"It's kind of weird being a CEO of a company, but still not having control of your own life." Those were the words of Duck Commander CEO and star of the A&E series Duck Dynasty Willie Robertson. The 1996 alum returned to ULM recently where he was honored to throw out the first pitch before the Warhawks went on to win in a late comeback effort.
"It was good to return home back then and finish up my degree in a great friendly environment, and close to my family and my roots. I had been married for a few years and my first son was born, so I knew it was a now or never to complete it."
He began his collegiate time at nearby Harding, where he dreamed of continuing his basketball career that began at West Monroe (La) High School under the leadership of current ULM baseball assistant Phil Keifenheim. While at Harding, he attempted to get a place on the team, but in an unconventional way.
"I challenged the coach, who was the badminton instructor, to a badminton match. I told him that if I won I got to be on the team. I did win, but it didn't land me anywhere; I guess I should've had more money back then. I likewise should've tried to play at NLU (as it was known in his era) for Mike Vining, but I don't think my parents were big enough boosters to pull that off; I was about 10 years too early for that."
One thing that Robertson was able to pull off though was the featuring of Malone Stadium in the very first episode of Duck Dynasty. In the episode, Willie is trying to get his wife Korie up to speed for the upcoming family football game. The game of course features his father Phil, who was a standout quarterback at rival Louisiana Tech and played ahead of NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw, before giving up the sport to focus on business.
"I wanted to show my roots, and feature the school," Willie said. "The chance came up and we thought it would be cool to do it out at the stadium. It looked so sweet on camera. I heard a ton of good comments from it, so I feel that it was a great thing."
Although his time on campus was limited, Robertson did capture the intramural badminton title; fitting for someone that graduated in health & human performances.