Sun Belt: Greetings From Lafayette

By Jean Neuberger - October 23, 2006 has arrived in Lafayette, home of the Ragin' Cajuns and the 2006-07 Sun Belt Media Days. Tonight, we sat with former Auburn coach Sonny Smith and Alabama/UALR coach Wimp Sanderson as dinner was held for the media and coaches inside the Cajundome.

The Sun Belt is a small conference that works extremely hard. I've never attended a Media Days event in which conference officials were bending over backwards to assist media members and make them feel comfortable. From the free shuttles to the Cajundome from the hotel, to staff waiting hand and foot with food and drink, to the raffle held during the event to give out Sun Belt memorabilia, we were treated like gold from the moment we set foot in Lafayette.

As Smith and Sanderson were swapping stories about places they had coached and favorite moments they had on the court, South Alabama's John Pelphrey sat in between them, totally absorbing each story with excitment in his eyes. The Jaguar coach looked like a kid in a candy store to be sitting with the two famous coaches.

Meanwhile, Arkansas State coach Dickey Nutt was holding court over one of the front tables. Nutt, one of the elder statesmen in the conference, was getting laughs from everyone around him as he talked basketball. Nutt is also the brother of Arkansas head football coach Houston Nutt, and UA running backs coach Danny Nutt. That means, as of this week, I've seen 3 of the 4 Nutt brothers. Where's Dennis Nutt to make it a perfect 4 for 4?

The scene is set for tomorrow, as the coaches of all Sun Belt men's and women's teams will face the media tomorrow morning at the Cajundome. Sanderson and Smith will be the featured speakers at tomorrow's luncheon.

Posted by Jean Neuberger at 10:02 PM on October 23, 2006

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