LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Saturday’s match-up between UL and Appalachian State in the Sun Belt Championship game is one that fans and alumni will remember for some time.
Excitement was in the air as fans and alumni gathered on Saturday for a time of celebration. Cheering could be heard throughout the parking lot into Cajun Field.
“Geaux, Fight, Win!” cheered Lawana Stokes, an alumna. “One more time! Geaux, Fight, Win!”
UL Lafayette tailgating started around 11:30 AM for the Sun Belt championship game against Appalachian State.
There was food, games, music, and love.
“We love UL. We love Louisiana,” said Micheal Scott Boudreaux, a UL student.
“The spirit that we feel over here in Lafayette all around Acadiana from Breaux Bridge all the way to here everybody was lit,” said Darren Benoit, a UL fan. “It’s up there, as the young people say.”
“I have watched the Cajuns for the last 25 years, and I have never seen this kind of energy from a coach from the players all the way down to the fanbase,” said Terry Ledet, UL alumnus.
Many from the UL community came together to support the Ragin Cajuns and the football Coach Billy Napier.
“It’s game day. It’s Coach Naiper’s last game. We just want to say that we’re very appreciative of Coach Napier,” said Boudreaux.
“A lot of people are upset that he’s going to Florida but [in]my opinion, I am forever grateful for what Billy Napier has done to this program,” said Dexx Thibodeaux, UL student. “He changed the absolute culture of Lafayette.”
Many say Coach Napier brought the students and fans back to the football games.
“Coach Napier led these athletics from young boys getting out of high school to being citizens and learning where they come from, what’s owed to them, and what they owe,” said Ledet.
“They know that all they need to do is play great football and be good players.”
“He’s leaving it in a good place, and whoever takes over whoever they named to be the next in charge is going to take over a program where he can hit the ground running and not have to rebuild,” said Benoit.
The support for the Cajuns does not end when Napier leaves.
“We’re going to keep getting dubs regardless; it’s UL baby, Ragin Cajuns, let’s go!” yelled Byron Johnson, alumnus.
“Man, look at the stands; I mean, they’re going to fill up,” said Ledet. “It’s awesome.”
It’s the last game for head football coach Billy Napier who will depart to take over as head football coach for the University of Florida.