A FEW MINUTES WITH ... Bridget Dinvaut

Bridget Dinvaut, assistant district attorney in St. John Parish and newly elected president of the Southern University Board of Supervisors, talks about her athletic career and how the Jaguars won’t stay down for long.

You are the daughter of coaches. Why didn’t you pursue that as a career, too?

As coaches, my parents instilled in me and my two sisters a strong work ethic and the importance of character and integrity. They always encouraged us to follow our dreams and pursue our passions. I found my passion working within the criminal justice system at both the state and federal levels.

What kind of athlete were you?

I played basketball at East St. John High and was voted most athletic by my senior classmates. However, at this particular point and time in my life, I would like to consider myself as more of a mental gymnast.

Who was your favorite athlete when you growing up?

My father and then Terry Robiskie, along with many others, who led Second Ward High School in Edgard, Louisiana — the high school team my father coached — to Class 1A championships in 1971 and 1972 and a 48-2 record during his tenure.

Who is your favorite athlete today?

My husband, Michael A. Sanders (Louisiana Sports Hall of Famer and currently (an assistant) coach of the Utah Jazz.

Other than Southern, what are your favorite teams today?

The West St. John Rams, the East St. John Wildcats, the St. Charles Catholic Comets, the New Orleans Saints, the Utah Jazz and of course the New Orleans Hornets when they are not playing the Jazz.

What’s your favorite sports movie?

“Brian’s Song.”

What do you feel like should be the role of the Board of Supervisors in Southern athletics?

To approve the selection of the best qualified athletic director, which we have in Dr. William Broussard, and provide him with support through the implementation of policies and procedures that seek to enhance and promote athletics for the students, fans and alumni, as well as the institution as a whole.

The Jaguars seem to have lost their way in football. What do you believe went wrong?

Correction Sir! We have not lost our way. We are on our way to bringing back that “Old Southern Spirit.” The Jaguar Nation is loyal and committed to “Southern Football.” There’s much to be excited about moving forward.

Why does there seem to be less interest in the Bayou Classic than in the past?

Less interest is a misconception based upon attendance at the event in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Bayou Classic continues to bring economic, social and institutional value to both Southern and Grambling, as well as to the city of New Orleans. In fact, ticket sales increased this year compared to the previous year. However, we do recognize the wane in actual gametime attendance and are examining and exploring marketing strategies to address this issue. One factor that was brought to our attention was that the game is televised and many fans are opting not to travel into the city of New Orleans for the Bayou Classic, but rather host house parties instead. Another factor is that the city is saturated with promotional events that coincide with the game or piggyback on the big weekend, so much so that the attention is drawn away from attending the football game. I believe we can turn that around if we make the party inside the Dome on game day better than the party outside the Dome.

In your role as an assistant district attorney, you have to deal with a lot of young people who have taken the wrong path. Do you believe that sports can help prevent that?

I believe that education more so than sports will help prevent a young person from taking the wrong path. But I would never discredit the value that participating in sports can have in a young person’s life. My father stressed both to the young lives he touched during his many years of coaching, and I can not tell you how often his players have told me so. They will tell you too, if you ask. My mother was a basketball coach in the United States Navy, and although she never coached during her career as an educator, the principles, values and character building inherent in sports was a major part of my and my sisters upbringing. As such, I believe that participating in sports can be key to steering a young person in the right direction and may even change their course.

Ted Lewis