In Character: Jerry Stovall
Photo by Jeannie Frey Rhodes
CONSIDERING, he’s a man of passion, conviction and integrity. He’s a leader and a mentor. He has a hard work ethic and a kind heart, which makes him endearing to all who come in contact with him.
CONSIDERING, he believes strongly in the discipline necessary to succeed in athletics and in life. “I was taught by my coaches to die to self and work for the team. Those principles stay with me to this day.”
CONSIDERING, he is determined. He was given a scholarship to play football at LSU in 1959 and claims that he was the runt of the litter. “They gave out 52 scholarships that year, and I was number 52.” He worked hard and he stayed focused. His 57-yard run in 1961 helped to defeat arch-rival Ole Miss by a score of 10-7 in a major upset. He was named an All-American running back and was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 1962.
CONSIDERING, he credits LSU football coach Paul Dietzel with instilling in him strong values. “He didn’t want me to be good. He didn’t want me to be very good. He encouraged me to be the very best I could be. He would accept nothing less.”
CONSIDERING, he has been married to Judy for 52 years, and they have two children and five grandchildren. “We got married young and lived in a tiny apartment in married student housing on campus. We had nothing, but it was a blast.”
CONSIDERING, he has been involved with athletics all his life. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1963 and played for nine seasons. He coached at South Carolina and at LSU. After a stint at Louisiana National Bank, he became athletic director at Louisiana Tech. He then became president and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Sports Foundation in 1994, a position he holds to this day. “I have met the most wonderful people in my life through the world of athletics.”
CONSIDERING, he believes in Baton Rouge and loves to attract new athletic events to the city through the foundation. He wants families to spend the weekend here. “Over the last five years, we have received a total of $500,000 in funding, which we are thrilled about. However, we have generated over $30 million a year through economic impact of these events, which we are proud about.”
CONSIDERING, he is strong in his Christian faith and talks openly about it with others. How does he want to be remembered? “I would like someone to say, ‘He was a man of God. And he was not ashamed of it. And he spoke of it when he had the chance.’ ”