Unlike most members of the Lafayette soccer community, I wasn't shocked when UL Lafayette fired coach Dave Poggi. Disappointed? Very much. After all, Poggi had 18 years of head coaching experience at the college level, the last five at UL. He also had winning records as head coach for two professional clubs, the most notable being the Lafayette Swampcats where he won the EISL title both years the league was in existence. If anything, Poggi was overqualified to run a startup program. So what was he doing here? He liked Lafayette.
Without so much as a stadium, Poggi managed to get the Cajuns to a competitive level. He used his contacts nationally and internationally to attract quality players who otherwise would never have considered UL. His last two recruiting classes were ranked nationally, and his players maintained an excellent academic record.
Athletic Director Nelson Schexnayder said the issues were considered over two days. And if that wasn't enough, the reasons for the discharge were complaints from parents over daughters' playing time. What are they running there, a U-9 recreational team? But before anyone thinks Schexnayder is at it again, consider this: the decision to fire Poggi ' as are all decisions at UL, large or small ' was made by UL President Ray Authement.
So why am I not shocked? Because as a former member of the UL soccer booster club I saw Schexnayder, at Authement's direction, place restrictions on our fund raising plans that rendered the effort meaningless. Because Lafayette is a small town, and if you get crossways with the wrong person, you pay. And because UL has an atrocious record supporting women's sports. Softball was nurtured from the beginning by Yvette Girouard, who left because she wasn't adequately compensated for all she had done. Stefni Lotief has carried on, but her income is supplemented by her husband's salary as co-coach, along with his legal practice. Are we going to see Mrs. Bustle on the sidelines this year? Of course not. Football is not a woman's sport.
I am not worried about Poggi. He will do fine. I do worry about UL, though, and all the women who pursue athletic careers there. They had better hope Title IX remains law; otherwise they're all out of here.