Sam Hanna Jr.

For some time now a movement has been afoot to name the basketball court in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center (PMAC) at LSU after Dale Brown.

You may remember Brown. He came to LSU in 1972 at a time when the men’s basketball program was considered a joke. The team had not experienced any success to speak of since the early 1950s when Bob Pettit and Ned Clark, along with Norman Magee from nearby Port Allen, won a couple of Southeastern Conference championships and earned a spot in the Final Four. They were good, but those basketball squads of the early ‘50s represented the last notoriety men’s basketball at LSU would know until Maravich arrived in 1966. No explanation is needed for who Maravich was and what he accomplished in his four years in Baton Rouge. He was a once-in-a-lifetime talent. That’s why the PMAC is named after him.

Brown inherited a basketball program that could best be described as a dumpster fire, but over the next 25 years Brown won 60 percent of his games and became the winningest men’s basketball coach in the history of the Ole War Skule. Along the way he took the Tigers to two Final Fours, won four SEC championships and one SEC tournament championship. He was known as the “Master Motivator,” which is fitting since Brown had a knack for taking teams with less talent than others and working wonders with them.

An outspoken opponent of the death penalty, Brown was the first basketball coach in the SEC to start five blacks, and he did it in the 1970s when the civil rights movement was still not the most popular topic of discussion anywhere in Louisiana except in the black community. He took some serious heat for it too.

To this day, Brown, who is retired and still lives in Baton Rouge, is an ardent supporter of the LSU’s men’s basketball program. He’s not hard to miss at the home games, sitting just a few rows off the court, attentively watching the action.

Next month the LSU Board of Supervisors is expected to entertain a resolution to name the basketball court at the PMAC after Brown. The resolution is being pressed by Collis Temple, a member of the LSU board who also was the first black to ever play basketball for the Fighting Tigers. Brown was his coach.

Earlier this year, the state Legislature approved a resolution calling on the LSU board to honor Brown by naming the court after him. It passed the House and Senate unanimously. No detractors. None.

Yet, it seems there are a few members of the LSU board who are reluctant to name the court after Brown. Apparently they are concerned about naming the basketball court after an elderly white man. After all, being “woke,” or sensitive to all matters that one might find offensive, is all the rage around the country these days, including it seems among members of the LSU Board of Supervisors.

We should not be surprised that the LSU board lacks the moral fortitude to do what’s right for an honorable and decent man like Brown. Think about it. It was just a year ago that the LSU board ripped Gen. Troy Middleton’s name off the campus library because Middleton had penned a letter in the early 1960s explaining how LSU abided by state law at the time in keeping white students segregated from black students. It seems it was just too much for the LSU board to stomach, prompting those spineless wonders to besmirch the reputation of one of the most decorated Army officers to serve in two world wars.

Since we live in this era of all things “woke” or complying with “woke” or bending a knee to the “woke” lunatics among us, allow me to offer a solution to all of the controversies, real and imagined, surrounding the names of buildings and streets on the LSU campus.

Sell it all, I say. Strip every name from every building and every street on campus and auction off the naming rights to everything. All of it. We will leave no stone unturned. The possibilities are endless. Think about it.

Since the basketball court in the PMAC is the primary topic of discussion, perhaps injury attorney Gordon McKernan would be interested in buying the naming rights. Stenciled along one side of the court would be “Get Gordon.” On the other side of the court you would see “Get It Done.” He could even have his law firm logo on the basketball court itself under each basket.

If the naming rights to the court were not enough, McKernan could negotiate for the naming rights to the PMAC itself. “Get Gordon” on the roof on one side and “Get It Done” on the other side. That way when the helicopters are circling around the campus on game day capturing aerial shots of the crowd in Tiger Stadium, chances are someone watching television somewhere across the country would see McKernan’s advertising. Let’s call it a double whammy. That’s why it will cost double compared to simply buying the naming rights to the basketball court.

Maybe Victoria’s Secret would be interested in buying the naming rights to the street that runs in front of the sorority houses along University Lakes. It could be called Victoria’s Secret Circle, which of course would wind its way into the round-about at fraternity row. Certainly some businessmen in Louisiana who got rich off their relationships with former Gov. Edwin Edwards would be more than happy to buy the rights to name it, fittingly, the Edwin Edwards Round-About.

Let’s take Tiger Stadium, for example. The naming rights must be sold to Louisiana’s own, Raising Cane’s. No doubt the owner of the company, Todd Graves, would want to see the Raising Cane’s logo smack dab in the middle of the football field. Graves and LSU could even put their heads together and maybe set up some electronic signage at each gate leading into Tiger Stadium. The Raising Cane’s mascot, a beautiful yellow Labrador retriever, would be featured prominently on each electronic sign. Think kid friendly, folks.

We could not begin to leave this topic about buying naming rights at LSU unless we brought Big Oil into the picture. Just think about all the money — mucho dinero — that could be raised from Big Oil by offering our friends in the oil and gas industry the opportunity to buy the naming rights to the business school, the library, the mass communication building and last but not least, the building where coastal studies are taught. It’s a win-win for Big Oil. They get some good public relations out of it, and they would buy enough influence to tell the university president, William Tate, to keep a lid on all of that “woke” yack.

You see, under this sell-everything proposal no one suffers discrimination. The only color that would matter is green. Think “In God We Trust.”

Or we could shelve this silly idea, and the LSU board could simply do the right thing and name the basketball court after Dale Brown. He deserves it.

Sam Hanna Jr. can be reached by phone at 318-805-8158 or e-mail at samhannajr@samhannajr.com.

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