By Bo Carter, National Football Foundation
BATON ROUGE, La. – Those honors just keep rolling in for former Southern University head baseball coach and Southwestern Athletic Conference trendsetter Roger Cador.
The personable retiree who served as Southern’s head coach for 33 seasons and rolled up a 913-597-1 mark (.604 winning percentage) with 14 SWAC team titles and two HBCU national championships is being inducted into both the SWAC Hall of Fame Nov. 30 prior to the conference football title game in Birmingham, Ala., Dec. 1 as well as the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in June 2019.
“I truly am honored and humbled to be receiving these two recognitions,” said Cador. “I could not have done it without the help of some great student-athletes, assistant coaches, team benefactors, and Southern administrators for all those years.”
The capable Cador continues to be involved in baseball in several areas and has worked in semi-retirement for the Southern athletics’ development.
But before he left active coaching, he ran up one of the best records in the history of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and all of NCAA Division I baseball, for that matter.
The 66-year-old legend was the head coach for the Southern Jaguars from 1985-2017 (33 seasons) and amassed a 913-597-1 (.604 winning percentage) as the winningest baseball coach in Southwestern Athletic Conference history.
The 1970-73 standout for the Jaguars also served as an assistant baseball coach from 1978-84 at Southern while simultaneously working as a basketball assistant coach from 1980-84. He played professionally in the Atlanta Braves organization from 1973-77 after leading SU with a .393 batting average as a junior in 1972. He played for the Class AAA Richmond Braves (one step away from being called up to Atlanta) in ’77.
Cador’s head coaching career left its mark on NCAA, SWAC, Louisiana collegiate, and Southern baseball. Most notably, he had to re-construct Southern’s previous baseball facility almost by hand and had to raise virtually all funding for the team from independent sources.
“We had very little equipment, balls, bats, uniforms, batting cages, or other essentials,” he explained. “We worked from the ground up and were able to build a representative and winning program for many years.”
But the Jaguars thrived almost from the beginning under his canny tutelage, and the milestones began piling up in the 1980s through his retirement and acceptance into the two prestigious Halls of Fame.
He started guiding the team to SWAC titles – 14 in all in 33 seasons – racked up 13 SWAC Coach of the Year Awards, 11 NCAA tournament appearances, two HBCU national championships in 2003 and ’05, coached 10 All-America standouts, and produced 62 baseball alumni who later played professional baseball, umpired or became high school or college baseball coaches. From 2001-04 Southern had a SWAC-record 13 players drafted.
One of his prized pupils was Rickie Weeks who starred for 14 seasons with four different Major League Baseball teams. Weeks also became the first consensus college baseball player of the year from an HBCU powerhouse as well as the first African American student-athlete to capture the 2003 Dick Howser Trophy and the ’03 Golden Spikes Award.
Cador, a native of New Roads, La., achieved yet another milestone in 1987 when Southern upended Cal State Fullerton (winner of four NCAA diamond championships and ranked No. 2 nationally in ’87) 1-0 in the NCAA South II Regional tourney in New Orleans, La.
It was the first time an HBCU school captured an NCAA postseason victory.
The Louisiana legend also has been active in increasing the exposure for both college baseball and HBCU coverage nationally. He helped organize the Urban Baseball Invitational (now known as the Andre Dawson Classic), which has featured HBCU schools in live national telecasts on ESPN and the MLB Network from Los Angeles, Houston, and New Orleans.
He is the 19th Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductee from Southern and joins fellow 2019 honorees Tennessee and NFL star Peyton Manning, LSU and Oklahoma State head football coach Les Miles, Olympic volleyball star Danielle Scott-Arruda, famed Alexandria-Peabody Magnet High School basketball coach Charles Smith, Louisiana Tech and NFL quarterback Matt Dunigan, 1958 LSU national champion football team All-America Max Fluger, and Rodeo Hall of Fame member T. Barrett Porter.
“I would like to congratulate coach Roger Cador,” said Southern director of athletics Roman Banks. “His body of work speaks volumes. Southern’s family thanks coach Cador in the way he enhanced Baseball, Southern’s athletic department, and Southern University as a whole.”
The Class of 2019 will be enshrined Saturday, June 8, in Natchitoches to culminate the 60th anniversary Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration June 6-8.
Cador also joins several 2018 SWAC Hall of Fame notables at the gala banquet Nov. 30 in Birmingham.