnes. A 1978 graduate of LC and head baseball coach beginning in 2000, Byrnes has revolutionized the baseball program in multiple ways. He has tallied more than 350 wins in his career, guided teams to multiple postseason tournaments, including two NCCAA World Series, and was a multi-year recipient of the American Southwest Conference Coaching Staff of the Year. In addition, Byrnes has coached numerous players who received all-conference and all-academic recognition, as well as several who went on to receive professional contracts.
Byrnes' contributions can also be seen in the facilities at Billy Allgood Field. During his tenure, fans have seen the addition of a press box, team clubhouse with coaches' offices, covered batting cages, additional bleachers and chairs, and a full turf infield. Prior to his time at LC, Byrnes had established himself as one of the best coaches in the state. He guided Tioga High School to two football district championships and three powerlifting state championships. On the prep diamond at Tioga, he won 125 games in six years including back-to-back state championships, which earned him the 1987 Louisiana Baseball Coach of the Year honor.
Even with his accomplishments on the field, Byrnes' primary motive is to produce quality men and graduates from his program. The countless players that have learned and grown under his leadership are first-hand examples of his influence. Yearly team visits to VA hospitals, the organization of blood drives during the offseason, and the work he and the team do for cancer research and autism in Central Louisiana have all had a lasting impact not only the players, but on the community as a whole. Mike Byrnes epitomizes what it means to be about more than just baseball. His character and love for the game and his players make him one of the premiere coaches of his time.
Tillisha Givens is a 2011 graduate of Louisiana College and one of the more decorated women's basketball players in program history. She earned all-conference selections in all four years as a Wildcat including Freshman of the Year and a three-time choice for ASC East Player of the Year. She is one of just eight players to have earned All-ASC honors three times in a career.
Tillisha was a d3hoops.com All-American following the 2011 season and earned All-Region honors on three occasions, as well as begin named to the All-Louisiana team three different times. She averaged 15.6 points per game in her career, scoring over 1,600 total points with over 1,000 rebounds, 230 steals, and 125 assists. She was a key member of the Lady Wildcats 2009-10 NCAA Tournament team that won, to-date, the only women's basketball conference championship in school history, of which Givens was named tournament MVP. With her unrivaled work ethic, Tillisha excelled on a team littered with talent as one of the prime threats around the basket and as one of the great players in Louisiana College Women's Basketball history.