, Port Arthur, Texas

June 11, 2013

SLC salutes Gilligan one more time for 1980s

The Port Arthur News

BEAUMONT — SLC announces 1980s All-Decade Baseball Team

 FRISCO — If the 1970s established Lamar University as a baseball power in the Southland Conference, the 1980s certainly continued that tradition as the Jim Gilligan-led Cardinals took home three championships in the decade.  On Tuesday, the league honored the achievement, naming seven players to the All-Decade team and Gilligan as the Co-Coach of the Decade.

 Gilligan, who shared the honor with Louisiana Tech’s Pat Patterson once again, was named the Coach of the Decade for the 1970s last week and also earned a spot on the All-Decade squad as a player for the 1960s.

 “This really means a lot to me,” Gilligan said. “To share these last two awards with guy like Pat is one of the greatest honors I’ve received.  As for the team, we saw a lot of great players come through here, and even though I was only coach for part of the decade, I have some of my finest memories from that time.”

 Gilligan left Lamar following the 1986 season to pursue a career in minor league management. He returned to Beaumont in the same capacity in 1992 and has held that post ever since.

 A total of 40 student-athletes makeup the 1980s all-decade team, including honorees from seven of the 12 institutions that were part of the league during the decade. Louisiana Tech and Texas-Arlington paced the squad with 10 student-athletes each on the team. Lamar had seven while McNeese State contributed five. Louisiana-Monroe added four selections while Arkansas State had two and Sam Houston State had one.

 “Southland Conference baseball in the 1980s continued to be played at a very high level with Lamar and Louisiana Tech competing on the national level,” Southland Conference Commissioner Tom Burnett said. “As the membership transitioned later in the decade, you can see developing programs planting seeds for more success in the 1990s.”  

 Lamar won three SLC championships in the decade (1981, 84, 85). Gilligan led the program to an NCAA Regional in all three years, with the 1985 squad falling one game short of advancing to the College World Series. During the 1980s, Gilligan coached a Southland Conference Hitter of the Year, three Southland Pitchers of the Year and 19 all-conference players. In the decade, his teams were 262-201 (.566) overall and 74-39 (.654) in league play.

 Among Gilligan’s all-conference players, seven found their way to the all-decade team, led by Tony Mack, who won consecutive pitcher of the year awards in 1981 and 1982. Outfielder Jerald Clark was a two-time all-conference player from 1984-85 and was tabbed hitter of the year in 1984. Clark enjoyed a seven-year stint in the majors with the Padres, Rockies and Twins.

 Infielders Alan Marr (1980-81) and Kim Christensen (1980 and 1982) were selected to multiple all-conference teams while pitcher David Poss (1984 and 1987) collected multiple honors as well. Cardinal Keith Silver earned the 1984 Pitcher of the Year award while outfielder Beau Allred received all-conference recognition in 1987 and proceeded to play for the Cleveland Indians from 1989-91.