LSU’s legendary Skip Bertman greeting fans in Alexandria this morning

LSU’s legendary Skip Bertman, who built the LSU baseball program from scratch to a dynasty with five national championships from 1991-2000, will be visiting Alexandria today in an event open to the public.

Bertman will speak and sign copies of his autobiography from 10:30-12:30 at Walker BMW on Coliseum Drive. 

He’ll sign copies of “Everything Matters in Baseball – The Skip Bertman Story,” an Acadian House Publishing book about to go into its third printing. Author Glenn Guilbeau, a former Town Talk sports writer who is now a national columnist at News, interviewed nearly 200 people close to Bertman, delving into every detail of Bertman’s mastery.

The book was published last August and the original run of 5,000 copies sold out in February.

Another 3,000 books came out in March and half have already sold, prompting a second edition with an additional chapter and additions that should hit bookstores and online sales this fall, said Guilbeau.

After his incomparable coaching career, Bertman took over as athletics director and guided LSU into its ongoing “Golden Era” of sports success.

His baseball accomplishments are among the greatest in the history of the college game.

In the summer of 1983, Bertman took over a program that had reached the NCAA postseason once, and he took LSU 16 times with 11 trips to the College World Series, turning the quiet bird nest of LSU’s Alex Box Stadium into the cauldron cathedral of college baseball.

“There was not a better coach to learn under,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco, who played and coached under Bertman, said days before winning the 2022 national title. “I learned the foundation from him. So much of what we do is Skip Bertman. He made it look easy. It’s not easy.”

LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson called him “the John Wooden of college baseball” at Johnson’s introductory press conference in 2021.

“Skip has elephant brain. You couldn’t get anything past him,” said Rich Cordani, a star on LSU’s first national title team. “He would always be ahead mentally, situationally. He was our dad, and we were his sons. He was it.”

But Bertman was much more. Upon retiring from coaching in 2001, he became one of LSU’s most innovative athletic directors, and he hired four coaches who each won a national championship.

The book includes a foreword by Alexandria native and resident Warren Morris, the LSU All-American whose legendary walk-off homer versus Miami lifted the Tigers to the 1996 College World Series title.

Guilbeau covered Bertman’s first season at LSU in 1984 for Tiger Rag Magazine in his first year as a sportswriter. He then covered Bertman’s teams from 1989-93 for the Alexandria Town Talk and from 1998-2001 for the Baton Rouge Advocate. Those spans covered three of Bertman’s national championship seasons and his final year.

Guilbeau also covered Bertman’s athletic director years from 2001-04 at The Advocate and from 2004-09 at USA TODAY Louisiana.