When University of Arkansas at Monticello Chancellor Jack Lassiter announced his retirement this past April, head football coach Hud Jackson knew he would be losing two of the program’s most impactful supporters.
Though Jack and Judy Lassiter will still be passionate Boll Weevil fans following the January 5, 2015 retirement, Jackson and his team have dedicated the 2014 season to UAM’s First Family as a token of appreciation for what the couple has done over the previous three years since the new football coaching regiment took over.
“We like to honor and recognize those that truly care about our team, and those that we truly care about in return,” Jackson said this past Wednesday evening before the Lassiters addressed the entire team during preseason training camp.
At that Wednesday night meeting, Jackson revealed a helmet decal that will be worn throughout the 2014 season with the phrase “Jack & Judy” in honor of UAM’s 11th chief executive officer and his wife.
“In my 47 years in higher education, I look back fondly on memories of various awards or recognition given to us by students, staff and faculty,” said Dr. Lassiter. “The dedication of this season by the football team and coaches is one memory that Judy and I will place on the top of our list. We are truly honored by and grateful for this dedication. Go Weevils!”
Under Dr. Lassiter’s guidance as chancellor, the athletics department has seen significant renovations to its facilities, including a new indoor practice facility utilized by all of UAM’s athletic teams, an expanded press box and chair-back seating at Willis “Convoy” Leslie Cotton Boll Stadium, and major overhauls to the baseball and softball facilities. Dr. Lassiter also instituted one of the most popular events on campus when he opened the area surrounding Weevil Pond for tailgating and created the Walk of Champions, which has become an established tradition before home football games.
“Dr. and Mrs. Lassiter have done great things for this entire university long before I came here, but I will always cherish the support they have given me, our assistant coaches and our student-athletes during the time I’ve been a Weevil,” said Jackson. “I speak for all of our players and coaches when I say I am incredibly excited to be able to honor the Lassiters in this way. They deserve so much more than just a helmet decal and a thank you, but we really will miss their leadership.”
Similar decals have donned the UAM helmets in the past. The 2012 Weevils wore a “BC” decal in memory of Buddy Carson, a member of Arkansas A&M’s Wandering Weevils and long-time Weevils fan. Carson passed away in September of 2012, just a few weeks after the season had already begun. Last year, the initials “TB” were displayed on the back of UAM’s helmets to honor the late Tommy Barnes, the program’s all-time winningest coach who passed away in March of 2013.