Same problems, new solution: Athletics looks internally to eliminate inconsistencies after lackluster seasons

Mackenna Barker, Online Sports Editor

As New Orleans celebrated the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in August, the Tulane Athletics Department celebrated its revitalization and progression since the devastation.

On Nov. 7, Tulane inducted all 308 Katrina class student-athletes into the hall of fame, celebrating their dedication to the program. Rain poured on Yulman Stadium’s turf as the players walked across the field. Tulane lost to UConn 7-3 that night.

Troy Dannen, the new athletic director, installed major changes to the programs. Tulane welcomed Dannen in December after former AD Rick Dickson announced his retirement after 16 years in September. Dannen came in with one goal in mind: to win.

The 2015-16 year varied in its ups and downs. In its high tide, the Wave boasted the nation’s No. 1 collegiate men’s tennis player Dominik Koepfer, a promising women’s basketball team led by Lisa Stockton, a No. 2 swimming and diving team in the American Athletic Conference, and a nationally ranked baseball program.

While the Green Wave found success in these venues, two of the university’s three moneymaking programs faltered.

In the Wave’s second year in the AAC, the football program scraped out a 3-9 (1-7 AAC) season, ending Johnson’s Green Wave career.

Winter saw a near identical tale replayed in Devlin Fieldhouse. Conroy’s crew fell flat against the tougher league competition, dropping to 3-15 in conference play compared to the previous year’s 6-12 mark. Conroy’s substandard record was not enough to make Dannen’s cut.

After spikes in attendance in 2014-15 for both programs, the excitement of a new era began to wear off. Fans expected a new identity with the new stadium and conference but when the same struggling programs showed up, interest dwindled.

Tulane made it evident it’s ready for a culture shift and Dannen has wasted no time in proving his commitment, cleaning house for every program that struggled and pulling strong hires in Willie Fritz, Jim Barnes and Mike Dunleavy, Sr.

2015-16 saw the end of a chapter in Tulane Athletics. For now, Tulane braces itself for the new year, trusting those who stayed to continue to foster excellence and the new faces to prove their worth.

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