Maggard’s Mission – From the Bird’s Nest
It isn't something I'm ready to write about.
It isn't something I'm ready to talk about.
Hell, it isn't something I even want to think about.
But Bryan Maggard doesn't have an option.
The Ragin' Cajuns Athletic Director has prioritized his job since the passing of beloved baseball coach Tony Robichaux one week ago. He has seen that the family's needs have been taken care of. He has individually called every one of the Cajuns' baseball players, including the ones coming in to play for the first time in 2020. He has assured them that they have his support and the program will carry on. He has made countless appearances before the media. He has continued the day to day running of the department.
And, as so many have done, he has set aside his own personal grief because he has a job to do.
Now comes what might be the hardest part of all.
He must identify the new face of Ragin' Cajuns Baseball.
Now, there are some who will believe Tony Robichaux will always be the face of the program. And, to an extent, they have a point. But that isn't the point.
Someone has to lead the program into 2020 and beyond.
Maggard's hiring record so far is impressive.
Billy Napier has taken over the Cajuns' football program. Napier is building the program under his image. And, that's a good thing.
Gerry Glasco came in and unified Ragin' Cajuns softball after coming in under difficult circumstances.
Lance Key hasn't coached an official game yet for Ragin' Cajuns soccer. But he is building it the right way in his first few months on the job.
All three of those men have something in common. They put the student in student-athlete first. And, they all have a high moral compass.
But this might be his toughest task to date.
Ragin' Cajuns baseball has its own culture. It is a unique culture in the athletic department. The other three hires have come in sports that have needed a culture change...or at least an adjustment.
Not this one.
That is what makes this hire so acutely important. The culture CANNOT change.
That narrows down Maggard's options considerably.
Because the coaches that are familiar with Cajun Baseball culture aren't just anywhere.
Maggard's charge here is to hire a man who has a high moral compass. He has to hire a man who will put the student before the athlete. But he also has to hire a man who understands the culture of Cajuns baseball, not someone who is coming in to change it.
Oh, the new coach will certainly do some things differently. But the culture cannot be shaken. It's been shaken enough over the last week.
I can't begin to tell you how much confidence I have in Bryan Maggard to do his diligence. I know he'll move as fast he can and as slowly as he needs to. I know he will hire a man Cajun Nation, and especially Cajun Baseball Nation will be proud to welcome.
Already some fans have decided who they "want" to be their new leader. Maggard will not be swayed by a popularity contest, nor should he be. I'm sure every name that people mention is already being considered.
I know I will wholeheartedly support whatever decision he makes because I believe in Bryan Maggard.
You should, too.