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How LSU Coaches Are Responding to Unprecedented Circumstances Within Their Programs

Scott Woodward raves about the approach from his athletic coaching staff
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One of the big takeaways out of athletic director Scott Woodward's press conference, was the glowing sentiments he gave in regards to all of the coaches and staff members he is working alongside to make the most out of a tough situation. 

There are no guidelines or blueprints to handle what has become one of the more trying times in recent memory. Yet through all of this, Woodward said Monday that his head coaches have been "awesome."

"They were foremost and primarily worried about the health and welfare of their student-athletes. Worried about their teams. We ranked it on a scale. Hey, this is life and death we’re talking about," Woodward said. 

"Eligibility and the disappointment our student-athletes have is real. We’re going to help them all we can as coaches, as a medical staff and in everything we need to do. We were all in agreement we have great compassion and great empathy for what’s going on and let’s deal with it. It was a very rewarding meeting for me to watch how concerned they were about their student-athletes."

Coaches from top to bottom are doing everything they can for not only their student-athletes but for the community as well. Coach Ed Orgeron recently made a public service announcement about the proper precautions people can take to avoid mass spread of the COVID-19 virus.

"The spread of coronavirus is a serious matter but there's a gameplan in place to keep residents as safe as possible," Orgeron said. "We're all in this together, let's team up and protect our health."

LSU basketball coach Will Wade and baseball coach Paul Mainieri have both responded in positive manners as well, saying these circumstances are about more than college athletics.

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"It's been a little bit of a roller coaster and up and down, but at the end of the day, public health and everything else that is going on in the world is a lot more important than March Madness and basketball right now," Wade said.

One of the biggest concerns Woodward as well as the head coaches have at the moment on an administrative level, is fighting for the student-athletes for the spring sports to get a year of eligibility after their seasons were cut short. 

The NCAA last week released a statement saying it's working towards providing those student-athletes with an extra year but nothing has been finalized as of this moment. 

"My advocacy is going to be for all of our student-athletes, freshman through senior, that they get their year back," Woodward said. "But how we count them and what we do? That's all to be determined."

Woodward is someone that reflects on history in times of crisis and how he can learn from past historical events for the future. He was asked Monday if he's given thought to any past readings or historical lessons to help him navigate these uncharted waters.

As it turns out, he's thought a lot about a 20th century philosophy class he took while at LSU and a book, "The Plague," that his professor assigned as a reading.

"It talks about how human nature responds and does things during really trying, tough times," Woodward said. "This is unprecedented as far as our sports go. But we have to look at things we have seen and watched happen in the past. You learn and take nuggets from each one of them.

"We are pressing people to be empathetic and really be concerned about how we treat our fellow human beings, in particular our LSU family. I couldn’t be more emphatic about that point. People are going to be going through trying, tough times right now, whether it’s health or employment or financial or mental or whatever. Just have that top of mind and be compassionate with people in how you treat them."