by Elizabeth Clarke
Three athletic awards announced, named in honor of outstanding alum
Louisiana Christian University has promoted longtime Athletic Director Reni Mason to a new post.
In Tuesday’s Freshmen Convocation, President Rick Brewer named Mason the new Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics.
“I am grateful to God first and foremost for the opportunity to continue to serve at LCU,” Mason said. “This promotion is an example of Gods faithfulness and provision to my family and I. I would like to thank Dr. Brewer for his continued trust of me in my role. There is still much work to get done.”
Mason has served as head men’s basketball coach since May 2015 and was named athletic director in summer 2017. Mason led the men’s basketball team to two straight conference tournament finals in two different conferences (American Southwest Conference and Red River Athletic Conference) and had a player named NAIA All-American, Kae’ron Baker.
Since taking over the role of athletic director, the focus on academics has been obvious, with the cumulative GPA of all Wildcat student-athletes rising from a 2.7 at the end of the 2015-2016 academic year to a 3.0 following 2019-20.
He led LCU’s transition from NCAA Division III to NAIA for the start of the 2021-22 seasons, which will include the introduction of athletic scholarships for student-athletes.
Mason’s tenure has also brought several improvements, including more chances for female student-athletes with the addition of the LCU women’s volleyball team, and new turf at Wildcat Field for the first time since the stadium was built.
“He has earned this and deserves it, and I am looking forward to his continued Christian leadership for many years ahead,” Brewer said. “Athletics has always had an important voice at the table, but this elevates the importance of athletics at LCU.”
Brewer also announced three new athletic awards to be given this year in honor of three outstanding alumni.
“Shelia Johnson, Dr. Mike Brunet and the Mike Talbert, who passed away in 2020, were outstanding student-athletes at LC in their day,” Brewer said, “and they have remained servant leaders in this community and this state, and we wanted to honor their legacies.”
The Mike Talbert Sr. Male Athlete of the Year award is named for the men’s basketball 1978-79 Hall of Famer. Talbert died in 2020. He was part of the team that made the university’s first appearance in the NAIA National Championship Tournament. Talbert was inducted into the LCU Hall of Fame in 2015.
The Sheila Thompson-Johnson Female Athlete of the Year award is named for the two-time All-American Women’s Basketball player for LCU 1977-81 and member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. She also coached the Lady Wildcats to the NAIA National Semifinals in 1985-86 and served as Athletic Director.
Both the Male and Female Athlete of the Year Awards will be given to a student athlete who have demonstrated outstanding athleticism, sportsmanship and Christian leadership.
The Dr. Mike Brunet Champion of Character is named in honor of the former student athlete who also served as the LCU Team Doctor until his recent retirement. This annual award will be chosen by the athletes, coaches and athletic administration.
Dr. Mike Brunet, Sheila Thompson Johnson, and Coach Drew Maddox