308 athletes from Katrina class to be inducted into Tulane hall of fame

Samantha Shafia, Contributing Reporter

The 308 athletes that represented Tulane in the 2005-06 athletic seasons will be inducted into the Tulane Athletic Hall of Fame at this year’s homecoming game against Connecticut. These athletes not only fought to provide hope to the people of New Orleans but also to preserve the integrity of athletics at Tulane.

On Saturday, Aug. 27, 2005, Tulane athletes and coaches were ushered away from campus to Houston for what they thought would be a short “hurrication.” But as devastating reports of the impact Hurricane Katrina had on New Orleans were revealed, the Board of Tulane decided not to open the university’s doors during the 2005 fall semester.

“Normally, [these evacuation stays] would only be [of] a 24- to 48-hour variety,” Director of Athletics Rick Dickson said. “We had to make a decision about what this meant for us.”

The group of 308 decided to continue to be contenders on others’ fields and courts, playing all of their home games in facilities across the country.  

“Like any catastrophe, you kick into another gear,” Dickson said. “And it was like, OK, we are alive. We know that we can do this. Let’s do something about it.” 

Dickson told the athletes to be the face of Tulane and represent the school well during this tragic time, and most importantly, to carry the torch.

This group of athletes accomplished that goal by fighting through the tough times of adjusting to being guest of four different campuses, which included SMU, Louisiana Tech, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

“Our football team played in 11 cities,” Dickson said. “Sports like volleyball and basketball were playing in all road matches.”

The athletes would practice either early in the morning or at the end of the day to stay out of their hosts’ way. Their entire season was out of their control and depended on the schedule of their hosts rather than their coaching staff.

Some of the universities providing facilities to Tulane opened up vacant buildings to serve as dorms and accommodations for the athletes.   

“We wanted to be the ones that kind of rose from the ashes and showed the people that there is hope and there is life,” Dickson said. “[We wanted to ensure that] people didn’t forget about Tulane, New Orleans or what had happened.”

“We wouldn’t have a new baseball stadium, a Hertz Center, a new fieldhouse, a new Yulman Stadium and be in the American Athletic Conference if it were not for those 308 athletes,” Dickson said.

For their contribution to Tulane athletics and their heroic efforts, the group of 308 athletes will be inducted into the Tulane Athletic Hall of Fame Friday, Nov. 6 on Benson Field in Yulman Stadium and will be presented at the homecoming football game against UConn the following day.

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