The much-anticipated drop in temperature makes it the perfect time to explore all the offerings of Louisiana’s Playground. SWLA is a year-round sweet spot for athletics, with a plethora of sporting events to plan your vacation around! In addition to your sports-filled weekend, make the most of your trip by dining in a locally owned Cajun restaurant, exploring the Creole Nature Trail, or attending a concert at one of our Casino Resorts.
McNeese Men’s Basketball
Will Wade is the new head coach of McNeese men’s basketball! Wade started his coaching career as an assistant coach at Clemson in 2002, then continued to head coaching positions at Chattanooga, VCU, and LSU, respectively. While at LSU, Wade earned his 100th career win over Memphis. He also led the 2021 LSU Tigers to the championship game of the SEC Tournament and the number eight seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Wade has high expectations surrounding his leadership of the McNeese Cowboys, and Poke Nation is all for it. Recently, the cowboys were picked second in the Southland Conference Preseason Poll. You can catch the team playing in the $41 million, 145,000 square foot Legacy Center complex on the following dates: November 7th, 18th, 19th, and 20th, and December 5th and 15th.
The highly anticipated December 15th matchup is versus our long-time rivals, the UL Ragin’ Cajuns. Consider getting tickets in advance as these games are sure to be packed! General admission tickets for each game are $10 and season ticket packages are $125. The cowboy season will continue until March 2024, which will conclude with the Southland Conference Basketball Tournament, also hosted at the Legacy Center.
The McNeese Cowgirls Volleyball games are prime opportunities to attend free sporting events in the new state-of-the-art facility. The games scheduled for the remainder of the season are high-stakes Southland Conference games with hopes of reaching the championship tournament. With themes for every game, it is a great way for friends and family to get involved in McNeese athletics and cheer on your cowgirls! The themes for the upcoming games are:
Oct 19: Breast Cancer Awareness
Oct 26: Club Appreciation
Oct 28: Halloween Day
Nov 11: Senior Day
McNeese Cowboys vs. LSU Tigers Baseball
Cowboy Diamond will welcome the reigning College Baseball National Champions, the LSU Tigers on November 5th at noon.
"It's not just a fall game. It's a fall game at home against the defending national champions and one of the most storied college baseball programs in history," says McNeese head coach Justin Hill.
The two teams are set to play either 16 or 18 innings, with an intermission. LSU has only been to Lake Charles twice since 2012, with the last time being in 2017. Tickets are on sale now and all seating is general admission. McNeese and SOWELA students can enter for free with a student ID. If you’re thinking of attending, consider showing up early for a good seat. It’s not every day the Pokes host the national champions!
McNeese Women’s Basketball
Catch the McNeese Cowgirls Basketball team in action at the Legacy Center on the following dates: November 6th, 12th, 21st, and 26th, and December 14th, 16th, and 31st. McNeese Women’s basketball will also host a multi-team event from November 15-17, with games occurring on all three days. Teams in attendance will be Wisconsin-Milwaukee, UL Monroe, and Mississippi Valley State. Catching a cowgirl basketball game is another great chance to immerse yourself in the luxurious and exciting atmosphere of the newly debuted, multi-million-dollar Legacy Center. Let’s go Cowgirls!
Southwest Louisiana PG Super NIT
The two-day Perfect Game Super National Invitation is a top-talent youth baseball tournament being held at Pattison Park in Sulphur and the Power Center in Lake Charles. Teams, ages six to 14, were invited from across Louisiana and Texas and will be competing with other select players to prove their skills. With over 100 teams, it’s bound to be an action packed weekend!
High School Basketball
St. Louis Holiday Basketball Tournament will take place at the Burton Coliseum from December 26-28. This tournament will host highly competitive teams from all over the state, contending to be crowned champions.
Sulphur High School Basketball will also be hosting over 25 teams at the Bayou Border Battle 2 on December 20th and 21st, also held at the Legacy Center. Local teams such as Iowa, Barbe, Vinton, St. Louis, and Sulphur will be in attendance showing off their skills. Other elite teams from Texas and Louisiana will make an appearance as well, battling for the championship title and bragging rights for their state.
2023 LHSAA State Swim Meet
Held at Sulphur Parks and Recreation from November 14-18, watch as the most-talented swimmers from four divisions across the state compete in freestyle, backstroke, relays, and other races for a championship title. Historically, SWLA high schools are in attendance and ready for competition. SPAR has been home to the state swim meet since 2009 and is one of the four state high school championships hosted in the Lake Area. Tickets are $10 for general admission and can be purchased here.
Upcoming Runs & Races
With so many races coming in the next few months, here are some great opportunities to immerse yourself in the athletic scene, most of which are associated with various charities. Two upcoming races are taking place on Veterans Day.
Ruck the Chuck is a veteran-honoring 5K, beginning at Bord du Lac park. Each participant will have to carry either 10 or 20 pounds of weight while they run, depending on their size. Each runner will get a t-shirt and all proceeds of this event are donated to a non-profit dedicated to helping veterans and their families.
The 4th annual Walk & Wag for One Health will be held at the Grove at Heritage Square in Sulphur! This includes a 5K Race, 3k Fun Run, and One Health Fair. Pups are welcome to partake in the 3k fun run with their owners. There will be a variety of ways to have fun and learn about One Health while highlighting the human and animal bond. Calcasieu Parish Animal Control will be set up with pups available for adoption as well!
Other opportunities to get your move on in SWLA are the 5K Turkey Burn and 1 Mile Color Run on November 25th, Santa’s Hot Chocolate Run on December 2nd, and the Swamp Stomp Half Marathon on December 9th.
There is entertainment for the whole family at South Beach which boasts sand volleyball courts, pickleball courts, and a variety of food and beverage options. Not only do they have open play opportunities, but they also host recreational leagues and tournaments for friendly competitions.
On October 24th, pickleball will take over South Beach during their pickleball tournament supporting the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Be on the lookout for winter volleyball and pickleball leagues as well. Starting in early 2024, they will be the home for the first ever season of McNeese Sand Volleyball!
Check out their Facebook page or www.southbeachvolleyballmcneese.com for more information on food and beverage menus, hours of operation, and league information.
Community Recreation Centers
Another great way to get out there and show off your sporting skills (or sharpen them) is taking part in the many offerings of Ward 3, SPAR, Ward 4, and other community recreational centers. Each of these offer children’s and adult sports leagues, adult exercise classes, and aquatic opportunities. Schedules, class offerings, and league info on their websites.