Dr. Ed Dugas, UL – Lafayette Athletic Network and Beloved Historian

Dr. Edmond (“Ed”) Dugas, Research Coordinator for the Athletic Network at UL – Lafayette, joins Discover Lafayette to discuss his career at UL – Lafayette and his lifelong dedication to athletics at the institution.

In 2002, Ed was the driving force behind creation of the Athletic Network (“AN”), which showcases athletes/sports in UL’s past. Mike Spears of Firefly Digital developed the website.

AN provides an historical and educational clearinghouse of information about Louisiana athletics and the University spanning over 110 years. It also serves as a communications database for former athletes, support groups, faculty, administration and fans. Ed and his son, John Dugas, are volunteers who personally enter the data and take responsibility for accuracy of the site’s materials. It is truly a labor of love and devotion to UL – Lafayette sports!

Ed is a native of Evergreen LA (located between Bunkie and Cottonport). A graduate of Evergreen High School, Ed had intended to enter the Air Force Academy but his plans were short-circuited by health issues relating to his inner ears. Luckily, the Principal of his Evergreen High School was close friends and the college roommate with SLI (now UL – Lafayette) President Joel Fletcher, who convinced Ed that he should attend college in Lafayette. And as they say….the rest is history.

When Ed started college in 1958, UL Lafayette was then known as South Louisiana Institute or “SLI.” Its original name was SLII (South Louisiana Industrial Institute). In 1960, the university was renamed to USL, an acronym for University of Southwestern Louisiana, and an endeavor in which Ed was actively engaged. (The university was renamed to University of Louisiana at Lafayette in September 1999. Ed joking says that “We change our name every 39 years.”

Governor Mike Foster signing legislation renaming USL to University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Ed looks back upon his time at USL with fondness and shares how student workers worked hard, up to 100 hours per month, for the sum of $40 per month, while they still had to pay $16 per month to cover room and board! But the experience was invaluable and Ed taught tennis and coached basketball as he worked with Dave Fisher.

Ed went on to graduate from USL in August 1962 and was mentored by USL’s late, great basketball coach, Dutch Reinhardt. He earned a Masters and Doctorate in Physical Education and Education Administration. He looks back with admiration of the talented staff he worked with, including Dr. David Fisher, Fred Nelson, Clyde Wolf, Dr. Jim Kennison, and Al Simon.

Ed served on the UL faculty in a variety of positions and ranks from 1967 until he retired in 2001. Administratively, he served in the following positions at USL: Coordinator, Men’s Physical Education; Coordinator, Graduate Studies for the College of Education; Head, Department of Health and Physical Education; and Director of Student Teaching. He was the first Executive Director of the Louisiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. In 1988, Ed was one of three graduates selected as “Outstanding Graduates” from the USL College of Education in their 25th year after their graduation date. In 2001, he was awarded the Professor Emeritus title at UL -Lafayette.

Dr. Ed Dugas pictured in red jacket with the first officers of the new College of Education Alumni Chapter, with Dr. Ray Authement on far right.

As you’ll hear during this interview, Ed has been anything but a retiree in the past twenty years.

Ed’s life has been defined by athletics, both in teaching and reporting on the athletic history of UL – Lafayette through the Athletic Network, which provides a place for former University athletes and fans to connect and join support teams for their favorite sports.

After a two-year hiatus, the Athletic Network went live again on December 13, 2023 thanks to a significant donation made to the Athletic Network by Edmond “Bruce” Bentley, USL Men’s Basketball Student Athlete and Manager from1966 to 1969. Bruce had described the importance he felt for the university to have a communications vehicle such as the Athletic Network website readily available at no charge to its athletes, support groups and the Cajun Nation, echoing the feelings of his mother, Dr. Doris Bentley, a long-time faculty member in the College of Business Administration who was a strong supporter of the Athletic Network.

Pictured above are a few highlights of UL – Lafayette’s history. We encourage you to visit athleticnetwork.net to check out teams and support group members, view photo galleries, news, archives, family connections and much more, dating back to the early days of SLII.

Just a little more about Ed and the exciting experiences he has had in the field of sports. He served on the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under four different governors. In 1996, Ed was honored to carry the Olympic Torch (Main Street, Opelousas and Court House Program) as it made its way through Acadiana on its way to Atlanta.

For more information on the Athletic Network, visit https://athleticnetwork.net/. To contact Ed Dugas, email athleticnetwork@louisiana.edu.