NSU football legend creates Perpetually Purple scholarship

The Glenn & James R. “Bucky” Talbert Scholarship is the latest to be created supporting Northwestern State Athletics as part of the Perpetually Purple initiative of the Demons Unlimited Foundation. Director of athletics Greg Burke stands with Martha Kay Talbert Smiley, who was married to Bucky Talbert, and Glenn Talbert at NSU’s first home football game after the scholarship was announced.
The Glenn & James R. “Bucky” Talbert Scholarship is the latest to be created supporting Northwestern State Athletics as part of the Perpetually Purple initiative of the Demons Unlimited Foundation. Director of athletics Greg Burke stands with Martha Kay Talbert Smiley, who was married to Bucky Talbert, and Glenn Talbert at NSU’s first home football game after the scholarship was announced.

NATCHITOCHES – Supporting his beloved alma mater, and the Northwestern State athletic program, has been a passion of Glenn Talbert’s since he graduated in 1963.

So the creation of the Glenn & James R. “Bucky” Talbert Scholarship supporting NSU Athletics won’t raise any eyebrows among his friends, and anyone who knows of his devotion to NSU.

“Doing this has been on my bucket list for a while. Northwestern’s been good to me,” said Talbert, a longtime successful State Farm Insurance agent in Shreveport who is in the university’s Long Purple Line alumni Hall of Distinction, and the Demons’ Graduate N-Club Hall of Fame for his athletic accomplishments as a football player.

Talbert and his brother grew up in Moss Bluff, 10 miles north of Lake Charles, and were standouts at Gillis High School in an area now served by Sam Houston High School.

“Bucky came to Northwestern a year after I did, in 1960, and ran track. He was a good quarter-miler and ran on the mile relay team and in the open quarter,” said Talbert, who competed in football and track and field for the Demons.

“We were very close. He was 49 when he passed away, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. I wanted to include him, and I called Martha Kay (Smiley), who was his wife then. She contributed the same amount I did.”

The gift is the latest to NSU Athletics as part of the Perpetually Purple endowed giving program managed by the Demons Unlimited Foundation.

“Glenn is much appreciated for being the latest in a growing list of alumni, friends, and former athletes who are helping grow the Demons Unlimited Foundation scholarship endowment,” said NSU director of athletics Greg Burke. “He has been a generous supporter and had a steady presence at NSU athletic events and functions for years.

“His passion for his alma mater has always been evident, as well as the appreciation he has had for the impact his days as a student-athlete have had on him both from a personal and professional perspective.”

The goal of Burke and his staff is to grow the endowment, through outright donations or deferred gifts, over the next five years from the current $1.7 million level to over $5 million. So far, gifts have come from former athletes and their families, supporters of the university and most notably, iconic retired president Dr. Randy Webb and his wife, Brenda.

The program is separate from the efforts to supplement the annual budget for the athletics program with donations, corporate partnerships and special fund-raising events.

Talbert is on the Top 100 Demon Football Players of All-Time roster chosen in 2007 as part of the centennial celebration of the sport at NSU. From 1961-63, he was a three-year All-Gulf States Conference halfback who was a standout kick returner. He led the Demons in average yards per carry in his three seasons, helping Coach Jack Clayton’s team win the outright 1962 GSC championship.

He spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1964, and was enshrined in the N-Club Hall of Fame 21 years later.

“Coach Clayton gave me a scholarship even though he never saw me play a down (of high school football),” said Talbert. “He talked to coaches I played against, but he couldn’t watch film back then. There wasn’t any.

“He came down and had me do a standing broad jump. That’s how he evaluated players. I did a 12-6, and he sent Coach (Walter) Ledet and Coach Howell down to Gillis High School to sign me.”

“I thought the world of Coach Clayton,” said Talbert. “He was a wonderful fellow. All of our coaches were cut from the same cloth. Coach Howell, Coach Ledet, Coach (Cracker) Brown, Coach (Gene) Knecht, five of the greatest guys I’ve ever known, absolutely.”

Through the decades that he’s developed a successful insurance business, Talbert has taken an understated but valued role providing support to NSU. His impact was recognized with his enshrinement in the Long Purple Line last spring.

“I’ve tried to be involved, but stay in the background. I support our athletics,” he said. “(Head football) Coach (Jay) Thomas is doing a good job and is a good man. I believe all of our coaches, in all the sports, do a good job of not only coaching, but leading their young people in the right direction.”

A minimum of $10,000 is required to create an endowment fund. It can be established with an outright gift such as cash, a stock transfer or property sale, a life insurance policy, or can be included as a provision in a will or bequest. Arrangements can be made to fund an endowment over an extended period of time.

To inquire about the Perpetually Purple program, contact Burke (burkeg@nsula.edu, 318-357-5251), or assistant athletics director Haley Blount (blounth@nsula.edu, 318-357-4278). Information is also available on the NSUDemons.com website.