Baton Rouge, LA (WLOX) - When taking in an LSU baseball game at Alex Box Stadium, you don't have to go far to realize the legacy of Doug Thompson.
He's commemorated in Champions Circle, he's memoralized inside their Baseball Hall of Fame, and he's stationed in the broadcast booth, providing color commentary for his beloved alma mater.
"Knowing what to look for, knowing what to expect, it helps me to be able to communicate more clearly to the audience or listener what happened on that play and why," Thompson said.
Thompson reflects on his playing days to inform his call, bringing an insider's perspective to the booth.
"My time on the field, certainly here and in the Minor Leagues and whatnot, and a lot of times even as a little-leaguer, right?" Thompson said. "There's certain things that happen that my experiences as a player helps me to add color."
Experiences that began in Biloxi.
From 1991 to 1994, "Dougie" Thompson was a dominant force on the mound for Biloxi High School. Thompson led the Indians to four consecutive South State Finals appearances, only to fall short every single time."
"Those teams that I played on at Biloxi were great," Thompson said. "Lots of great players, always competed up into South State, always had heartbreaking losses, but I will never forget my time as a Biloxi Indian. I have a lot of pride in that baseball program."
His stellar prep career earned him a spot at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, where Thompson casually posted a 26-4 record, earning All-American honors. After two years in Perk, the Biloxi native was all set to attend Mississippi State. But then, his dream school finally called.
When asked why this South Mississippi kid wanted to attend LSU?
"That's a great question, a great story," Thompson said.
"When I grew up as a kid, I would always hear these stories about my grandfather, he was a huge LSU fan," Thompson said of his namesake, Doug Thompson. "He would drive around his patrol car while LSU played Mississippi State or Ole Miss, and when the Tigers would punch one in across the goal line, he would turn the lights on and lay on the horn with the fight song. So many people told me that that story that for some reason I just loved LSU."
And so, Thompson was Callin' Baton Rouge, and soon found himself pitching on College Baseball's biggest stage, the 1997 College World Series in Omaha, NE.
"It was a dream come true for me," Thompson said.
Facing a bases-loaded, one out jam in the fifth inning against Alabama, the Tigers turned to Thompson. The Biloxi native delivered, earning back to back strikeouts to get out of the jam.
With his steady presence on the mound, LSU built a 13-6 lead over the Tide, culminating in a moment he had waited for his entire life.
"As a 9, 10, 11, 12-year-old kid in Biloxi, Mississippi, I had a shed out in my yard like everyone else did," Thompson said. "I would (practice striking) out the last batter to win the championship."
All Thompson had to do was finish the job, and he did. With his final strikeout, the Tigers won the 1996 College World Series, their second consecutive national championship.
"They've been playing baseball at LSU for over 100 years and there's only six national championships," Thompson said. "It's very special to be even a small part of such an enormous program here in Baton Rouge."
Now, some 20 years later, Thompson remains a fixture in Baton Rouge. A father of three young boys, he uses his time in the booth to pass on his love of the game to his sons, a love that was founded all those years ago right here on the Coast.
"We've got some great memories up there in the (press box)," Thompson said. "I have a lot of fun. I love baseball, I love LSU obviously. My eight-year-old is in love with baseball because of this place. It's very special to me, it always has been, but even more so now that I get to share it with my own kids."
Thompson said his radio career may not be in the long-term plans, but in just three years at the mic, he's already gotten to call some pretty incredible moments. Thrown into play-by-play duty at the beginning of last season, the Biloxi native provided the soundtrack for Jared Poche's no-hitter against Army, only the sixth no-hitter in L-S-U baseball history.