Skip Bertman Field becomes a reality at LSU

Four years ago, LSU opened Alex Box Stadium as a roughly $37.8 million testament to the popularity of Tigers baseball.

On Wednesday, former coach and athletic director Skip Bertman, the architect of the powerhouse program, learned he’ll get his own addition to the facility.

The LSU System Board of Supervisors approved naming the field in honor of Bertman, who guided the Tigers on 11 trips to the College World Series and five national titles during his 18-year tenure.

“I can’t think of a man that is associated with, or has been associated with the university, that deserves a naming opportunity as much as coach Bertman,” LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva told the board. “His record is impeccable.”

Yet Bertman, who amassed an 870-330-3 record at LSU before stepping aside in 2001, sought approval on his own, too.

He reached out to Alex Box — the great nephew and last living relative of the stadium’s namesake — about whether the family was fine with the move.

“He assured me that 1943 Alex wouldn’t mind sharing space in history with an old ball coach,” Bertman said.

The 1943 Alex Box, as Bertman called him, was an LSU letterman and Purple Heart winner who died in North Africa during World War II.

The recommendation to recognize Bertman originated with the LSU Athletic Halll of Fame Election Board. It received formal and unanimous approval from the board Wednesday.

The dedication will take place during the final weekend of the Tigers’ regular-season schedule against Ole Miss, which also falls on the 20-year reunion of the Bertman’s 1993 national championship team.

Thirty years ago, Bertman, then an assitant coach at Miami, arrived to a program where fewer than 500 fans attended games and had only one NCAA tournament appearance in 1975.

Over Bertman’s final six seasons as a coach, LSU led the nation in attendance, and the Tigers reeled off four trips to the College World Series. His teams won national titles in 1991, ’93, ’96, ’97 and 2000.