Covering Louisiana

Feb 17, 2014 6:56 AM by Glenn Guilbeau

Legendary LSU baseball coach and wife fine after home invasion

BATON ROUGE - About one decade after his home nearly burned down, former LSU baseball coach Skip Bertman was the victim of a home invasion in the same residence near LSU shortly before 5 a.m. Saturday, according to Baton Rouge Police.

Bertman, 75, was awakened by a masked burglar who entered the house through a window. Startled, the burglar quickly left through a door after a brief scuffle with Bertman, but he got away with some of Bertman's championship rings and cash, a friend of the family said on Sunday.

Bertman, who won five national championships between 1991 and 2000 as LSU's coach and another seven Southeastern Conference championships, was not injured. Bertman's wife Sandy was also unharmed.

Hordes of police and law enforcement personnel descended upon Bertman's home shortly after Bertman called police at about 4:40 a.m. Saturday.

Police believe the burglar knew it was Bertman's home.

"From what detectives have told me, they believe this victim was targeted," police spokesman Cpl. L'Jean McKneely told the Baton Rouge Advocate Saturday.

The Bertmans have lived on Ormond Avenue off Brightside Drive near LSU since Bertman became the Tigers' baseball coach after the 1983 season when he left a job as pitching coach at the University of Miami.

A fire on Feb. 29, 2004, that started in the garage due to an electrical short destroyed 35 percent of the home, including nearly all of the memorabilia Bertman had kept throughout his career as a baseball coach. Bertman had the home rebuilt and moved back into it.

Bertman retired as LSU's baseball coach following the 2001 season and then became athletic director until 2008. He hired Les Miles as football coach following the 2004 season after Nick Saban left to coach the Miami Dolphins. Miles won the Bowl Championship Series national championship in the 2007 season. After the 2006 baseball season, Bertman hired Notre Dame baseball coach Paul Mainieri to replace Smoke Laval, who replaced Bertman as coach after the 2001 season. Mainieri won the 2009 national championship and has taken the Tigers to the College World Series three times, including last season.

Bertman, who has always been extremely accessible to the media, has not taken any calls from reporters since the home invasion and had not returned many of the hundreds of calls he has received from friends and former LSU players.
McKneely said the investigation will continue.

(Photo: Bill Haber, AP)

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