After taking over from the legendary Skip Bertman, LSU baseball coach Raymond “Smoke” Laval has resigned after five years at the head of the program. Under Smoke’s leadership, the Tigers amassed a record of 210-109-1, 88-60-1 in the SEC. LSU won the SEC Championship in 2003, and played in the College World Series twice, in 2003 and 2004, out of four NCAA Tournament appearances.
Lest anyone think this was about LSU not making the NCAA Tournament for the first time in, well, a long while, this is what Skip had to say about his friend, and the search ahead:
“I think hiring a new coach is not as easy as people might think. The coach that resigned had the most wins in the Southeastern Conference in the last five years, more than any of the other 11 coaches. He had the most wins totally in the last five years over every coach except for the coach at South Carolina. He’s the only coach besides the South Carolina coach who has been to the College World Series more than once. No other coach has won the conference more than one time in the last five years. I think that’s a lot of pressure. The standards here are high and the pressure is great.”
It would be tough on any coach having to step in to the incredibly big shoes left behind by Skip Bertman, and Coach Laval has done the best job he can. We wish him well in his future endeavors, and will always consider him one of our own. Thanks, Smoke!