From protester to mentor
Collins Phillips considers his career in education an extension of the same thing he was trying to accomplish as a student at LSU. He protested the display of the Confederate battle flag in purple and gold, “helping the youth of our future.” He passed up a job in Washington, D.C. three years ago to return to his home state. He bought a house in Baton Rouge and is now state director for The Right Prep, which provides free tutoring services. More than 300 students from four districts in Louisiana have benefited from its programs.
Fired hometown hero becomes international coach
Dismissed as the LSU women’s basketball coach amid allegations of inappropriate relationships with some of her players, Pokey Chatman is now based in Metairie, but her work is international. She coaches the Slovakian National Women’s team as well as Spartak of Moscow, the latter since October 2007. It’s worth a visit to her website (coachpokey.com) just to see her crouched menacingly in front of St. Basil’s in Red Square.
Update: Pokey Chatman, the former LSU women’s basketball coach, has been named the general manager and head coach of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky. Team owner Michael Alter says Chatman knows how to lead and has shown success at both the professional and college levels. Chatman led the Russian Spartak Moscow Region to a perfect 16-0 Euroleague record and the 2010 Euroleague Championship.
Struck by tragedy, now pursuing new paths
Most of the members of The Terms, the Baton-Rouge based band whose rise to stardom was abruptly sidetracked by a violent car crash in September 2006, have gone on to school and other jobs. Greg Chiartano went to law school, Scott Lasseigne is a sales rep and Blake Oliver works in commercial insurance. Brandon Young, the most seriously injured with a traumatic brain injury, recovered enough after months of intense rehab to enroll in LSU-Shreveport, where he plays in its jazz band. Lead singer Ben Labat is recording again with new group, Ben Labat and the Happy Devil.
Attack victim, survivor, student
Scar tissue from the pit bull mauling he suffered in 2007 has not kept Aaron Joslyn from making the rounds of his 11th grade classes at Tara High School, or serving up burgers and fries at the Drusilla McDonald’s. Aaron’s mom Sandy says he’s undergone about a dozen surgeries and hopes the most recent one, in which doctors implanted shark cartilage, will hold for a couple of years. She credits the original 225 story about the horrific mauling with compelling the insurance company to adequately cover Aaron’s medical bills.
From war veteran to big-league attorney
Princeton University alum, Gulf War veteran and LSU Law School grad Tommy Leslie moved to Houston after law school, where he now practices corporate and securities law for the influential firm Baker Botts LLP. Family, football, food and fraud keep have kept him connected to his Louisiana roots: He visits for LSU and Saints games and home-cooked meals with family here and in Thibodaux, while one of his assignments at Baker Botts called upon his military officer’s organization skills as he helped to supervise the government raid and collection of documents from Stanford Financial Group’s corporate offices in Houston.