Here’s hoping everyone had a happy and joyous Easter.
For at least two families connected with the LSU football program, that wasn’t such an easy thing to do. Coach Les Miles was still dealing with the sudden death of his sister two days before the holiday, while Sid Fournet’s loved ones grieved over the passing of the former All-American on Holy Saturday.
For those of us who have lost a sibling, the death is never easy to accept. It becomes even more burdensome when the event is as tragic as the one that claimed the life of Ann Hope Browne, Miles’ 54-year-old sister.
Browne was pulling out of a subdivision onto Hwy. 1 in Addis when her Nissan Sentra was struck on the driver’s side by a Dodge Ram pickup truck. Browne died at the scene. The six people in the pickup were unhurt, although all but the driver went to the hospital as a precautionary measure. The driver remained behind to speak with authorities.
Miles, through the LSU sports information department, declined comment. That’s understandable given what should be a private matter. Yet because of his national stature, everything surrounding Miles becomes public.
For all of Miles’ status and money, that can’t soften the blow of his sister’s shocking death. Browne had just finished making a
sales call for her job when she lost her life. Something that should have been as mundane as another workday for his sister turned into a life-changing experience for Miles.
Miles, with his steadfast resolve, will forge ahead and coach LSU to what many hope will be a national championship this fall. Life doesn’t slow down for the living. It remains in front of us to be met head one despite the obstacles that can disrupt one’s path.
As former LSU football coach Bill Arnsparger was fond of saying, “You either get better or worse. You never stay the same.”
Miles could wallow in self-pity and lose focus and direction in his own life. Or he could take one of the many tragedies life throws at us, become stronger in character, and carry his sister’s spirit with him. No doubt his sister, as anyone’s sister, would want the latter.
The same holds true for Fournet’s brother, Emile, two sons, a daughter, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Their lives underwent a transformation when the 78-year-old Fournet succumbed to complications following quintuple heart surgery on Feb. 5.
A Bogalusa native, Fournet died at Slidell Memorial Hospital.
Fournet wasn’t as popular as Miles, if only because Fournet played at LSU from 1951-54 and Miles is the face of today’s team. Even so, Fournet is no less important to LSU’s rich history.
Page 2 of 2 - Fournet was an All-American tackle in 1954 and a first team All-Southeastern Conference selection each of his last two years. Fournet played for Gaynell Tinsley, LSU’s first unanimous All-American. Tinsely’s last of seven seasons as coach was in 1954. Tinsley was voted to LSU’s Early Years Team of the Century.
Fournet’s younger brother, Emile, was a member of the Chinese Bandits on LSU’s undefeated 1958 national championship team. Another brother, Dan, played at Southeastern Louisiana, where he earned team MVP and All-Gulf States Conference recognition in 1955.
Sid was an immediate success at LSU where he earned All-SEC second-team honors in 1951. By his senior, Fournet played on both sides of the line of scrimmage as a guard and a tackle. He participated in 83 percent of LSU’s total plays that year and later played in the Senior Bowl.
Fournet was a second-round NFL draft pick in 1955 and spent seven professional seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, the original Dallas Texans and the New York Titans/Jets. He finished his career having played in 82 games with 17 tackles and an interception that he returned 17 yards.
Fournet, and surely Browne, as well, made the kind of memories that will sustain those left behind.