From the moment the doors first opened in 1901 at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, athletics have been embraced as a vital component of student life. Our first president, Edwin L. Stephens, noted in 1907 that, “The Industrial Institute [as the University was then named] has from the beginning attempted to make provision for the rational exercise and growth not only of the minds of its students but their bodies as well," and continued, “Boys or girls who take such exercise always feel better, sleep better, study better, and make better progress in intellectual development."
From the University’s modest beginnings, when a single gym on campus was designated solely for the female students to be taught the “Swedish system of gymnastics” and our teams had to find outside competition at local high schools if they wanted to play, to our three victories at the 2011, 2012, and 2013 New Orleans Bowl—UL Lafayette has come a long way!
Today, the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns are members of the Sun Belt Conference and are members of the NCAA’s Division 1, the highest level of collegiate athletics. We compete nationally in ten sports, including baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, tennis, track and field, softball, soccer, and volleyball—each of which are buoyed by the enthusiasm of our legendary fans and enjoy the use of our many fields and facilities for training and competition.
The students of UL Lafayette continue to matriculate in the spirit of President Stephens' prescient views on exercise and mental acuity to this day, enjoying an active Recreational Sports program that offers over twenty different sporting activities particpate and compete in. They also offer a wide array of group exercise classes for students and faculty, like yoga, Zumba, and spinning, at the student gymnasium, Bourgeois Hall.
To experience some of our colorful history, take a stroll/click through the history and photo archives of our Athletic Network’s site. You can find everything from a list of conference championships our teams have participated in to photos of the now-retired “Cajun Man” mascot to records from the 1940 boxing season to a news item from the Times-Picayune reporting on a 1902 football match, where, even then, “Lafayette was ablaze with vermilion, the institute color. Buggies, horses, harnesses, as well as walking sticks, lapels and bosoms, were bright with the flaring ribbons.”
Enjoy these photos and stories from the organized teams at UL Lafayette over the past 112 years: