I said it in a column last year and I will say it again…
Thursday night, the Nicholls Colonels edged out the McNeese Cowboys on a last second field goal winning their home opener, season opener and conference opener all in one.
For Nicholls to beat McNeese is huge. The Cowboys are usually one of the best football teams in the Southland Conference.
The Colonels are 1-0 and they just knocked off maybe their toughest conference opponent. McNeese has notched a pair of 10-win seasons twice in the last four years.
This win was also the Colonels first home win against the Cowboys in over a freaking decade. The last time Nicholls knocked off McNeese in John L. Guidry stadium was in 2005 for the conference title.
I was texting back and forth with a buddy of mine and a fellow Colonel. He also happens to be a former sports editor of the Nicholls Worth, like myself. He attended the game last night and he told me that last night was more special than when he was covering the team in 2005 because this win signifies beginning of a winning program. I believe him to be right.
He texted me saying that he never thought he would see nearly 10,000 people come through the gates of John L. Guidry Stadium for a home opener. The last time Nicholls had a crowd that size for a game was that 2005 conference championship.
It all began with Tim Freaking Rebowe.
When Nicholls pulled the trigger and hired Rebowe, I knew it was going to be the start of something special.
He went to Nicholls.
I automatically assumed that he understood the difficulties and obstacles you have to overcome when you’re a Colonel. Nicholls is not exactly known for a superb athletic program. Being able to get good recruits for a school like ours is a tough task.
He is from the south.
We are talking about a school located in bayou country…real bayou country. No, literally, there is a bayou in front of our campus. Having a southern hospitality and sincerity goes a long way in a small town like Thibodaux. Check that box.
He is a damn fine football coach.
He had a ton of success at Louisiana-Lafayette. When Nicholls hired him, I knew of him because of the small community that is St. Charles Parish, where his roots lie.
I texted my buddy who played for him and eventually coached alongside him at UL. The first thing he told me was we (Nicholls) struck gold. He told me that our school is going to love Rebowe. He was right.
At a school like Nicholls, you’re always going to be looked at as a bottom feeder. It is important to get the right recruits signed.
But more importantly, you have to be the face of the program. Community outreach is HUGE for a school like Nicholls. I saw his face plastered everywhere on social media and on geauxcolonels.com. He literally worked at the McDonalds Drive Thru near Nicholls. That goes such a long way in a small town.
Rebowe being a southern guy who understands what it is like to attend Nicholls is an advantage. He knows what goes on. He understands it is Thibodaux, La. Most people can’t point it out on a map, so why would they want to play there?
Southern hospitality goes a long way when you’re recruiting down here. You have to compete against LSU, ULL, McNeese and other schools who most would put ahead of Nicholls.
What has he done? He has taken all of the guys from Louisiana that the other Louisiana programs aren’t recruiting hard enough. Consider the fact that this state has more NFL players per capita than any other, it’s a good place to start.
Instead of him saying, “let’s go out and get Junior College guys or out of state guys,” he is saying to hell with that. He knows Louisiana, especially the River Parishes, have great players. Take the guys the other schools aren’t looking at and get them. Keep the recruiting in your own backyard.
He has made people buy in to the program, which is incredible. Just look at the attendance of the McNeese game.
That was the toughest part for a lot of my friends who worked in marketing for Nicholls athletics, getting butts in the seats. Guys like Mike Wagenheim, Brandon Ruttley, Zach Carlton, Tyler Knowles, Jamie Bustos (if I forgot anyone, sorry) were busting their tails coming up with ideas to try to get more fans. The problem is no one wants to support a losing program. Winning speaks volumes.
Last season, they took Georgia to the limit, as well as South Alabama. Money alone says those teams should knock Nicholls’ teeth out. But they didn’t. They hung with them.
Even better, the Colonels finished the season with their first winning record in Southland play since 2005.
The attendance Thursday night and the statement they made in that win better put the Southland Conference on notice. The Colonels aren’t messing around anymore. The days of losing look to be behind them. As someone who filmed four abysmal seasons, I am loving what I see.
It all begins with the mythological figure that is less than a God, but more than a man…Tim Rebowe.
I mean, when the Boogeyman goes to sleep, he checks his closet for Tim Rebowe. Rumor has it that Tim Rebowe once uppercut a horse…now we have giraffes.
When Tim Rebowe began the “all-in” motto, I think I speak for tons of Nicholls fans when I say we are in. Maybe more than we ever have been.
The atmosphere and swagger he has brought to Nicholls is unprecedented. He is giving the Colonels something to look forward to. He is giving the Colonels something to be excited about. He is giving the Colonels something to cheer for. He is giving the Colonels something we have not tasted in quite some time, and honestly, never truly have…a winning program.
I would say Thibodaux or Nicholls should rename an intersection Tim Drive and Rebowe Lane. The problem is Nicholls would probably be sued and have to rename the streets anyway because no one crosses Tim Rebowe and lives.
When Tim Rebowe walks into a room, he doesn’t turn the lights on. He turns the darkness off.
The darkness is sure as hell behind Nicholls.
I will scream it one more time, IT IS A GREAT TIME TO BE A FUCKING COLONEL!! LET’S GOOOOOOOOO!