BATON ROUGE – LSU unveiled the Skip Bertman statue Friday night, honoring the school’s legendary baseball coach and director of athletics.
The statue is the centerpiece of the Legacy Plaza, which contains graphics and plaques depicting the rich history of the LSU Baseball program.
The Skip Bertman Statue commemorates the accomplishments of the LSU baseball coach from 1984-2001 who led the Tigers to five National Championships (1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000) and seven Southeastern Conference Championships. He is one of only three coaches in NCAA history to win five baseball national titles.
“This statue and Legacy Plaza are the manifestation of the contributions of so many people,” Bertman said during remarks to the several hundred attendees. “I’m extremely humbled by this honor. It belongs to all of the coaches, players and fans who helped me during my time as LSU’s baseball coach. We had a wonderful home field advantage because of the passion and enthusiasm of the LSU fans, and those fans today still are devoted supporters of our program.
“Most of all, this statue belongs to my family; thanks to my wife of 57 years, Sandy, and my daughters. No coach can be successful unless he has a family that is supporting and giving.”
Along with Bertman’s address, the ceremony featured speeches from Tiger Athletic Foundation President and CEO Rick Perry, Director of Athletics Scott Woodward, LSU President Dr. F. King Alexander, Fighting Tiger baseball coach Paul Mainieri, and Richard Lipsey, a longtime LSU supporter and close personal friend of the Bertman family.
Bertman finished his 18-season career with a record of 870-330-3 and still holds the mark for highest winning percentage (.724) in SEC annals. The playing surface at Alex Box Stadium was named “Skip Bertman Field” in May 2013.
Bertman guided LSU to 11 College World Series appearances, 16 NCAA Tournament appearances, and he coached 31 LSU players who advanced to Major League Baseball. He was named National Coach of the Year six times (1986, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000) and SEC Coach of the Year seven times (1986, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997).
After retiring from coaching, Bertman served as LSU’s director of athletics from 2001-08, presiding over the Tigers’ football National Championship seasons in 2003 and 2007.
Bertman helped grow interest in the sport of LSU baseball from an average attendance of less than 500 fans per game in 1983 to becoming the annual NCAA attendance leader. The average paid attendance for LSU baseball today is over 10,000 per game, and the Tigers have led the nation in total attendance for 24 straight seasons.
Bertman represented LSU on the international stage as well, serving as assistant coach on several USA national teams and the 1988 U.S. Olympic Gold Medal Team, and he was head coach of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team in Atlanta that won the Bronze Medal.
Bertman is a member of the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame, the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Upon his retirement as baseball coach, his No. 15 jersey was retired at LSU.
Bertman remains today a pillar of the Baton Rouge community, serving on numerous philanthropic organizations such as United Way, Cancer Services and the Alzheimer’s Association, and he has been honored by the likes of the Arthritis Foundation, the Boy Scouts of America and the Anti-Defamation League.
The Skip Bertman Statue and Legacy Plaza were made possible through donations made to the Tiger Athletic Foundation.