A photo a decal honors Louisiana Tech RB Jaqwis Dancy earlier this season. Dancy was diagnosed with cancer in October.(Photo: TOM MORRIS/LATechSportsPix.com)CONNECT>TWEET>LINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE
The 2016 calendar year produced several notable athletic stories at Louisiana Tech.
From the historic success in football and baseball and the heartbreaking news of a cancer diagnosis to the shocking, abrupt resignation of a coach and a quarterback's run-in with the law, there were enough narratives to keep everyone interested.
Here are the top 10 most-read Tech stories from 2016 based on number of page views from January 2016 to December 2016.
Crime stories are always popular, especially when it involves the starting quarterback of a successful football program. Senior Ryan Higgins was popped for speeding and DWI in early August, just days before Tech reported to fall camp. Higgins was suspended for the season opener and his punishment included community service, counseling and drinking and driving education. To his credit, Higgins made the most of his second chance, becoming just the second play in Tech history to throw for 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns to earn Conference USA MVP.
There's a need for speed when it comes to NFL quarterbacks, and readers soaked up the 40-yard dash time of former quarterback Jeff Driskel. The polarizing figure who left Florida and transferred to Tech for an ultra successful 2015 campaign blew the field away with a 4.56 40-yard dash. Driskel became the 18th quarterback since 2006 to run a sub 4.6. The 49ers would later draft him last April in the sixth round of the NFL Draft. He was later cut and spent 2016 with the Bengals' practice squad.
Easily the most heartfelt story of 2016 around Tech came just a few months ago when sophomore running back Jaqwis Dancy was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Dancy received an outpouring of support from around the country and even shared a bond with a local boy from Ruston who is battling the same disease. Dancy said last month he hopes to wrap up treatment in January and return to the football field later this year.
Tech's trio of Vernon Butler, Jeff Driskel and Kenneth Dixon made headlines with their selections in the 2016 NFL Draft, but four other players earned undrafted free agent contracts. None were more popular than Paul Turner, a local player who prepped at West Monroe. Turner went through an injury-plagued college career and never lived up to the hype from when he signed with LSU. He earned a shot with the Eagles and ended up making his way to the active roster toward the end of 2016, finishing with nine catches for 126 yards.
In the aftermath of the Tyler Summitt scandal, Tech's former women's basketball coach who resigned after an inappropriate relationship with a player, this column addressed how questions of maturity held true with the young up-and-coming coach. Two years prior, the self-described Christian man led everyone to believe he was mature enough to lead the Lady Techsters program. His immaturity ended up being his biggest weakness and his ultimate downfall.
Once Tyler Summitt resigned last April, Tech legend Mickie DeMoss assumed the day-to-day role as the interim coach. DeMoss wasn't interested in the head coaching vacancy, according to athletic director Tommy McClelland. Tech would later hire former Techster player Brooke Stoehr as the head coach. DeMoss stayed in Louisiana and accepted an assistant job at LSU.
Tech's baseball resurgence was among the top on-the-field success stories in 2016. Tech hadn't been the NCAA Tournament since 1987 and finally ended the long drought under the direction of Greg Goff. He ended up leaving for Alabama, and Tech hired Lane Burroughs of Northwestern State as the new coach. The popularity of this story is a reminder of how baseball interest is renewed in Ruston.
Ruston's Steve Davison, a horse racing owner and avid Tech supporter, made his third trip to the Kentucky Derby in 2016. Davison was an owner of Destin, who ran at 20-1 odds in the Derby to a sixth-place finish. It was the best result for Davison in three trips. The gray colt sped around the final turn into third place before falling back down the stretch.
Paul Turner was one of two local players to get picked up as an undrafted free agent, joining Ruston's Kentrell Brice. The hard-hitting safety inked a deal with the Packers last April and made the team on special teams and as a reserve defensive back. Brice ended his rookie year with 26 tackles and is preparing for the playoffs this weekend against the Giants.
Tech's hire of Brooke Stoehr was important for a program whose success has dipped in the last few years. Stoehr was one of 43 applicants who submitted their names, resumes and/or cover letters back in April during the search. The search produced applicants from around the country and the world — Spain, Ukraine and Australia — with candidates varying in experience from high school coaches to women's Division I head coaches. Of the 43, 17 were former or current high school coaches with seven serving as assistants.
Source : http://www.thenewsstar.com/story/sports/college/louisiana-tech/2017/01/03/top-10-most-read-tech-stories-2016/96122556/