LAFAYETTE, La. -- Former University of Louisiana at Lafayette football coach Russ Faulkinberry died Wednesday at the age of 77 after a long illness.
Faulkinberry, who coached from 1961 to 1973 at what was known then at Southwestern Louisiana University, posted a 66-62-2 record. He invented the mascot "Ragin' Cajuns" for his team, since the majority of his players came from southern Louisiana.
"I was an only child," said Nate Thornton, who played at ULL
from 1970 to 1974. "And after what he came and told my mother,
Notre Dame could have offered me a scholarship the next day and I
still would have played for him.
"He said, 'If you let your boy come to USL, I promise he'll get
an education, he'll go to church and he'll be a better man.' And I
think he did all that," Thornton said.
Nelson Schexnayder played on the 1970 Cajun team and later
served as the school's athletic director.
"The thing I remember is his intensity," Schexnayder said.
"He demanded the best of us. He told us to do everything we could to be successful, and as a result we had success as a team."