Every year at this time, we reflect on the year and look forward to the next.

And, each year, we are optimistic about what the future holds.

That's very true this year as we look forward to 2020.

Because, honestly, 2019 sucked.

Oh, that's not to say there weren't good things.  The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns won ten football games for the first time in school history.  The #cULture is real.  Billy Napier is taking the Cajuns' football program to new heights and doing it the right way.

LSU fans are in nirvana like they've never been before.  The Tigers have (mostly) pulverized everyone in their path on their way to the National Championship game.  Joe Burrow has captured the entire nation with his Heisman Trophy performance.  And, head coach Ed Orgeron has found about three thousand different ways of saying "Geaux Tigahs."

But, make no mistake, those things don't begin to take the pain away from things that happened in 2019, mostly off the field.

We all mourned the loss of Geri Ann Glasco, the daughter of the Cajuns' head softball coach, who had joined his staff.  Coach, his wife and his team went through the 2019 season with a heavy heart.

Leonard Wiltz, who spent more than a quarter century working in facilities at the University also passed away.  Leonard was a fixture on UL football road trips helping with equipment.

Speaking of equipment, the Cajuns' long time equipment manager Lynn Williams passed away about the same time.  Big Lynn might have been the most universally loved employee at the University, maybe ever.

Ten days after the baseball season ended, we mourned the passing of Mastern St. Julien, Jr.  "Saint" was the bus driver for men's basketball and baseball for a decade.  He cared about the coaches and players on a personal level.

And, the biggest punch in the gut came on July 3, when we lost Tony Robichaux.  The Cajuns' skipper was so loved, his visitation had to be moved to the Cajundome Convention Center.

Shortly after, one of the most decorated alumnae in UL history, former Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco lost her battle with cancer.  She handled everything in her life with grace, and was kinder to me than I deserved.

We grieved with Cajuns' basketball coach Bob Marlin and his family when his brother Mike passed away suddenly.

Just this week, the entire Lafayette community was devastated when a small plane crashed shortly after takeoff, killing five of the six people on board.  Included in that number was Carley McCord, who covered many Cajuns' baseball games for CST.  Carley wrote a touching tribute to Robe when he passed on July 3rd.

And 2019 ended with the news of the passing of former UL Director of Auxiliary Services and Athletics Director David Walker.  David took over as the interim director just before Hurricane Katrina hit and navigated the Athletics Department for five years before retiring in 2010.  He was the right man at the right time for athletics.

So here we are.

As I said, we look forward to this new year with optimism that things will be better.

Good riddance to 2019.