|Louisiana Tech Bulldogs football|
|Athletic director||Dr. Eric Wood|
|Head coach||Skip Holtz |
8th season, 56-36 (.609)
|Stadium||Joe Aillet Stadium|
|NCAA division||Division I FBS|
|Past conferences||LIAA (1915-1925)|
Big West (1993-1995)
|Bowl record||8–4–1 (.654)|
|Claimed national titles||3 (Division II) (1972, 1973, 1974)|
|Rivalries||Southern Miss (rivalry)|
|Colors||Blue and Red|
|Fight song||Tech Fight|
|Marching band||Band of Pride|
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs football team represent Louisiana Tech University in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) level. After 12 seasons in the Western Athletic Conference, Louisiana Tech began competing as a member of Conference USA in 2013. Since then, the Bulldogs have been coached by Skip Holtz and have won their last 6 consecutive bowl games. Since 1968, the Bulldogs have played their home games at Joe Aillet Stadium. Since the Bulldogs first season in 1901, Louisiana Tech has compiled an all-time record of 630 wins, 465 losses, and 39 ties. In 118 football seasons, the Bulldogs have won 3 Division II national championships, won 25 conference championships, and played in 27 postseason games including 12 major college bowl games.
Louisiana Tech University first fielded a football team in 1901. The team's head coach was Edwin Barber. Percy Prince became the head football coach in 1909 and coached the Bulldog football team through the 1915 season in which Louisiana Tech won the Louisiana Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship.George Bohler served as the head football coach at Louisiana Tech from 1930-1933, compiling a 15-17 record. Bohler's 1931 team finished an undefeated 7-0, but other than that, Bohler's Bulldogs were unable to win more than four games in a single season.Eddie McLane left Samford and replaced Bohler in 1934. He led the team through the 1938 season, compiling a 27-19 record, which included three consecutive winning seasons from 1935-1937.
Northwestern State quarterbacks coach Joe Aillet took over the Bulldogs football program in 1940, leading the team through the 1966 season. Aillet led the Bulldogs to 21 winning seasons in his 27 as head coach (Tech didn't field a football team in 1943 due to World War II). Ailett led the Bulldogs to three 9-1 seasons in 1955, 1959 and 1964. Aillet's namesake is Louisiana Tech's home stadium, Joe Ailett Stadium. Ailett retired as Tech's head football coach following the 1966 season, and is the winningest head coach in Tech football history at 151-86-8.
Southern Miss assistant coach Maxie Lambright took over the Bulldogs football program after Aillet's retirement. Under Lambright, the Bulldogs were able to enjoy even greater success, winning three consecutive national championships from 1972-1974, along with seven conference championships.
Lambright also coached quarterback Terry Bradshaw. Initially, Bradshaw was second on the depth chart at quarterback behind Phil Robertson, who would later become famous as the inventor of the Duck Commander duck call and television personality on the A&E program Duck Dynasty. Bradshaw caused a media frenzy on account of his reputation of being a football sensation from nearby Shreveport. Robertson was a year ahead of Bradshaw, and was the starter for two seasons in 1966 and 1967, and chose not to play in 1968. As Robertson put it: "I'm going for the ducks, you [Terry] can go for the bucks." In 1969, Bradshaw was considered by most professional scouts to be the most outstanding college football player in the nation. As a junior, he amassed 2,890 total yards, ranking No. 1 in the NCAA, and led his team to a 9-2 record and a 33-13 win over Akron in the Rice Bowl. In his senior season, he gained 2,314 yards, ranking third in the NCAA, and led his team to an 8-2 record. His decrease in production was mainly because his team played only 10 games that year, and he was taken out of several games in the second half because his team had built up a huge lead. Bradshaw graduated owning virtually all Louisiana Tech passing records at the time and would go on to enjoy a Hall of Fame professional football career quarterbacking the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers. In 1984, Bradshaw was inducted into the inaugural class of the Louisiana Tech sports hall of fame. Four years later, he was inducted into the state of Louisiana's sports hall of fame. Lambright retired as Louisiana Tech's head football coach following the 1978 season, leaving with a 95-36-2 record.
Arkansas offensive line coach Larry Beightol succeeded Lambright. Tech suffered one of its worst seasons in school history under Beightol, finishing with a 2-8 record in 1979. Beightol was fired after a 1-8 start to the 1979 season, and endured mass defections from players who had previously competed in the last two Independence Bowls.
Southeastern Louisiana head coach Billy Brewer replaced Beightol and was head coach at Louisiana Tech from 1980 through 1982, posting a record of 19 wins, 15 losses and a tie. His last season at Tech (1982) saw his Bulldogs win the Southland Conference title with a 10-3 record. They lost to Delaware 17-0 in the first round of the Division I-AA (now Football Championship Subdivision) playoffs. Brewer's success with the Bulldogs led to interest from many I-A (now FBS) schools for their head football coaching positions. Brewer accepted an offer from Ole Miss after the 1982 season.
Coach A. L. Williams came to Louisiana Tech from Northwestern State and compiled a 28-19-1 record in four seasons. In 1983, the team had a losing record, 4-7. Tech's best season during this era came in 1984, when the team finished with a 7-4 regular season record, capturing the Southland Conference championship via their 5-1 conference record. The Bulldogs then advanced to the 1984 NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship Game, falling to Montana State, 19-6, and finishing with an overall record of 10-5 for the season. The following season, the team had an 8-3 regular season record, and did not make the playoffs. After a 6-4-1 record in 1986, Williams stepped down as Louisiana Tech's head football coach.
Ole Miss defensive coordinator Carl Torbush was hired as Williams' replacement in 1987. Torbush only coached the Bulldogs for one season, leading the team to a 3-8 record. Torbush elected to leave Tech for the defensive coordinator position at North Carolina under head coach Mack Brown after the 1987 season.
Louisiana Tech promoted assistant coach Joe Raymond Peace to head coach following Torbush's departure. Under Peace, the Bulldogs compiled a 40-44-4 record that included back-to-back eight-win campaigns in 1990 and 1991. The Bulldogs moved to the now non-football Big West Conference in 1993. Peace was fired following back to back 3-8 campaigns in 1993 and 1994 and a 5-6 season in 1995.
Tech promoted offensive coordinator Gary Crowton to head coach after Peace's firing. Under Crowton, the Bulldogs went 21-13. The Bulldogs' best season during this era came in 1997, when the Bulldogs finished 9-2. Crowton left Louisiana Tech following the 1998 season to accept the position of offensive coordinator with the NFL's Chicago Bears.
Coach Jack Bicknell left New Hampshire in 1997 to serve as the offensive line coach for Louisiana Tech. When head coach Gary Crowton left to become the Chicago Bears offensive coordinator in 1999, Bicknell was promoted to replace him. In his first season as head coach, he led the Bulldogs to an 8-3 record, the school's first AP Top 25 ranking, and a 29-28 upset win over eventual SEC champion Alabama, which is the only win by a team from a non-AQ or Group of Five conference over an SEC champion since the dawn of the BCS era in 1998. In 2001, Louisiana Tech won the Western Athletic Conference championship during its first year of membership, earning Bicknell conference Coach of the Year honors. Louisiana Tech played Clemson in the Crucial.com Humanitarian Bowl, the program's first postseason appearance since 1990. Tech's star player that year was quarterback Luke McCown. During his tenure at Louisiana Tech, Bicknell's teams defeated national powers Alabama, Michigan State and Oklahoma State. 22 of his players were either drafted by or signed free agent contracts with National Football League teams. Bicknell was fired on December 4, 2006 after a 3-10 season. Bicknell was fired by Louisiana Tech following a 3-10 campaign in 2006.
Miami Dolphins tight ends coach Derek Dooley, son of coaching legend Vince Dooley, was hired as Bicknell's replacement in 2007. Tech enjoyed a mediocre run during Dooley's tenure starting out at 5-7 in 2007. In 2008, the Bulldogs improved to 8-5 with a win in the Independence Bowl to cap the year. In 2009, the Bulldogs slipped to 4-8. Dooley, who was also serving as Tech's athletics director, left Louisiana Tech after the 2009 season to accept the head coaching position at Tennessee.
On January 20, 2010, Arizona offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes was hired to replace Dooley as the head football coach at Louisiana Tech. Dykes brought with him an exciting, up-tempo, pass-oriented offense known as the Air Raid.
In Dykes' first season, LA Tech's record improved to 5-7 overall and 4-4 in the WAC. Despite coaching his team to a losing record, LA Tech's offense improved in several areas of the NCAA statistical ranks including passing offense (91st in 2009 to 62nd in 2010) and total offense (66th to 52nd) while the team's average offensive national rank improved from 65th in 2009 to 54th in 2010. Despite a 1-4 start in 2011, Louisiana Tech rallied to win seven consecutive games to cap off the regular season with the program's first WAC football title since 2001 and an appearance the Poinsettia Bowl to cap the 8-5 season. As a result of LA Tech's success, Dykes was honored as the 2011 WAC Coach of the Year. At the conclusion of the 2011 season, Dykes signed a contract extension to increase his base salary to at least $700,000. Dykes resigned as Louisiana Tech head football coach following the 2012 season to accept the same position at California.
In 2012, Louisiana Tech joined Conference USA. That season, they finished with a 9-3 record, the program's best since 1997, but did not participate in a bowl game. Dykes guided the Bulldogs to a 22-15 record over his 3 seasons as head coach.
On December 13, 2012, former UConn, East Carolina and South Florida head coach Skip Holtz, son of legendary coach Lou Holtz, accepted an offer to become the head coach for the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.
Holtz's first season, the 2013 campaign, was a rebuilding year as the Bulldogs finished 4-8. However, 2014 would see a big improvement. Holtz's Bulldogs went on to finish first in C-USA West at 9-5 with a 35-18 win over Illinois in the Heart Of Dallas Bowl. In 2015, the Bulldogs continued their success finishing 9-4 and winning the New Orleans Bowl over Arkansas State, 47-28. In 2016, Holtz's Bulldogs finished 9-5. They won the C-USA West Division title and lost in the conference championship game against East Division champion Western Kentucky. Tech then accomplished their third consecutive bowl victory by defeating Navy in the Armed Forces Bowl by kicking a late field goal to win 48-45. In 2017 Louisiana Tech handily defeated SMU in the Frisco Bowl 51-10 in Frisco, TX. Tech's fifth consecutive bowl win was in 2018 when the Bulldogs defeated Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl 31-14. In 2019, the Bulldogs finished 10-3 and continued the FBS' longest bowl winning streak at 6 with another victory over a P5 team in the Independence Bowl, defeating Miami, 14-0. It was the first G5 shutout of a P5 team ever in a bowl game and it was the first shutout in the Independence Bowl's 40+ years history.
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Louisiana Tech claims three football national titles. From 1964 to 1972, four regional bowl games were played that led up to a wire service poll to determine the final champion of Division II's predecessor, the NCAA College Division. In 1972, Louisiana Tech beat Tennessee Tech 35-0 in the Grantland Rice Bowl to win the Mideast Regional Championship. The Bulldogs finished the 1972 season undefeated at 12-0 and were subsequently named 1972 College Division National Champions by the National Football Foundation. Despite not playing in a regional championship, Delaware was named 1972 NCAA College Division National Champions by the Associated Press and United Press International. A playoff series was started in 1973 to determine the Division II champion. In the inaugural Division II football playoffs, Louisiana Tech beat Western Illinois in the quarterfinals and Boise State in the Pioneer Bowl semifinals. Tech advanced to the championship game to beat Western Kentucky 34-0 and finished the season with a 12-1 record as 1973 NCAA Division II National Champions. In 1974, the UPI did not recognize the winner of the playoffs, Central Michigan, as national champions. Instead, the UPI presented the 1974 Division II national title to Louisiana Tech, who finished with an 11-1 record.
|1972||Maxie Lambright||National Football Foundation College Division||12-0|
|1973||NCAA Division II||12-1|
|1974||United Press International College Division||11-1|
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Louisiana Tech won three regional football championships. From 1964 to 1972, four regional bowl games were played that led up to a wire service poll to determine the final champion of Division II's predecessor, the NCAA College Division. In 1968, Louisiana Tech beat Akron 33-13 in the Grantland Rice Bowl to become Mideast Regional Champions. In 1971, Louisiana Tech defeated Eastern Michigan 14-3 in the Pioneer Bowl to become Midwest Regional Champions. In 1972, Louisiana Tech beat Tennessee Tech 35-0 in the Grantland Rice Bowl to win the Mideast Regional Championship.
Louisiana Tech has won 25 conference championships, twenty outright and five shared. The Bulldogs have won 2 Louisiana Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships, 3 Louisiana Intercollegiate championships, 10 Gulf States championships, 8 Southland championships, and 2 WAC championships. It is of note that Tech finished with a 9-2 record in 1997, the best record of the 9 Division I-A Independents. In 1999 Tech finished with an 8-3 record, the only one of the 7 Division I-A Independents with a winning record.
|Season||Conference||Coach||Overall Record||Conference Record|
|1915||Louisiana Intercollegiate Athletic Association||Percy S. Prince||3-1-2||2-0-1|
|1921||R. Foster Clark||6-0||3-0|
|1941||Louisiana Intercollegiate Conference||Joe Aillet||5-4-1||4-0|
|1949||Gulf States Conference||7-2||5-0|
|2001||Western Athletic Conference||Jack Bicknell III||7-5||7-1|
In 2013, Louisiana Tech first joined a conference with football divisions, Conference USA, and since then the Bulldogs have won C-USA West twice.
|2014||Conference USA - West||Skip Holtz||Marshall||L 23-26|
|2016||Conference USA - West||Skip Holtz||Western Kentucky||L 44-58|
|2019||Conference USA - West||Skip Holtz||N/A lost tiebreaker to UAB|
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Louisiana Tech has produced an all-time postseason record of 18 wins, 7 losses, and 1 tie in 26 total appearances.
During its time in Division II, Louisiana Tech played in 9 Division II postseason games, with the Bulldogs accumulating a record of 7-2.
|December 13, 1968||Grantland Rice Bowl||Akron||W 33-13|
|December 13, 1969||Grantland Rice Bowl||East Tennessee State||L 14-34|
|December 11, 1971||Pioneer Bowl||Eastern Michigan||W 14-3|
|December 10, 1972||Grantland Rice Bowl||Tennessee Tech||W 35-0|
|December 1, 1973||Quarterfinal||Western Illinois||W 18-13|
|December 8, 1973||Pioneer Bowl||Boise State||W 38-34|
|December 15, 1973||Camellia Bowl||Western Kentucky||W 34-0|
|November 30, 1974||Quarterfinal||Western Carolina||W 10-7|
|December 7, 1974||Pioneer Bowl||Central Michigan||L 14-35|
During its time in Division I-AA (now referred to as Football Championship Subdivision), Louisiana Tech played in six Division I-AA playoff games. The Bulldogs accumulated a 4-2 record in these games.
|1982||December 4||Quarterfinal||South Carolina State||W 38-3|
|December 11||Semifinal||Delaware||L 0-17|
|1984||November 24||First Round||Mississippi Valley State||W 66-19|
|December 1||Quarterfinal||Alcorn State||W 44-21|
|December 8||Semifinal||Middle Tennessee||W 21-13|
|December 15||Final||Montana State||L 6-19|
Louisiana Tech has played in 12 Division I FBS bowl games, with the Bulldogs garnering a 8-4-1 record. Louisiana Tech is the only school to win their last 6 consecutive bowl games. It is the 4th longest bowl winning streak in FBS football history.
|1977||Maxie Lambright||Independence Bowl||Louisville||W 24-14|
|1978||Maxie Lambright||Independence Bowl||East Carolina||L 13-35|
|1990||Joe Raymond Peace||Independence Bowl||Maryland||T 34-34|
|2001||Jack Bicknell Jr.||Humanitarian Bowl||Clemson||L 24-49|
|2008||Derek Dooley||Independence Bowl||Northern Illinois||W 17-10|
|2011||Sonny Dykes||Poinsettia Bowl||TCU||L 24-31|
|2014||Skip Holtz||Heart of Dallas Bowl||Illinois||W 35-18|
|2015||Skip Holtz||New Orleans Bowl||Arkansas State||W 47-28|
|2016||Skip Holtz||Armed Forces Bowl||Navy||W 48-45|
|2017||Skip Holtz||Frisco Bowl||SMU||W 51-10|
|2018||Skip Holtz||Hawaii Bowl||Hawaii||W 31-14|
|2019||Skip Holtz||Independence Bowl||Miami (FL)||W 14-0|
|2020||Skip Holtz||New Orleans Bowl||Georgia Southern||L 3-38|
Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss first played in 1935 and played each season from 1946 until 1972. Tech and USM were conference foes in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association from 1935 to 1941. In addition, Tech and USM were both founding members of the Gulf States Conference which began play in 1948. The Bulldogs and Golden Eagles have played 11 times between 1975 and 1992. In 2008, Louisiana Tech AD-HC Derek Dooley and USM AD Richard Giannini signed a four-game contract to renew the rivalry with the first game being played in Ruston on September 25, 2010. On a rainy Saturday night on September 3, 2011, the Golden Eagles took on the Bulldogs for both teams' season opener on national television. The close matchup ended in Southern Miss' favor, 19-17, due to a late field goal by Southern Miss' Danny Hrapmann. With Tech joining Conference USA in 2013, the Dawgs and Eagles have continued the series as conference rivals. Louisiana Tech won the 2019 meeting 45-30 in the 51st meeting between these two at Joe Aillet stadium in Ruston Louisiana on October 19, 2019. Southern Miss leads the series 35-16 through the 2019 season.
Louisiana Tech plays home games at Joe Aillet Stadium, which has garnered the nickname The Joe. The stadium is located on the campus of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana. Led by quarterback Terry Bradshaw, the Bulldogs christened Louisiana Tech Stadium with a 35-7 victory over East Carolina on September 28, 1968. The stadium was given its current namesake in 1972 to honor Hall of Fame coach Joe Aillet. The stadium opened with a capacity of 23,000, and additional seating was added to increase capacity to 30,600 in 1989. The stadium was upgraded in 1985 with the addition of the luxury sky box. In 1997 the stadium's attendance record of 28,714 was set against Northeast Louisiana. A new lighting system was installed in 2006. After playing the first 38 seasons in Aillet Stadium on natural grass, FieldTurf was installed in 2006. The FieldTurf was subsequently replaced in 2008 and again in 2015. In 2009 Louisiana Tech installed the largest high definition video board in the WAC covering 1,485 digital square feet behind the north end zone of the stadium at a cost of $2 million. In 2014 capacity was reduced to 27,717 while the area behind the south end zone of Joe Aillet Stadium was under construction. The $22 million 70,000 square foot Davison Athletics Complex was completed the following year increasing capacity to 28,019 for the 2015 season. In 2017 the stadium added 202 Eaton Ephesus LED fixtures provided and installed by Geo-Surfaces, a sports lighting company based in Baton Rouge, LA.
Louisiana Tech occasionally hosts games at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Bulldogs have played 71 games in Independence Stadium including 4 trips to the Independence Bowl and have produced an all-time record of 45-23-3 at Independence Stadium. Tech has hosted many teams in Independence Stadium during the regular season including Southern Miss, North Texas, Tulsa, Houston, Baylor, California, Texas A&M, SMU, Oklahoma State, Miami, UTEP, and Grambling State. Louisiana Tech's regular season home attendance record of 43,279 was set in 2003 against the Miami Hurricanes in a nationally televised game on ESPN. The 1990 Independence Bowl featuring Tech and Maryland drew 48,325 fans, the record attendance for a Louisiana Tech game in Independence Stadium. The stadium's capacity is 50,459. During the 2012 season, No. 23 Louisiana Tech hosted No. 22 Texas A&M in Independence Stadium on ESPNU in an epic battle in which the Aggies led by Johnny Manziel prevailed, 59-57. This game was ranked by ESPN as the No. 8 game of the 2012 season.
The Band of Pride is the official marching band of Louisiana Tech University. Since its inception in 1906, the band has grown to approximately 200 members. The Band of Pride performs at all home football games, select road games, pep rallies, and various university events throughout the year.
Inside the Davison Athletics Complex behind the south end of Joe Aillet Stadium stands a bronze Bulldog statue named the Spirit of '88. The statue commemorates the 1988 Bulldog football team which blazed the path into Division I-A football for Louisiana Tech. The 1988 team had to endure one of the most difficult schedules in school history while playing with only 65 scholarships - the allotted amount for Division I-AA teams. In what was the nation's 11th toughest schedule that year, the Bulldogs faced five I-A bowl teams including Houston, Florida State and Texas A&M. The results were as expected: losses like 60-0, 56-17 and 66-3. Those experiences likely played a key role in Tech finishing 4-6 the following year, its first in Division I-A, and then 8-3-1 in 1990 and an Independence Bowl berth. The statue, which every Bulldog player touches before jogging onto the field for every home game, has also brought good fortune to the Bulldogs at Joe Aillet Stadium. On October 14, 1989, when it was unveiled, Tech proceeded to pummel a highly respected Northern Illinois team by the score of 42-21. The Bulldogs eventually reeled off 18 consecutive home victories, tying the all-time stadium record set by head coach Maxie Lambright's great teams of the early 1970s.
In 1879, the Fire Bell was cast by L.M. Rumsey & Co. in St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 1897, the Ruston Fire Department was called to fires by ringing the Fire Bell that hung in a wooden tower behind Perkins Drug Store located at 116 N. Trenton Street. The Fire Bell was used for many years in Ruston to alert the town of burning fires. After Joe Aillet Stadium was built in 1968, the old Fire Bell was transported to the stadium and placed behind the end zone. To commemorate the bravery of the bulldog that perished saving the lives of the two students in the burning house in 1899, the Fire Bell is rung before every home football game to call the Bulldogs to battle.
Tech is the name of the fawn and white lineage of English bulldogs which have served as Louisiana Tech's live mascot since 1930. In 1930, a rescued bullpup named Tech I was donated to serve as Louisiana Tech's first live mascot by the family of two football players, Henry and Thomas Matthews. Tech is owned by the Louisiana Tech Student Government Association and resides with either a faculty member or local alumnus selected by the SGA. The current live mascot is Tech XXII, who began his career in the Spring of 2018.
Seventy-five Louisiana Tech players drafted into the National Football League (NFL) since the league began holding drafts in 1936. Five Bulldogs have been selected in the first round including Terry Bradshaw, Roger Carr, Willie Roaf, Troy Edwards, and Vernon Butler. Bradshaw was the overall number one pick in 1970. Tech had one player selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, DE/OLB Jaylon Ferguson.
The following are former Louisiana Tech players in the NFL, as of September 17, 2020:
On December 5, 2012, Louisiana Tech head football coach Sonny Dykes was hired to replace Jeff Tedford as the next California Golden Bears head football coach. On December 14, 2012, Louisiana Tech hired former South Florida Bulls head coach Skip Holtz to succeed Dykes as the 33rd head football coach in Louisiana Tech history.
On December 12, 2018, Conference USA released the league's cross-division opponents for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. The cross-division opponents for the 2019 and 2020 seasons are part of an eight-year rotation in which each school from the west division play each school from the east division home and away one time by the end of the cycle.
Announced schedules as of March 23, 2020.
|at Mississippi State
|at NC State
|San Diego State |
|Stephen F. Austin
|at San Diego State
|Bowling Green |
|Prairie View A&M
|at NC State