Crusader Sports History
March 7, 2018
From the Archives: Powerlifting Saders
Crusader Lacrosse Began with "Yes, Dear"
A report published in August 2017 listed lacrosse as the nation's fastest-growing sport with participation topping 450,000 for the first time. Brother Martin first fielded a lacrosse team during the 2006-7 school year. Here's the story of how that came about.

It isn't often a man returns home and learns from his wife that he is now the coach of a sport he knows nothing about.

  • That's what happened to Billy Kirkikis in 2004. Spurred by the interest her sons showed in lacrosse and with the encouragement of Activities Director Claire LeBlanc, Christi Kirkikis applied for a grant from US Lacrosse to start a club team at Brother Martin.
  • Required to list a coach, she put Billy's name since he had coached their sons' teams in other sports.
  • Mr. Speyrer of the Religion Department agreed to be the Faculty Moderator of the club.
  • The application was approved, but Katrina delayed shipment of the equipment until the spring of 2007.
That gave Billy time to bone up on the rules and strategies of the game since the grant didn't include training for the coach.
  • He scoured Internet sites, watched videos, and read books on lacrosse. Local coaches and college players helped, answering his questions.
  • Billy posted a signup sheet at school and began making phone calls to line up games.
  • His recruiting was too successful. He had 38 players but only 24 sets of uniforms and equipment.
  • One happy outcome of the equipment shortage was that players raced to practice at City Park to meet Billy's truck when he drove up with the gear.

That first season was a learning experience for Billy as well as the players.

  • An official would call a penalty, and Billy would check his rule book and, if necessary, ask for an explanation.
  • Through hard work, the team became more competitive as the season progressed.

The last game of the 2007 season provided a springboard to future success.

  • The Crusaders traveled to Mississippi to play Gulf Coast LC, a veteran team that had defeated them earlier. Brother Martin came from behind to tie the game at 3. When the final whistle blew, the players celebrated as if they had won.
  • The officials told Billy, "We're doing a Braveheart." His reaction was immedi­ate: "What's a Braveheart?" Turns out it's a sudden death overtime in which each team puts its goalie in position and chooses one player to face off at midfield.
  • The Crusaders selected Will Kirkikis to oppose the Greyhounds' all-stater. The opponent controlled the faceoff and took off toward the goal, but Will caught him and checked his shot. Freshman goalie Mitch Rogers grabbed the ball and threw to Will, who raced to the other end and missed.
  • The action went back and forth several times until finally Will faked the goalie and laid in the winner. Pandemonium again and this time the dogpile celebrated a victory, not a tie.
  • The brief first season thus ended with a 1-1 record.

2007 Brother Martin Lacrosse Team
To be continued ...

Coach Kirkikis exhorts his players.

Picture from the Past

January 30, 1965, was an important date in the history of Cor Jesu High School.

  • A Meet the Coach Banquet was held in the school cafeteria to introduce the 11-year-old school's first Athletic Director, Andy Bourgeois.
  • The 1956 graduate of St. Aloysius High School would oversee the intro­duction of interscholastic athletics on Elysian Fields Avenue the following school year.
  • The principal, Brother Roland Smith, S.C., revealed that plans for the new gymnasium would be put in the hands of a contractor in mid-March.
  • Also announced at the banquet was the name of the basketball coach for 1965-66: Bobby Conlin.
  • Bourgeois, a member of LSU's famed Chinese Bandits from 1958-60, had most recently been athletic director and head football coach at St. Aloysius High School in Vicksburg MS. Promising "we will have the most successful athletic program in the city of New Orleans," he announced plans to field a freshman football team, a junior varsity, and a varsity team.

Andy Bourgeois receives the first Cor Jesu athletic sweater.

Crusader Quiz

St. Aloysius High School played the final basketball game in school history in the state finals in Alexandria March 8, 1969. What school defeated the Crusaders?

  1. Baton Rouge High
  2. Captain Shreve
  3. Lafayette
  4. Woodlawn (Shreveport)

About This Site
This site is maintained by Brother Neal Golden, S.C. (CJ '57 who attended St. Aloysius 1953-54). This section of the Alumni Web site is dedicated to all the Crusader and Kingsmen athletes and coaches at St. Aloysius, Cor Jesu, and Brother Martin. All sports and eras will be included, though not in like measure because available information is not equally distributed. The site will be updated as the author's time permits. Older postings will be moved to the archives. So if you don't get back for awhile, anything you missed will be accessible from links in the right-hand column. Suggestions for improvements and items to include are welcome as are the personal stories and memorabilia of Crusader and Kingsmen athletes. Ametur Cor Jesu! Loved be the Heart of Jesus!
The author's personal Web site on college and pro football, baseball, and basketball, including his Golden Football Rankings each fall, can be accessed by clicking here.