Lamar Cardinals football

The Lamar Cardinals football program represents Lamar University in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) level. The Cardinals are members of the Southland Conference and play their home games in the 16,000 seat Provost Umphrey Stadium.[4] The Cardinals left the Southland Conference in July 2021 to join the Western Athletic Conference, which relaunched its football league at the FCS level during the 2021 season.[5] After one season in the WAC, Lamar and the Southland Conference announced on July 11, 2022 Lamar's accelerated return to the Southland Conference effective immediately.[6]

Lamar Cardinals football
2024 Lamar Cardinals football team
First season1923
Athletic directorJeff O'Malley
Head coachPeter Rossomando
1st season, 0–0 (–)
StadiumProvost Umphrey Stadium
(capacity: 16,000)
FieldW. S. Bud Leonard Field
Field surfaceTarkett Fieldturf Classic HD CoolPlay Turf[1]
LocationBeaumont, Texas
All-time record221–307–9 (.420)
Bowl record2–1 (.667)
Playoff record0–1
Conference titles5 (1957, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1971)
RivalriesMcNeese State (rivalry)
Louisiana (rivalry)
ColorsRed and white[2]
Fight songCardinals Fight!
Marching bandThe Showcase of Southeast Texas[3]

History edit

The early years edit

From its inception as South Park Junior College in 1923, football was a part of Lamar's history. It was discontinued in 1928 because of a lack of common opponents but was revived again in 1932 by the renamed Lamar College. Coach John Gray led his charges to records of 8–1 that season and 8–1–1 in 1934 before the program was discontinued again in 1942 and did not resume again until the end of World War II. Football was restored in 1946 and the first football scholarships were offered. In the 1946 season Lamar posted an 8–2 ledger. The 1948 club (8–4–0) won two bowl games, and the 1949 outfit won an all time school record 10 games and another bowl trophy as the school bade farewell to the junior college era.

After the school moved up to the NAIA level in the Lone Star Conference, the Cardinals didn’t have a winning season until a superb 8–0–2 season in 1957 ignited a string of 11 consecutive winning campaigns. The 1961 team advanced to the Tangerine Bowl (now the Capital One Bowl) against Middle Tennessee State on December 29, 1961, and won 21–14.

Just as the Cardinals were becoming a perennial contender in the Lone Star loop, school officials moved the athletic program forward into the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) college division ranks in 1963 via the Southland Conference. The football team enjoyed immediate success with three straight SLC grid titles (1964–66). In 1964 the Cardinals were invited to the Pecan Bowl after a 6–3–1 campaign. The Cardinals lost 19–17 to Northern Iowa. The Cardinals had a second-place finish in 1967. A year later, the school's athletic program embarked on another challenge by upgrading to the NCAA Division I level.[7]

Lamar averaged 12,000 patrons through 1974, drawing a then record 16,226 against arch-rival McNeese State to Cardinal Stadium in 1972. The transition to Division I proved to be a spark for many LU sports but football experienced a downturn after 1974. Fans responded when new coach Larry Kennan delivered a 6–3–2 club in 1979; Games against Louisiana Tech (17,600) and West Texas State (17,250) rank second and third, respectively, behind the standing-room-only 18,500 Baylor drew for the 1980 opener. Lamar set an all-time attendance record by averaging 16,380 that season. The Cardinals’ signature win came on September 5, 1981, in an 18–17 win over the UPI No. 20 ranked Baylor Bears under Head Coach Larry Kennan.

Football competed as an independent from 1987 to 1989 after Lamar left the Southland Conference in 1987 to join the newly formed non-football American South Conference.

Disbandment and reintroduction edit

Dismal support finally led to larger-than-expected deficits and provided the bottom line fodder for five new appointees to the then-Lamar University System board of regents to discontinue football at their first official session on December 15, 1989 (5 to 4 vote).[8][9] Their vision was to divert money that was being spent on football to the basketball program and build Lamar into a basketball powerhouse.

In 2010, as a member of the Texas State University System, the university brought the football team back.[10] In preparation for the return of play the University did extensive work on the facilities including, Provost Umphrey Stadium, a new 54,000 sq ft Athletic complex,[11] and seven high class suites built into the existing Montagne Center,[12] new field turf,[13] and a new 26' X 51' video board.[14] The university hired former NFL player Ray Woodard as the head coach to lead the charge in bringing the Cardinals back to the gridiron. Former Basketball Coach Billy Tubbs was hired as the Athletic Director in 2006 and had a significant role in bringing back the Cardinals football team.

The football program, discontinued at the end of the 1989 season, was restarted with its first season back in 2010. The team competed as an independent that year. The first conference competition following the restart was in 2011.

Conference affiliations edit

Seasons Conference
1923–1926 Independent
1927–1931 Football not a sponsored sport
1932–1942 Independent
1943–1945 Football not a sponsored sport – World War II
1946–1950 Southwestern Junior College Conference
1951–1962 Lone Star Conference
1963–1986 Southland Conference
1987–1989 Division I-AA Independent
1990–2009 Football not a sponsored sport
2010–2020 Southland Conference
2021 Western Athletic Conference
2022–present Southland Conference

Division history edit

Seasons Division
1923–1926 National Junior College Athletic Association
1927–1931 Football not a sponsored sport
1932–1942 National Junior College Athletic Association
1943–1945 Football not a sponsored sport – World War II
1946–1950 National Junior College Athletic Association
1951–1962 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
1963–1972 NCAA College Division (Small College)
1973–1977 NCAA Division I (University)
1978–1981 NCAA Division I-A
1982–1989 NCAA Division I-AA
1990–2009 Football not a sponsored sport
2010–present NCAA Division I FCS

Early Years Reference:[15]

Conference championships edit

Season Conference Coach Overall Record Conference Record
1957[16] Lone Star Conference James B. Higgins 8–0–2 5–0–2
1964 Southland Conference Vernon Glass 6–3–1 3–0–1
1965 6–4 3–1
1966 6–4 3–1
1971 5–6 4–1

† Denotes co-champions

Bowl games edit

Lamar participated in two NCAA College Division level bowl games, going 1–1.

Season Coach Bowl Opponent Result
1950 Stan Lambert Silver Bowl "Tazon De Plata" Mexico City College W 19–13
1961 James B. Higgins Tangerine Bowl Middle Tennessee W 21–14
1964 Vernon Glass Pecan Bowl State College of Iowa L 17–19

FCS playoffs edit

Lamar participated in the NCAA Division I Football Championship playoffs for the first time in 2018.

Season Coach Round Opponent Result
2018 Mike Schultz First Round Northern Iowa L 13–16

Attendance edit

Highest attendance edit


Below is a list of the Cardinals top 10 best-attended home games (all at Provost Umphrey Stadium).

Rk. Date Opponent Attendance
Highest attendance
1 September 13, 1980 Baylor 18,500
2 September 22, 1979 Louisiana Tech 17,600
3 October 9, 2010 Langston University 17,306[17]
4 October 6, 1979 West Texas State 17,250
5 September 17, 1977 Louisiana-Lafayette 17,222
6 October 2, 2010 Sam Houston State 17,187[17]
7 September 11, 2010 Webber International 16,600[17]
8 October 16, 2010 South Alabama 16,150[17]
9 October 9, 1965 Arkansas State 16,000[18]
10 September 24, 1966 Southwest Missouri 15,643[19]

As of the 2023 season.

Yearly attendance edit

Below is the Cardinals' home attendance since program reinstatement.

Season Average High
Lamar Cardinals
2023[20] 5,643 6,583[21]
2022[20] 5,069 6,627[22]
2021[20] 5,716 6,812
2020[20] 3,293 * 3,833 *
2019[20] 7,173 9,218
2018[20] 7,077 8,028
2017[20] 6,631 8,417
2016[20] 7,429 8,697
2015[20] 9,364 13,136
2014[20] 8,347 10,212
2013[20] 8,379 10,738
2012[20] 11,119 15,367
2011[20] 14,442 15,367
2010[20] 16,078 17,306
  • Attendance restricted due to COVID19 restrictions.[23]

As of the 2023 season.

Rivalries edit

McNeese State edit

The two teams have met 40 times on the football field, with McNeese State holding a 28–11–1 edge in the all-time series. The rivalry has been expanded from football to head-to-head competition in all sports under a joint agreement with the two universities and Verizon Wireless.[24]

McNeese State–Lamar: All-Time Record
Games played First meeting Last meeting Lamar wins Lamar losses Ties Win %
40 November 10, 1951 (lost 7–13) November 19, 2022 (lost 20-24) 11 28 1 .288

Louisiana edit

The first Sabine Shoe trophy was first awarded in 1937 to the winner of the SLI–Lamar football game.[25] The name of the bronze rivalry trophy was derived from the Sabine River that forms the Texas–Louisiana border. USL defeated Lamar in the 1978 edition of the rivalry game, but the Ragin' Cajuns were not awarded the trophy as it had vanished.[26] The Sabine Shoe trophy now sits in at trophy case in the Ragin' Cajun Athletic Complex.

UL Lafayette–Lamar: All-Time Record
Games played First meeting Last meeting Lamar wins Lamar losses Ties Win %
34 October 27, 1923 (lost 16–19) September 1, 2012 (lost 0–40) 11 23 0 32.4%

Future scheduled non-conference games edit


Future non-conference games
Year Home games Neutral games Away games
2024 (09/07) Mississippi Valley State
(09/14) South Dakota
(09/21) Texas Southern
(08/31) Texas State
(09/28) Central Arkansas
2025 (09/06) South Dakota
(9/20) Sacramento State
(09/27) Central Arkansas
(08/30) North Texas
(09/13) Texas Southern
2026 (09/12) Idaho
(9/19) Sacramento State
2027 (09/18) Rice
2028 (09/09) Weber State

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ James Dixon (July 1, 2021). "Venues Get Upgrade as LU Begins WAC Journey". Lamar University Athletics. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  2. ^ Lamar University Athletics Visual Standards Manual (PDF). Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  3. ^ "The Showcase of Southeast Texas Marching Band". Lamar University. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  4. ^ "Provost Umphrey Stadium". Lamar University Athletics. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  5. ^ "WAC Announces Expedited Entrance for Four Texas Institutions" (Press release). Western Athletic Conference. January 21, 2021. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  6. ^ Thomas Scott (July 11, 2022). "Lamar moving to Southland Conference -- immediately". Hearst. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2011-08-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Lamar University Drops Football". New York Times. December 15, 1989. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  9. ^ "Lamar University drops football program". United Press International. December 14, 1989. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  10. ^ "Houston couple gives Lamar University engineering, football program million gift – LAMARCARDINALS.COM – Lamar Cardinals Official Athletic Site". Archived from the original on 2014-11-29.
  11. ^ "LAMARCARDINALS.COM – Lamar Cardinals Official Athletic Site – Facilities". Archived from the original on 2014-07-12.
  12. ^ "Morgan Suites to enhance Lamar University athletics facilities – LAMARCARDINALS.COM – Lamar Cardinals Official Athletic Site". Archived from the original on 2014-07-15.
  13. ^ "Football Artificial Turf Project Underway – LAMARCARDINALS.COM – Lamar Cardinals Official Athletic Site". Archived from the original on 2014-07-15.
  14. ^ "Lamar University".
  15. ^ a b [bare URL PDF]
  16. ^ "LSC Championship History - Updated 8/9/22" (PDF). Lone Star Conference. p. 3. Retrieved November 20, 2023.
  17. ^ a b c d "Lamar University 2010-11 Football Game Results". NCAA. Retrieved November 20, 2023.
  18. ^ "BRIEF SUMMARY OF CUMULATIVE FOOTBALL STATISTICS - Final" (PDF). NCAA. November 20, 1965. Retrieved November 20, 2023.
  19. ^ "BRIEF SUMMARY OF CUMULATIVE FOOTBALL STATISTICS - Final" (PDF). NCAA. November 29, 1966. Retrieved November 20, 2023.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "NCAA Statistics - Lamar University Football History - Year by Year History". National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved November 20, 2023.
  21. ^ "NCAA Statistics - Lamar University Cardinals (6-5) 2023-24 Football". NCAA. Retrieved November 20, 2023.
  22. ^ "NCAA Statistics - Lamar University Cardinals (1-10) 2022-23 Football". NCAA. Retrieved November 20, 2023.
  23. ^ "Cardinals Release 2021 Spring Football Schedule". Lamar University Athletics. Retrieved May 5, 2022. All home games will take place at Provost Umphrey Stadium ... Dates and stadium capacity will be contingent upon the current health conditions. Lamar University will continue to follow specific guidelines set forth by the NCAA, university and local medical authorities ...
  24. ^ "Verizon Wireless Announces Lamar-McNeese State Rivalry Series – LAMARCARDINALS.COM – Lamar Cardinals Official Athletic Site". Archived from the original on 2014-10-24.
  25. ^ "Tribal lore". The Sporting News. 1997. Archived from the original on 2012-07-09.
  26. ^ "The Week". CNN. October 9, 1978.
  27. ^ James Dixon (September 29, 2019). "Roadrunners, Mean Green Added to Future Dockets". Lamar University Athletics. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  28. ^ "Lamar Cardinals". Retrieved January 30, 2024.
  29. ^ Kevin Kelley (December 13, 2022). "Idaho, Lamar schedule home-and-home football series for 2023, 2026". Retrieved December 17, 2022.

External links edit