BATON ROUGE, La. — The world of college sports is generally said to run on an academic calendar, beginning in August with the start of football season and ending in June with the end of baseball.
Since LSU is currently entrenched in the one month of the year without sports, we’re using July to look back at the last year in LSU sports. And, well, it was one of the most eventful years on record. The successes were soaring highs, with two teams finishing as national runners-up and two others appearing in a championship series. But the lows were, well, there’s a reason LSU has new coaches in its two most marquee sports.
It’s been a long year. But let’s reflect. Here’s a quick recap of the year that was.
The 2016-17 football calendar can be divided into three neat increments: Before Sept. 25, Sept. 25 through Nov. 26 and after Nov. 26. LSU fired former coach Les Miles at the end of September, ending his 11-year involvement with the program. Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron was elevated to the interim basis, eventually securing the job in a full-time capacity on Nov. 26. Since then, the job has been Oregon’s to build around, as he did by hiring offensive coordinator Matt Canada away from Pittsburgh and putting the finishing touches on the No. 7 recruiting class in the nation.
On the actual gridiron, the Tigers finished 8-4 with a Citrus Bowl victory over Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals. Its four losses came by a combined 23 points, or an average of less than one touchdown per loss.
LSU men’s basketball
One of the most disastrous seasons in LSU men’s basketball history came to an end in March, with the Tigers finishing 10-21, 2-16 in SEC play. On March 10, AD Joe Alleva relieved coach Johnny Jones of his duties, replacing him less than two weeks later with former VCU coach Will Wade.
LSU lost a school record 15 games in a row, 14 of which came in conference, between the first weekend of January and the last weekend of February.
Paul Mainieri’s Tigers entered the season as a preseason contender and fulfilled those expectations. LSU hit its hot streak down the stretch, sweeping its final two SEC regular season series and parlaying that into undefeated stretches in the SEC Tournament, regionals and Super Regionals.
LSU was riding the second-longest win streak in the country heading into the College World Series, where it lost an early game to Oregon State, the No. 1 team in the country. The Tigers recovered, upsetting Oregon State twice in two days to return to the College World Series finals for the first time since 2009. The Tigers eventually lost that series to Florida, finishing as the national runners-up.
LSU women’s basketball
The LSU women’s basketball team made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014-15, losing a heartbreaker to California in the first round, 55-52. Led by SEC Defensive Player of the Year Raigyne Moncrief, the Tigers went 20-12 with an 8-8 record in the SEC.
LSU’s ladies in the gym started the year hot and continued that stretch through postseason competition. The Tigers finished as national runners-up for the second year in a row, missing out on a title to Oklahoma for the second time in as many years. Oklahoma was the only team to defeat LSU in 2017 though, as the Tigers swept SEC competition to win the inaugural SEC regular-season title and the SEC postseason championship.
The softball team returned to the Women’s College World Series in 2017, finishing as runners-up in the SEC Tournament and upsetting higher-seeded Florida State in the Tallahassee Super Regionals. The Tigers won their first game in the WCWS, defeating UCLA, but lost back-to-back games versus Florida and Oregon to be ousted.
LSU beach volleyball
LSU’s beach volleyball team posted the most successful season in school history, reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time. The Tigers at one point won 24 matches in a row, leading the Tigers to an impressive 27-8 final record. Of the eight teams that made the NCAA Tournament this season, LSU was the only one to do so and not be in a state that directly borders the ocean.
LSU track and field
Both LSU’s men’s and women’s track and field teams finished tied for seventh place nationally in the outdoor championships. In the indoor championships, the men finished sixth and the women finished 18th.
- The men’s golf team finished ninth in the nation. Women’s golf finished eighth in the SEC and lost in NCAA regionals, not advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
- The cross country team finished 11th out of 12 teams in the SEC Tournament.
- Soccer finished the fall with a 7-11-1 record, 2-8-1 in SEC play.
- The men’s swimming and diving team finished ninth in the SEC. The women’s team finished eighth in the SEC and 34th in the nation.
- Men’s tennis went 10-17, 3-9 in SEC play and will begin 2017-18 with new co-head coaches. Women’s tennis went 15-11 with a 6-7 record in SEC competition and lost in NCAA regionals versus Cal.
- The indoor volleyball team went 9-20 with a 4-14 SEC record.
Check back to SEC Country on Wednesday for a preview of the 2017-18 athletic calendar.