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So you want to be a Bulldog?

February 25, 2016

 

Submitted photo

Submitted photo

 

The Bulldog Belles and Beaux aid Tech in student-athlete recruiting

 

CALEB DANIEL

Staff Reporter | csd020@latech.edu

 

Football recruiting may seem like a coaches-only job, but over the past few seasons at Louisiana Tech, the Bulldog Belles and Beaux have become a regular part of the process.

 

“Coaches can talk football, but they don’t know what everyday life is like for the students,” said Madison Kaufman, director of player recruitment for Belles and Beaux. “We do, and we can relate to them in a different way than the coaches can.”

 

Bulldog Belles and Beaux began as a spirit group in 2012, and now its members serve as tour guides and friendly faces for athletic recruits on their campus visits.

 

Leslie Brister, founder and current faculty adviser of the Bulldog Belles and Beaux, said she and a group of her fellow student recruiters came up with the idea for the group.

 

“We had a big love for Tech and appreciation for what the Tech family had done for us,” Brister said. “Volunteering at an athletic event opened our eyes to all these different facets of recruiting and alumni organizations that needed helpers.”

 

Brister, who graduated in biology at Tech, said the model for the organization was patterned after similar groups at major universities such as Texas A&M and Florida State. She said the Tech group has advanced rapidly in the past few years.

 

“It’s cool to see how we started with about 10 students, and we’ve grown to about 40 members now,” Brister said. “We get to branch out and do a lot more things than we did at first.”

 

The group is busiest when helping with official and unofficial football recruiting: pairing up with potential players, checking them in, and giving them campus tours.

 

Preslie Neely, Belles and Beaux president, said they help recruits and their families glide through the visitation process

 

“We make the transition a little bit easier for them,” she said. “The parents are more comfortable because they can ask questions to students who aren’t paid by the university. We can give them a more honest input and tell them how it really is.”

 

Through regular events such as “Cookie Thursday,” Neely said Belles and Beaux continue to serve the players once recruiting is behind them.

 

“Our work doesn’t stop once they’ve committed,” said Neely, a junior biology major. “We’re involved with the players on a regular basis. They can get burnt out on football, and we get to try to give some of their passion back to them.”

 

With the official recruiting season wrapping up in January, it is now time for the Belles and Beaux to begin recruiting to fill their own ranks.

 

Their spring interest meeting is March 16, followed by interviews on March 17, 18, and 21. More information can be found on the organization’s social media pages.

 

Neely said that with only half-hour weekly meetings and a few required work hours before a home game, the Belles and Beaux offer a high return on a small investment.

 

“We know you’re a student first,” she said. “You see such difference just from the short time that you spend. We don’t ask a whole lot, but the reward is high.”

 

Neely also said the relationships she forms with the football team is one of the most fulfilling parts of her work.

 

“I get to know all the players in a way that I never would have from the bleachers, and that helps me cheer them on,” she said.

 

Kaufman, a freshman communication major, said the Belles and Beaux helps unify the university under the love of sports.

 

“It’s a cool way to give back and invest in the university,” she said. “No matter who you are, we all love Bulldog sports, and it’s something we can all bond over.”

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