I really enjoyed watching the SEC Network documentary on Skip Bertman last night. There were some great tales about his early years at LSU, including when he kicked Albert Belle off the team for selfish play.
But what I found most interesting was the grassroots campaign to build interest in the program, which was irrelevant when he arrived.
Several people recalled a time when Bertman hosted a baseball clinic outside of a sporting goods store. Six people showed up to the baseball clinic while 250 were inside learning to use a turkey call. He said the baseball team used to dress up in full uniform and walk the aisles at Pete Maravich Center to hand out baseball tickets, and he used to send his assistant coaches to the concession stands during cold-weather games to make sure the hot chocolate was hot.
There are a lot of coaches who had to do the similar things to build interest in their programs. Bertman is unique in that his work resulted in five national championships.
I thought a lot about Norm DeBriyn and Dave Van Horn while listening to Bertman speak about having to get your hands dirty taking care of the field as a baseball coach. And I thought about Gary Blair when Bertman said he used to speak publicly 80 times per year to any group that would have him.