The Louisiana Sports Writers Association

The LSWA

LSWA colleague Karl Thibodeaux has died


Sad to report that our LSWA colleague Karl Thibodeaux has gone to the big press box in the sky. You'll know because his Harley will be parked right outside. 


Obituary for Karl Thibodeaux


Karl Joseph Thibodeaux, 58, of Bayou Blue, Louisiana passed away on Sunday September 24, 2017.

A memorial visitation will be held on Friday, September 29, 2017 from 5:00 PM until funeral time at Samart Funeral Home of Houma, West Park-Houma. A religious service will take place at 7:00 PM at the funeral home.

Karl was born October 20, 1958 in Houma Louisiana to Grace and Bennie Thibodeaux Sr. He graduated from Thibodaux High School in 1976, and Nicholls State University in 1981 with a degree in Journalism. Karl was employed for many years as a sports reporter and photographer, where he focused on bringing local high school athletes into the spotlight. He was one of the regions leading columnists, even winning the Louisiana Sports Writers Association writer of the year award in 1997.

Karl is survived by his 3 sons, Thad Nathan Thibodeaux and his wife Chelsea Thibodeaux, Tanner John Thibodeaux, and Tommy Austin Thibodeaux, his mother Grace Thibodeaux, his brothers Bennie Thibodeaux Jr., Kurt Thibodeaux, his sister Sharlene Duet, and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Bennie Thibodeaux Sr. in 2007.


Online condolences can be given at www.samartfuneralhome.com
Samart Funeral Home of Houma, West Park-Houma is in charge of arrangements.


Golf sold out, tickets still available for Friday night Tailgating Party and Saturday night Induction Ceremony. 

NATCHITOCHES – With the 2017 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration approaching June 22-24, the annual Hall of Fame Golf Classic has sold out, while reservations are still available for the Friday night Tailgating party and the Saturday night Induction Dinner and Ceremony.

Registration remains open for those events and for the Saturday morning New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans Junior Training Camp, which is free but does require a completed participation waiver form to be completed. Registration of boys and girls ages 6-16 is available online atLaSportsHall.com.

Admission for the Friday night Tailgating Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Style party inside The Landing Restaurant on Front Street in Natchitoches is $75. That includes an array of food and refreshments, entertainment and exclusive access to the 2017 Hall of Fame Induction Class.

The fee to attend the Saturday night Induction Dinner and Ceremony at the Natchitoches Events Center is also $75. It includes a pre-dinner reception starting at 5, with the ceremony kicking off at 6 and a lavish served dinner prior to the induction activities.

Reservations for those events can be made at LaSportsHall.com/purchase. They can also be made by calling operations assistant Ronnette Pellegrin at 318-332-8539.
Friday evening, the Hall of Fame Celebration also includes a free Block Party on the 500 block of Front Street outside the Landing Restaurant from 6-10, featuring two popular south Louisiana musical acts, Parish County Line and Chase Tyler Band. Along with the music, vendors will have food and drinks for sale, and there will be activities for children including Saints’ and Pelicans’ experiences.

A fireworks show over Cane River Lake downtown will take place shortly after dark, about 9:15, after the 2017 Induction Class is introduced on the stage outside The Landing.

LSU’s David Toms, whose 13 PGA Tour golf wins include a major championship, is joined by nine-time Pro Bowl football star Ed Reed, three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel, and World Series champ Juan Pierre headlining eight competitive ballot inductees chosen for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

LSU has a heavy impact in the Class of 2017. Two more Tiger heroes, football and track great Eddie Kennison and iconic gymnastics coach D-D Breaux, are included along with Raymond Didier, who has impressive LSU credentials coupled with coaching feats at Nicholls and UL Lafayette. Rounding out the class is Southeastern Louisiana basketball legend C.A. Core. Core and Didier will be inducted posthumously.

Sue Donohoe, a Pineville native and former Louisiana Tech graduate assistant basketball coach who remains one of the college game’s most accomplished administrators of all time, will receive the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award. Also honored with enshrinement will be New Orleans Saints radio play-by-play man Jim Henderson and Lafayette sports media giant Dan McDonald, chosen as the 2017 recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism.

The 2017 Induction Celebration will kick off Thursday, June 22 with the La Capitol Kickoff Reception, a free event at Maglieux’s Riverfront Restaurant. The sold-out Golf Classic is set Friday, June 23 at OakWing Golf Club in Alexandria.

The 2017 Induction Celebration weekend will be hosted by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the support organization for the Hall of Fame. The LSHOF Foundation was established as a 501 c 3 non-profit entity in 1975 and is governed by a statewide board of directors. For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Foundation President/CEO Ronnie Rantz at 225-802-6040 or [email protected] Standard and customized sponsorships are available.

NATCHITOCHES – With the 2017 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration approaching June 22-24, the annual Hall of Fame Golf Classic has sold out, while reservations are still available for the Friday night Tailgating party and the Saturday night Induction Dinner and Ceremony.

Registration remains open for those events and for the Saturday morning New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans Junior Training Camp, which is free but does require a completed participation waiver form to be completed. Registration of boys and girls ages 6-16 is available online atLaSportsHall.com.

Admission for the Friday night Tailgating Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Style party inside The Landing Restaurant on Front Street in Natchitoches is $75. That includes an array of food and refreshments, entertainment and exclusive access to the 2017 Hall of Fame Induction Class.

The fee to attend the Saturday night Induction Dinner and Ceremony at the Natchitoches Events Center is also $75. It includes a pre-dinner reception starting at 5, with the ceremony kicking off at 6 and a lavish served dinner prior to the induction activities.

Reservations for those events can be made at LaSportsHall.com/purchase. They can also be made by calling operations assistant Ronnette Pellegrin at 318-332-8539.
Friday evening, the Hall of Fame Celebration also includes a free Block Party on the 500 block of Front Street outside the Landing Restaurant from 6-10, featuring two popular south Louisiana musical acts, Parish County Line and Chase Tyler Band. Along with the music, vendors will have food and drinks for sale, and there will be activities for children including Saints’ and Pelicans’ experiences.

A fireworks show over Cane River Lake downtown will take place shortly after dark, about 9:15, after the 2017 Induction Class is introduced on the stage outside The Landing.

LSU’s David Toms, whose 13 PGA Tour golf wins include a major championship, is joined by nine-time Pro Bowl football star Ed Reed, three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel, and World Series champ Juan Pierre headlining eight competitive ballot inductees chosen for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

LSU has a heavy impact in the Class of 2017. Two more Tiger heroes, football and track great Eddie Kennison and iconic gymnastics coach D-D Breaux, are included along with Raymond Didier, who has impressive LSU credentials coupled with coaching feats at Nicholls and UL Lafayette. Rounding out the class is Southeastern Louisiana basketball legend C.A. Core. Core and Didier will be inducted posthumously.

Sue Donohoe, a Pineville native and former Louisiana Tech graduate assistant basketball coach who remains one of the college game’s most accomplished administrators of all time, will receive the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award. Also honored with enshrinement will be New Orleans Saints radio play-by-play man Jim Henderson and Lafayette sports media giant Dan McDonald, chosen as the 2017 recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism.

The 2017 Induction Celebration will kick off Thursday, June 22 with the La Capitol Kickoff Reception, a free event at Maglieux’s Riverfront Restaurant. The sold-out Golf Classic is set Friday, June 23 at OakWing Golf Club in Alexandria.

The 2017 Induction Celebration weekend will be hosted by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the support organization for the Hall of Fame. The LSHOF Foundation was established as a 501 c 3 non-profit entity in 1975 and is governed by a statewide board of directors. For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Foundation President/CEO Ronnie Rantz at 225-802-6040 or [email protected] Standard and customized sponsorships are available.


Reservations spiking for 2017 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration activities June 22-24

– contact Doug Ireland, 318-288-6388, [email protected]



NATCHITOCHES – Inside of two months before the June 22-24 festivities in the 2017 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration, the golf tournament is nearing a sellout and reservations are climbing for the Friday night Tailgating Louisiana Style party and the Induction Dinner and Ceremony on Saturday night.

LSU’s David Toms, whose 13 PGA Tour golf wins include a major championship, is joined by nine-time Pro Bowl football star Ed Reed, three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel, and World Series champ Juan Pierre headlining eight competitive ballot inductees chosen for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

LSU has a heavy impact in the Class of 2017. Two more Tiger heroes, football and track great Eddie Kennison and iconic gymnastics coach D-D Breaux, are included along with Raymond Didier, who has impressive LSU credentials coupled with coaching feats at Nicholls and UL Lafayette. Rounding out the class is Southeastern Louisiana basketball legend C.A. Core. Core and Didier will be inducted posthumously.

Sue Donohoe, a Pineville native and former Louisiana Tech graduate assistant basketball coach who remains one of the college game’s most accomplished administrators of all time, will receive the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award. Also honored with enshrinement will be New Orleans Saints radio play-by-play man Jim Henderson and Lafayette sports media giant Dan McDonald, chosen as the 2017 recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism.

The 2017 Induction Celebration will kick off Thursday, June 22 with the La Capitol Kickoff Reception. It includes the expanded Friday night Tailgating Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Style party, a significantly-enhanced Friday, June 23golf scramble at OakWing Golf Course in Alexandria and a Saturday morning free youth sports clinic hosted by the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans. Reservations for the Friday night party, the Saturday night Induction Dinner and Ceremonies, and golf entries, are on sale through the LaSportsHall.com website.

The 2017 Induction Celebration weekend will be hosted by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the support organization for the Hall of Fame.  The LSHOF Foundation was established as a 501 c 3 non-profit entity in 1975 and is governed by a statewide board of directors.  For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Foundation President/CEO Ronnie Rantz at 225-802-6040 or [email protected].  Standard and customized sponsorships are available.  

The 2017 Induction Class will be showcased in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum, operated by the Louisiana State Museum system in a partnership with the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The striking $23 million, two-story, 27,500-square foot structure faces Cane River Lake in the National Historic Landmark District of Natchitoches and has garnered worldwide architectural acclaim and rave reviews for its contents since its grand opening during the 2013 Hall of Fame induction weekend.

Adding to the 326 sports competitors currently enshrined, 16 previous winners of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership award and 58 prior recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, there are 400 members of the Hall of Fame prior to this summer’s ceremonies.

The 2017 Induction Celebration weekend will be hosted by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the support organization for the Hall of Fame.  The LSHOF Foundation was established as a 501 c 3 non-profit entity in 1975 and is governed by a statewide board of directors.  For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Foundation President/CEO Ronnie Rantz at 225-802-6040 or [email protected].  Standard and customized sponsorships are available.  



Hall of Famer R.L. Stockard has died.

BATON ROUGE – R.L. “Russell” Stockard, a trailblazing sportswriter and historian who was a 2008 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductee, passed Saturday morning at age 92 after battling cancer.

Stockard is believed to have been the first African-American to have a byline and a photo as a sportswriter for a mainstream major daily paper in the country, at the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat in 1953.

He broke the color line in Louisiana sportswriting circles when he joined the staff of the Baton Rouge State-Times in 1954, and was there until joining the New Orleans States-Item staff where his work appeared from 1960-74.

He was the first sports information director (1959-64) at Southern University in Baton Rouge, where he also taught classes as he did SID work for no additional pay. He became the first public relations director and SID for the Southwestern Athletic Conference, serving in those roles from 1985-92, and worked as the SWAC’s initial NCAA compliance officer from 1990-93.

In 1965, he was a key player in bringing about the first recorded integrated high school basketball game in state history, an event between New Orleans’ all-black St. Augustine High School and all-white Jesuit High, commemorated in the 1999 television movie “Passing Glory.”

He was one of five men, including Hall of Fame members coach Eddie Robinson and Grambling SID Collie J. Nicholson, who helped create the annual Bayou Classic football battle between in-state rivals Southern and Grambling held in New Orleans each year since 1974.

A World War II veteran in Europe, Stockard had master’s degrees from LSU, Tulane and Florida A&M, after earning his undergraduate degree in historical geography at Tennessee State in his hometown of Nashville. He went to work in the federal government in Washington, D.C., then taught for several years at Florida A&M before coming to teach at Southern.

“I’ve led a blessed life. I was always able to do what I wanted to do. You could write a script, and it still would never turn out this good,” he once said.

His wife, Mary Thomas Stockard, said he was very modest.

“A lot of people would call and want to talk about some of the things he had done, but he didn’t go around boasting. He just though so highly of all of the people he worked with,” she said.

“He really cherished his friendships. There were a lot of people who considered him a close friend and he felt that way about them.”

Along with receiving the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association and being enshrined in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2008, Stockard was enshrined in the Greater New Orleans/Allstate Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame in his adopted hometown of New Orleans. In 2009, he was recognized with a National Association of Black Journalists’ Sports Task Force Sam Lacy Pioneer Award.

“Russell Stockard has a complete knowledge of sports. He has dedicated his life to it. If I had to recommend anyone to speak about sports, it would be Russell,” said the late Buddy Dilberto, the iconic New Orleans broadcaster and writer who was the 2005 recipient of the LSWA’s Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism.

In 2005, then an adjunct professor of geography at Southern-New Orleans, Stockard was stranded in his Ninth Ward home for two days during Hurricane Katrina. At age 80, he walked more than two miles to the top of the I-10 high rise bridge, and was eventually evacuated from the Superdome.

The hurricane did not decimate his remarkable collection of sports memorabilia and historical information compiled during his more than 50 years of involvement in state sports. After Katrina, he moved his family back to Baton Rouge, where he passed after spending his final days in hospice care.

Stockard also wrote for the Baton Rouge News-Leader, Louisiana Weekly and the Black Collegian magazine.

Funeral service plans were not immediately available.



Dak Prescott is 2016 LSWA Headliner of the Year


By Roy Lang III

Written for the Louisiana Sports Writers Association


“Louisiana Pride.”

The first two words of Dak Prescott’s Twitter bio are simple, yet fitting for the Sulphur-born, Haughton-raised quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys.

“Home” is where Prescott developed the poise, competitiveness and skills used to become one of the greatest rookie stories in NFL history.

His career at Haughton was outstanding, the time at Mississippi State legendary – but Prescott’s rookie season with the Cowboys was simply amazing.

After longtime starter Tony Romo went down with a serious back injury two weeks before the start of the season, Prescott -- a fourth-round draft pick (eighth quarterback selected) – led Dallas to a 13-3 record (Cowboys were 4-12 in 2015) and the NFC’s No. 1 seed and set NFL rookie records in the process.

The unforeseen rookie breakthrough earned Prescott the 2016 Louisiana Sports Writers AssociationHeadliner of the Year honors. Members of the LSWA voted on the award, and Prescott nearly doubled the total (136-73) of the runner-up, new LSU football coach Ed Orgeron.

Prescott led the NFC with a 104.9 quarterback rating – an all-time NFL rookie record. He tossed 23 touchdowns, four interceptions and added six rushing scores. He was selected to the Pro Bowl and started for the NFC in Orlando, Florida, on Jan. 29.

“Unbelievable to think just a few years ago he was playing for the Bucs,” Rodney Guin, Prescott’s head coach at Haughton, said. “I’m just happy to see a guy that was sold short so many times make it to the top.’’

Louisiana is where Prescott’s relentlessness was instilled by a mother, Peggy, who did everything she could for her three sons. It’s where a toughness and a will to win was emblazoned by efforts to be just like those two monstrous older brothers, Jace and Tad. Prescott’s love for “ball,” and a taste of stardom were born here, too.

“Nobody can teach that,” he said. “Life just hits you. You learn to take that and move on,” said Prescott, whose mother lost a battle with cancer while he was at Mississippi State. He wears No. 4 for the Cowboys to honor her birthday.

The 6-foot-2, 226-pound Prescott was selected with the 135th overall pick in April and immediately battled Jameill Showers for the Cowboys’ third-string quarterback position and a spot on the team.

Strong preseason camps solidified Prescott position on the roster, and an injury to Kellen Moore, Romo’s backup, pushed the 23-year-old to No. 2. When Romo was injured in the penultimate preseason game, Cowboys Nation was left with one option.

Prescott remained unfazed.

“I liked him from the day he got here,” Cowboys veteran tight end Jason Witten said. “We’ve had a good relationship. The best thing he’s done is how he’s handled every situation within the communication side of it -- to be able to make all the calls and checks at the line. For him to be able to handle those situations with confidence and conviction – you gain the respect of the locker room. That’s earned. Nobody can give you that regardless of what your talent level is.”

Dallas owner Jerry Jones has never been shy about his affection and respect for Romo, but even he couldn’t help jumping aboard the Prescott bandwagon.

“Amazing you can get that kind of confidence,” Jerry Jones said. “Among the coaching staff and teammates, there was a groundswell of confidence in him. He just sold everybody. Frankly, there was an inordinate feeling of confidence going into the first game that shouldn’t have been there.”

Prescott never fell victim to a learning curve. He set an NFL record for most pass attempts (176) without an interception to begin a career. The mark was previously held by Tom Brady.

After a season-opening loss to the New York Giants, Prescott and Co. rattled off 11 straight victories and 13 wins in 14 games.

Prescott, who matched Ben Roethlisberger’s NFL record for 13 wins as a rookie quarterback, posted the best completion percentage (67.8), touchdown-interception ratio, and passer rating by any rookie in NFL history.

“He’s a true professional,” said Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne, a former Fair Park star who had memorable battles with Prescott in high school. “He’s not pretending to be anybody, he just came in and has been himself since the day he walked in. He’s a good kid. I take my hat off to him.”


2016 HEADLINER OF THE YEAR VOTING

(First-place votes in parentheses)

1, Dak Prescott (15)         136

2, Ed Orgeron (8)              73

3, LSU Gymnastics Team (2)        38

4, Les Miles (3)  37

5, Grambling Football (2)              36

6, Anthony Davis (1)       23

tie, Drew Brees 23

8, Ben Simmons                16

9, Lexie Elkins (1)              15

10, Glenn Cecchini           8

Also receiving votes: LSU Softball Team 6, Louisiana Tech Football Team 5, Michael Thomas (1) 5, Xavier Men’s Tennis Team 4, Louisiana Tech Baseball Team 2, Leonard Fournette 1, Jarrius Robertson 1.


PREVIOUS WINNERS

2015 – Leonard Fournette

2014 – Odell Beckham Jr.

2013 – Peyton Manning

2012 – Tom Benson

2011 – Drew Brees

2010 – New Orleans Saints

2009 – Drew Brees

2008 – Chris Paul

2007 – LSU football team

2006 – New Orleans Saints

2005 – New Orleans Saints

2004 – Nick Saban

2003 – LSU football team

2002 – New Orleans Hornets

2001 – David Toms

2000 – Jim Haslett, Randy Mueller

1999 – Peyton Manning


Sue Donohoe to receive 2017 Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award

NATCHITOCHES – Sue Donahoe, a Pineville native and former Louisiana Tech graduate assistant basketball coach who remains one of the college game’s most accomplished administrators of all time, has been named the 2017 recipient of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award presented by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

Dohonoe, currently past president of the board of directors for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn., served as the NCAA’s vice president for women’s basketball for 12 years, and also directed the men’s basketball NCAA Division I championship. She was on the coaching staff for the Lady Techsters’ 1982 NCAA championship team.

The Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award is presented annually by the LSWA’s 35-member Hall of Fame selection committee to an individual who has played a decisive role as a sports leader or administrator benefiting Louisiana and/or bringing credit to Louisiana on the national and international level.

Donohoe is the first woman to receive the award since its inception in 2005. Dixon Award winners are enshrined as Hall of Fame members and are featured in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum in Natchitoches.

The award is named in honor of Hall of Famer Dave Dixon, the driving force behind bringing the NFL to Louisiana with the creation of the New Orleans Saints franchise. Dixon, who passed away in 2010, is also considered the “father” of the Mercedes-Benz Louisiana Superdome, developing the concept for the innovative domed structure and pushing state officials for its construction in the late 1960s.

Donohoe will be among the 11-person 2017 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class to be spotlighted in the annual Induction Dinner and Ceremonies on Saturdayevening, June 24, at the Natchitoches Events Center. The Induction Dinner and Ceremonies are the culmination of the 2017 Induction Celebration beginning Thursdayafternoon, June 22, with a press conference and the La Capitol Kickoff Reception.


LSU’s David Toms, whose 13 PGA Tour golf wins include a major championship, is joined by nine-time Pro Bowl football star Ed Reed, three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel, and World Series champ Juan Pierre headlining eight 2016 competitive ballot inductees chosen for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.


LSU has a heavy impact in the Class of 2017. Two more Tiger heroes, football and track great Eddie Kennison and iconic gymnastics coach D-D Breaux, are included along with Raymond Didier, who has impressive LSU credentials coupled with coaching feats at Nicholls and UL Lafayette.  Rounding out the class is Southeastern Louisiana basketball legend C.A. Core.  Core and Didier will be inducted posthumously.


Also honored with enshrinement will be New Orleans Saints radio play-by-play man Jim Henderson and Lafayette sports media giant Dan McDonald, chosen as the 2017 recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism.


The 2017 Induction Class will be showcased in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum, operated by the Louisiana State Museum system in a partnership with the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The striking $23 million, two-story, 27,500-square foot structure faces Cane River Lake in the National Historic Landmark District of Natchitoches and has garnered worldwide architectural acclaim and rave reviews for its contents since its grand opening during the 2013 Hall of Fame induction weekend.


Donohoe’s Dixon Award honor was jointly announced Wednesday by Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland and LSWA president Paul Letlow.


At the 2015 Women’s Final Four, she was the inaugural recipient of the U.S. Basketball Writers’ Mary Joe Haverbeck Award for commitment and service to women’s college basketball. She joined the NCAA in 1999 after serving as associate commissioner of the Southland Conference. In 2009, she was chosen to chair USA Basketball’s junior national committee.


Donohoe was named by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the “Top 10 Most Powerful People in College Sports.”

In 2008, she spearheaded an effort to help people better understand the NCAA selection process through a mock selection weekend involving media, administrators and former coaches.


She stepped down from her leadership position at the NCAA in December 2011 and a month later became executive director of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, serving in that capacity through 2015. She has served as vice president and president of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors and continues to serve as past president.


She was part of the Lady Techsters’ 1982 NCAA championship coaching staff alongside co-head coaches Leon Barmore and Sonja Hogg, both members of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Also on that staff was another giant of the game, Texas A&M coach Gary Blair, who hired Donahoe to coach on his staffs at Stephen F. Austin and Arkansas before she launched her administrative career and joined the Southland Conference office.


Sixteen people have previously been presented the Dixon Award since its inception in 2005. Last year’s winner was world-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Julian Bailes, a Natchitoches native and LSU graduate has become a leading figure in the field of sports-related concussion research and treatment.

The first winner in 2005 was Randy Gregson, a New Orleans native/resident and former president of the United States Tennis Association. In 2006 the winner was Emmanuel “Boozy” Bourgeois, president of Louisiana Special Olympics since 1972.

The 2007 recipients were Don Landry, a longtime collegiate administrator and basketball coach, and Doug Thornton, the executive director of the Superdome.

In 2008, the Dixon Award went to world-renowned orthopedic Dr. James Andrews, a Homer native, LSU graduate and SEC champion pole vaulter.

The 2009 recipients were George Dement, a Bossier City boxing and youth sports activist; and “Mr. Softball” Benny Turcan, a New Orleans native and long-time state ASA softball commissioner.

In 2010 the Dixon Award winner was Gerald Boudreaux, the longtime City of Lafayette recreation director best known as one of the country’s top college basketball referees in the last three decades.

A year later, the committee honored Elmo Adolph, an Olympic and professional boxing official, and Billy Montgomery, who as a highly-regarded state legislator championed sports causes including construction of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame museum.

In 2012, the Dixon Award went to Marksville physician Dr. L.J. Mayeux, the former national president and chairman of the board for Ducks Unlimited renowned for his efforts to restore duck habitat across the nation.

The 2013 recipient was New Orleans businessman and sports benefactor Milt Retif, whose influence has been especially significant for American Legion baseball and Tulane baseball in his hometown.

In 2014 there were two recipients: Tynes Hildebrand, a coach and later athletics director at Northwestern State who served a decade as one of the NCAA’s top basketball officiating administrators, and Wright Waters, the longtime Sun Belt Conference commissioner.

Paul Hoolahan, the executive director and chief executive officer of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic since 1996, was presented the 2015 Dixon Award.

The 2017 Induction Celebration will kick off Thursday, June 22 with the press conference and reception. It includes three receptions, a youth sports clinic, and a Friday, June 23golf scramble at Oak Wing Golf Course in Alexandria. Tickets for the Induction Dinner and Ceremonies, and golf entries, are on sale through the LaSportsHall.com website.


Adding to the 326 sports competitors currently enshrined, 16 previous winners of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership award and 58 prior recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, there are 400 members of the Hall of Fame prior to this summer’s ceremonies.


The 2017 Induction Celebration weekend will be hosted by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the support organization for the Hall of Fame.  The LSHOF Foundation was established as a 501 c 3 non-profit entity in 1975 and is governed by a statewide board of directors.  For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Foundation President/CEO Ronnie Rantz at 225-802-6040 or [email protected].  Standard and customized sponsorships are available.



LSWA names Jim Henderson, Dan McDonald as 2017 Distinguished Service Award recipients


NATCHITOCHES –  Incomparable New Orleans Saints play-by-play announcer and award-winning New Orleans television figure Jim Henderson joins Dan McDonald, whose multi-faceted career has won him national acclaim as a writer and sports publicist, as 2017 recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

The honor, to be made official June 24 in Natchitoches, means Henderson and McDonald will join the elite 11-person Class of 2017 being inducted in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Henderson and McDonald were selected from a 19-person pool of outstanding nominees for the state’s top sports journalism honor.

The Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism is the most prestigious honor offered to sports media in the state. Recipients are chosen by the 35-member Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame selection committee based on nominees’ professional accomplishments in local, state, regional and even national arenas, with leadership in the LSWA a contributing factor and three decades of work in the profession as a requirement.  

Distinguished Service Award winners are enshrined in the Hall of Fame along with the 400 current athletes, sports journalists, coaches and administrators chosen since 1959. Just 58 leading figures in the state’s sports media have been honored with the Distinguished Service Award since its inception almost 35 years ago, in 1982.

Henderson, who has been the Saints’ distinctive radio play-by-play voice since 1986, is a 13-time winner of Louisiana's sportscaster of the year honor as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

After earning enshrinement in 2011 to the College Sports Information Directors of America’s Hall of Fame for his innovative work at his alma mater, Northwestern State, and UL Lafayette from 1975-99, McDonald has also received national and LSWA honors as a sports writer, and is one of the Acadiana area’s busiest sports broadcasting figures.

Henderson and McDonald will be among the 2017 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class to be spotlighted in the annual Induction Dinner and Ceremonies on Saturday evening, June 24, at the Natchitoches Events Center. The Induction Dinner and Ceremonies are the culmination of the 2017 Induction Celebration beginning Thursday afternoon, June 22, with a press conference at the Hall of Fame museum at 800 Front Street in Natchitoches.

LSU’s David Toms, whose 13 PGA Tour golf wins include a major championship, is joined by nine-time Pro Bowl football star Ed Reed, three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel, and World Series champ Juan Pierre headlining eight 2016 competitive ballot inductees chosen for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

LSU has heavy impact in the Class of 2017. Two more Tiger heroes, football and track great Eddie Kennison and iconic gymnastics coach D-D Breaux, are included along with Raymond Didier, who has impressive LSU credentials coupled with coaching feats at Nicholls and UL Lafayette.  Rounding out the class is Southeastern Louisiana basketball legend C.A. Core.  Core and Didier will be inducted posthumously.

Also honored with enshrinement in the Class of 2017 will be the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award winner, to be announced next week.

The 2017 Induction Class will be showcased in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum, operated by the Louisiana State Museum system in a partnership with the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The striking $23 million, two-story, 27,500-square foot structure faces Cane River Lake in the National Historic Landmark District of Natchitoches and has garnered worldwide architectural acclaim and rave reviews for its contents since its grand opening during the 2013 Hall of Fame induction weekend.

The selection of Henderson and McDonald was jointly announced Friday by Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland and LSWA president Paul Letlow.

Henderson, who spent 34 years (1978-2012) as sports director of WWL-TV in New Orleans, has been the radio play-by-play voice of the New Orleans Saints since 1986 (except for the 1990 season, when he called NFL games for CBS-TV).

Henderson replaced New Orleans legend and 1990 DSA winner Lloyd "Hap" Glaudi as WWL's sports director, and helped the station produce one of the highest-rated local news broadcasts in America.  As a reporter for CBS Newspath, Henderson regularly covered major events like the Super Bowl, the Masters and the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

His play-by-play career has allowed Henderson to be the soundtrack for memorable moments in Saints history, including their first playoff victory in 2000 ("Hakim dropped the ball!"), the NFC Championship Game win in January 2010 ("Pigs have flown! Hell has frozen over! The Saints are on their way to the Super Bowl!") and, two weeks later, the Saints' victory in Super Bowl XLIV ("Get ready to party with the Lombardi, New Orleans!"). After retiring from WWL in January 2012, he has remained in his play-by-play role with the Saints. His TV "retirement" did not last long. Six months later, he returned to the airwaves to provide commentary and analysis on the Saints for WVUE-TV.

In a career dating to 1974, McDonald continues to pile up LSWA writing awards and remains involved in sports media relations in the private sector. He stands alongside state sports information legends Louis Bonnette, Paul Manasseh and Ace Higgins as inductees in the College Sports Information Directors of America’s Hall of Fame (June 2011).

In 26 years as an SID at Northwestern State (1975-80) and Louisiana-Lafayette (1980-99), McDonald became an industry leader in many aspects.Among those who benefited first hand from McDonald's guidance include former assistants Herb Vincent, the associate commissioner of the Southeastern Conference; Greg Sharko, the media relations director for the Association of Tennis Professionals; and Pat Murphy, the head softball coach at the University of Alabama, who came to work as a graduate assistant SID for McDonald in Lafayette.

After graduating in three years from Northwestern, the Jonesboro native spent one year as a sportswriter at the Alexandria Town Talk before Northwestern hired him - at 22 years old - to be the SID of what was about to become a Division I athletics department. In 1980, he moved to UL-Lafayette. McDonald won numerous CoSIDA awards for writing and media guides at both institutions, including national honors at NSU, and served two years on the CoSIDA Board of Directors.

He was a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee media relations staff for two Olympic Games (Seoul, 1988 and Atlanta, 1996) and six U.S. Olympic Festivals. He also served two years as president, after a two-year term as vice president, of the LSWA and remains a key member of the LSWA Executive Committee and Hall of Fame Committee.

McDonald retired from then-USL to become senior sports writer at the Lafayette Daily Advertiser and spent nine years in that role. Now a freelance journalist, he has won dozens of writing awards from the LSWA, including three 'Writer of the Year' awards in a five-year span, and was the 1999 recipient of the LSWA’s coveted Mac Russo Award recognizing members who remarkably represent the ideals of the organization. At the Advertiser, he captured a “Best of Gannett” national award for his coverage of the Little League World Series.

McDonald has also done extensive broadcast and television work, including currently anchoring annual webcasts of Sun Belt Conference baseball, softball and golf tournaments. He and his wife of 28 years, Mary Beth McDonald, operate the Lafayette-based McD Media marketing/public relations firm with an emphasis on sports PR.

The 2017 Induction Celebration will kick off Thursday, June 22 with the press conference and an evening reception. It includes three receptions, a youth sports clinic, and a Friday, June 23 golf scramble at Oak Wing Golf Course in Alexandria. Tickets for the Induction Dinner and Ceremonies, and golf entries, will be on sale this spring through the LaSportsHall.com website.

Adding the 326 sports competitors currently enshrined, 16 previous winners of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership award and 58 prior recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, there are 400 members of the Hall of Fame prior to this summer’s ceremonies.

The 2017 Induction Celebration weekend will be hosted by the LSWA and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the support organization for the Hall of Fame.  The LSHOF Foundation was established as a 501 c 3 non-profit entity in 1975 and is governed by a statewide board of directors.  For information on participation and sponsorship opportunities, contact Foundation President/CEO Ronnie Rantz at 225-802-6040 or[email protected].  Standard and customized sponsorships are available.  


Ronnie Rantz named new chief executive officer and president of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation


NATCHITOCHES – Ronnie Rantz, a former LSU baseball pitcher and longtime sports broadcaster who has nearly two decades of extensive business development experience around the state, has been named the new chief executive officer and president of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation.

Rantz, a left-handed pitcher on LSU’s 1991 and 1993 national championship baseball teams, officially took over Thursday as the Foundation’s CEO/President. He succeeds Lisa Babin, who served in the position from 2010 until last month.

After a search process taking just over a month, Rantz emerged as the candidate recommended from over three dozen applicants for the position. His hiring was approved during a Foundation board of directors meeting Wednesday evening in Lafayette, said board chair Brian Cheramie.

“We were ecstatic at the high caliber of the candidates who pursued our position, and could not be more pleased to complete the search by hiring Ronnie,” said Cheramie, a businessman from Cut Off. “The Foundation board and I are very excited about moving forward with Ronnie Rantz leading our efforts on behalf of the Hall of Fame.”

The Hall of Fame Foundation is the business arm of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, created in 1958 by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. Along with providing financial support, marketing and management for the Hall of Fame Induction Celebration staged annually in late June, the Foundation exists to support and promote the three-year-old Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum in Natchitoches.

“Ronnie’s long track record of successful marketing and promoting endeavors, on various platforms, translates perfectly to this position,” said Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland of Natchitoches.  “He has extensive experience working in Louisiana’s business community, brokering mutually beneficial partnerships and also assisting with charitable and community causes. He’s successfully created and managed budgets and personnel and collaborated with volunteers and outside work forces.

“He is deeply passionate and knowledgeable about sports in Louisiana, and due to his career as an athlete and broadcaster, he has a high profile around our state that will serve us well,” said Ireland. “He is hitting the ground running.”

An Alexandria native and standout athlete at Holy Savior Menard High School in the late 1980s, Rantz made the 1992 All-Southeastern Conference Tournament team. After coach Skip Bertman’s Tigers won the 1993 College World Series, Rantz pitched professionally in the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers minor league organizations.

After an arm injury curtailed his playing career, Rantz moved into broadcasting as a sports radio personality in Baton Rouge. He is perhaps best known statewide and beyond for his role, beginning in 1998, as producer and color analyst for Jumbo Sports Network television broadcasts of LSU baseball.

Rantz has served as a color analyst for football, basketball and baseball telecasts for several regional networks covering games involving teams from the Southeastern Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, the Southland Conference, the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and high school contests. He was producer and host from 1999-2004 for PREP TV!, a 30-minute regular magazine-style show focusing on state prep sports.

The Denham Springs resident has extensive experience in event management, including spending over a year in 2001-02 as general manager of the Lafayette Roughnecks Af2 arena league professional football team. He has been engaged in marketing and fundraising activities related to high school and college sports, and the health care industry, along with an association with L’Auberge Baton Rouge Casino.

Among his charitable activities are working with fundraising events, such as golf tournaments, to support the National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana, and the Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation. Rantz has generated over $5 million in sports marketing sponsorships in the past 20 years.

The Hall of Fame Foundation’s new CEO/President can be reached via e-mail at [email protected], and by cell phone at 225-802-6040.

The Foundation will continue to maintain its headquarters in Natchitoches, home of the Hall of Fame since 1971, with the Foundation office at 500 Front Street, two blocks away from the 27,500-square foot, $23 million state-operated museum at 800 Front Street.



Peter Finney, the sports 'journalistic voice' of New Orleans, dies at 88, funeral Aug. 20


Published: Saturday, August 13, 2016

By: Ted Lewis


Peter Finney, a New Orleans sportswriting institution for almost seven decades, died Saturday at his home in the same city in which he was born. He was 88.

Finney began his career with the New Orleans States in the summer of 1945, covering American Legion baseball shortly after graduating from Jesuit High School.

His final column -- on Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos’ loss to Seattle in Super Bowl XLVIII -- appeared in The Times-Picayune on Feb. 3, 2014, just shy of a year following the death of his wife of 61 years, Deedy, whom Finney called “my best friend.”

Declining health may have ended Finney’s active career, but, according to his oldest son, Peter Jr., almost until the end he would insist that he was supposed to be out covering an event.

“My dad was in the business with essentially the same company and doing the same job for 68 years,” Peter Jr. said. “But it never got boring to him. I think that’s why even though his memory was fading, his mind kept telling him it was time to get up and go. Dad always felt like he needed to be the provider.”

What Finney provided to his readers was a sustained level of excellence at his craft, marked by clarity, simplicity and first and foremost asking the questions he felt the public wanted – and needed – to know.

“It was the Finney style,” said Angus Lind, a newspaper colleague from 1970 to 2009. “Peter had this way of asking questions that was unique and then putting his own God-given spin on things, even if he was the worst typist I ever knew.

“Peter was always great reading – so insightful. New Orleans was blessed to have the quality of Peter’s work for so long. I just loved the guy.”

Archie Manning, whose exploits first at Ole Miss and then with the Saints Finney chronicled before later writing about his sons, called Finney “a pretty special person.”

Manning recalled the instant rapport he felt with Finney when the writer showed up in Oxford, Mississippi, shortly after the Saints had chosen Manning in the 1971 draft.

“I had talked to a lot of writers when I was in college, but you always remembered Pete because of the accent and the line of questions,” Manning said. “We always had a great friendship.

“He was fair and patient. And you always knew you could trust him. I thought so much of him.”

Peter Paul Finney was born Oct. 17, 1927, in New Orleans and lived there his entire life with the exception of his time in the Louisiana Air National Guard in the early 1950s.

Between his graduation from Jesuit, where he was editor of the Blue Jay, and his freshman year at Loyola, he embarked on his sportswriting career with the New Orleans States.

The States became The States-Item in 1958 and in 1980 was merged with The Times-Picayune.


2016 LSWA Convention/Hall of Fame Weekend Schedule



Convention Schedule

THURSDAY, JUNE 23

2:45 p.m. – 2016 Inductee Press Conference – Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum

                Approximately 5 p.m. – La Capitol Federal Credit Union Welcome Reception -- Natchitoches welcomes inductees and their families with a lively evening featuring local cuisine and entertainment. No charge/open to public. Location - Maglieaux’s On The Cane which is directly across the street from the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum at 800 Front Street.

7 p.m. – Hospitality Room Opens at Comfort Suites for LSWA members.

                (As an added bonus event this year – members will enjoy watching Kent Lowe sweat out the opening minutes of the 2016 NBA Draft.).


FRIDAY, JUNE 24

11 a.m. -- Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Golf Tournament presented by Cleco. Noon introductions and tee time. Each team will be paired with a celebrity golf captain. Registration closes on Tuesday, June 21 or when the tournament sells out. (LSWA Members interested in playing should contact Doug Ireland on this event and will take care of your payment at the Golf Course on tournament day.)

10 a.m. – Hotel Hospitality Room Opens. Will be open on and off throughout the day.

7-10 p.m. -- “Tailgating Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Style” … This is a fun, casual evening with current and past year inductees featuring multiple tailgate food stations, specialty cocktails and beer, highlights of current and past inductees, a silent auction, and musical entertainment. Get ready to shake your tailgate! Historic Landing Restaurant/Natchitoches. Fireworks start at9:45 p.m. - at south end of Church Street Bridge near the Landing Restaurant.

                

SATURDAY, JUNE 25

10 a.m. – Annual “SO LSWA MEMBERS CAN SAY THEY COVERED SOMETHING WHILE HERE” – Natchitoches Championship Sat. - Jr. Training Camps … NSU Wellness & Recreational Complex @ 322 Sam Sibley Drive … This youth event for ages 6-16 will provide insight on how to be a champion on and off the field as inductees share their personal stories of what is required to be a success in all aspects of life. The New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Jr. Training Camps will both be available along with personal interaction with current and past year inductees. The New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Jr. Training Camps will provide the opportunity to participate in the same drills used in NFL & NBA training camps. 

Sponsored by – Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

11 a.m. – LSWA Lunch/Business Meeting – Lasyone’s, 622 2nd St … “Darn Right I’m Getting My Meat Pies before I battle the LSWA constitution” … The final hours of the Brent St. Germain presidency will hang in the balance at this meeting. All convention types are invited then spouses can be sent with the credit card shopping and hopefully the meeting won’t last long enough to bend the credit card … 


5 p.m. – The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies – Natchitoches Events Center … 750 2nd St … Reception/Silent Auction. Attire: Business. Coat and tie for the gentlemen and dress for women is appropriate.

6 p.m. – Induction Dinner and Ceremony which begins with National Anthem, followed by Walk of Legends, dinner and presentation of inductees. 

HOSPITALITY ROOM at the Comfort Suites will be open during the day and after the Hall of Fame event.


SUNDAY, JUNE 26

11 a.m. – LSWA Awards Brunch – The Landing 530 First Street (upstairs)

                The awards in sports writing for 2015 in the state and the sports information awards for 2015-16 are presented following one of the best brunch’s any state sports writing group partakes before the awards are handed out ...  Brent St. Germain will say his final words as President (or discuss his recent cruise) and Paul Letlow (yes, that Paul Letlow) receives the ceremonial gavel or hammer if we can’t find the gavel and I’m sure we will have some inspirational moments from him … 





Obituary for Jerry Barksdale Byrd Sr.

Born: October 04, 1935
Died: April 21, 2016


Jerry Barksdale Byrd Sr. passed away on Tuesday, April 21st after a brief illness at the age of 80 years old. Funeral Services will be held Monday, April 25th at 1 p.m. at Osborn Funeral Home in Shreveport. Interment will be held at Sharon Baptist Cemetery in Union Parish at 3:30 p.m. A visitation will be held at Osborn on Sunday, April 24th from 5-7 p.m.

Jerry was born on October 4th, 1935. He was the second of Frank Carl and Annie Laura Byrd’s four sons.

He was born to write. His work first appeared in the Shreveport Journal on December 22nd, 1948 when the first of his weekly scouting reports detailed Troup 29’s activities. As he would recall later, it was “love at first byline.” The troop’s 13 year old scribe would go on to become the first boy scout in the Norwella Council to win the the Quill Scroll Award given to scouts who publish over 20,000 words. It would be the first of many awards as Jerry would go on to become one of the most decorated sports journalists in Louisiana history.

While in junior high school he was a left tackle on Coach Frank Pernici’s 7th grade Hamilton Terrace Terrors. The team went unbeaten, untied, and unscored on. Despite the team’s success, Jerry realized after his freshmen year at Byrd High School and sophomore year at Bossier High School that he belonged in the press box and not the field. He transferred to Fair Park High School his junior year to take advantage of a program that helped him with his speech. He found his niche on the school’s newspaper, the Pow Wow, becoming sports editor his senior year before graduating in May of 1953.

He attended Northwestern State College and majored in journalism. It was here that he met many life long friends, many of whom he crossed paths with as a manager on the Demon basketball team. It was here where he would experience his greatest athletic accomplishment winning an intramural cross country race. He continued to shine with his journalism endeavors becoming the sports editor and then elected as editor of the school’s newspaper, the Current Sauce, during his senior year. He graduated on May 28, 1957 and started work at 6 a.m. the following morning at the Shreveport Journal.

It was an underwhelming beginning. The first two days consisted of reading the Associated Press Style book. The third day on the job he had his first article - “Entries Pouring In for Junior Olympics.” About 10 years later, despite the racially charged culture that existed at the time, it was Jerry who took a picture of Valencia High School’s Lavert Howard and put it the sports section without asking. He would later write that he did it because it was “the right thing to do.”

In 1970 Jerry would become Sports Editor of the paper and would remain in that capacity until the Journal ceased publication in 1991. The most famous accomplishment was having a column in every weekday edition for over six years. “The streak” ended at 2,131 - one more than Lou Gehrig’s record of 2,130 consecutive games as a New York Yankee - due to a faulty gall bladder.

After his time at Journal he would serve as the sports editor of the Minden Press Herald for one year before moving to the Bossier Press Tribune, where he would serve in that capacity from 1993-2012. He continued to write columns for one more year.

In 1992 he became the first person to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Louisiana Track & Field Coaches Association. He is the only sportswriter to be selected “Mr. Basketball” by the Louisiana Basketball Coaches Association. In 1996 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Louisiana Sportswriters Association. In 2001 he became only the second sportswriter to be inducted in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame. In 2005 he received the Contribution to Amateur Football award from the S.M. McNaughton Chapter of the National Football Foundation.In 2006 he received the Nth Degree from Northwestern State University for lifetime achievement. In 2012 he was inducted into the Ark-La-Tex Sports Museum of Champions.

When he wasn’t writing columns or accepting awards he was coaching hundreds of youth swimmers as a coach for the City of Shreveport Swim Team, or motivating future Olympic athletes by buying them icees as the founder and coach of the Shreveport Track Club. He was also organizing events like the High Five Track & Field Series or the Meet of Champions.

Husband. Brother. Father. Sportswriter. Legend. Icon. It became difficult for great writers to find words adequate enough to encapsulate his legacy. Jerry would often write about other athletes, coaches, or people that they may not be in a class by themselves, but it doesn’t take long to call the roll. While that may be appropriate in this case, his family, friends, colleagues agreed with the opinion that was plastered on Shreveport Journal delivery trucks. Jerry Byrd ...Nobody does it better.

Most are blessed if they find one true love in this life. Jerry found two. He married the former Patricia “Pat” Ann Hood on June 12, 1965. The couple had two children - Tricia and Jerry Jr. Pat passed away on November 22nd, 2001. Jerry met Barbara Copeland in June of 2003 and the couple were married two months later.

Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, Frank Carl Byrd and Annie Laura Byrd, and his first wife Patricia Ann Hood.

He is survived by his wife Barbara, son Jerry Jr. and his wife Amanda, daughter Tricia Hagan, brothers Ronald James Byrd and wife Donna, John Alan Byrd and wife Delaine, and Thomas Everett Byrd and wife Kay, grandchildren Logan Ward, Dakota Ward, Jordan Ward, Caleb Stacey, Caitlin Byrd, Emily Bailey, and Katy Bailey, as well as numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Honoring Jerry as pallbearers will be his grandsons as well as Kevin Cavalier and Hunter Cavalier. Honorary pallbearers are all of the journalists that worked with Jerry over his 50 years in print journalism as well as the great number of coaches and athletes that he was blessed to cover.

The family would like to thank Montclair Shreveport for the loving care they provided Jerry for the past eight months of his life.

The family suggests that memorials be made to the NSU Foundation, 535 University Pwy., Natchitoches, LA 71497 attention: Jerry Byrd Communications Department.

SERVICES
Visitation

Sunday, April 24, 2016
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Osborn Funeral Home
3631 Southern Avenue
Shreveport, Louisiana 71104

Funeral Service

Monday, April 25, 2016
1:00 PM

Osborn Funeral Home
3631 Southern Avenue
Shreveport, Louisiana 71104

Farewell to our friend, Marty Mule

Ted Lewis got edited -- by a priest, no less. So he has asked that his original eulogy to his friend Marty be posted here in its entirety. It is beautifully written and, no doubt, would have been beautifully delivered. And Sheldon would have timed it for us.



I’ve never done this before – so bear with me.
A few years ago, Marty and I were both honored to receive the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame’s Distinguished Service Award. And as you might have expected, we wound up as each other’s presenter.
Around that time we got to talking about which Elvis songs we wanted to be played at our funerals which led to how we would speak for each other at them.
I don’t think we were actually serious about it, but sadly, that day has arrived for one of. And no matter how much you may have thought about it, there’s really not much you can do to prepare yourself for it, especially when you didn’t see it coming.
We all have losses in our lives. You certainly hope that most of them come when your loved one’s time has come.
That didn’t happen here. This has hit all of us hard.
But Marty wouldn’t want a lot of grieving today.
Obviously nobody likes going to funerals. But this is what Marty would have called “a gathering of eagles” -people in our profession and those we’ve covered over the years.
As we get older we find ourselves in far too many of them. But they are occasions to reconnect while mourning our losses.
One in particular that stands out was Paul Dietzel’s a few years ago. Marty and I were working on a package of stories about the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination and its effect on local sports.
Coach Dietzel was the coach at Army in 1963 and in what turned out to be his last interview – he told Marty about how the Army-Navy game which was to have been played the following weekend, was originally cancelled but then, at the request of Jacqueline Kennedy, was played a week later.
Along with Coach Dietzel, Marty talked to Rollie Stichweh, the Army quarterback from that team and Tom Lynch, the Navy captain who later became commandant of the academy. They both attended the funeral and Marty was as excited to meet him as a kid meeting Drew Brees.
But those were the kinds of stories Marty loved doing most. Ones that added to preserving and expanding the historical record.
His last big story will be a history of sports in New Orleans for New Orleans’ Magazine’s tricentennial issue which will be published next year. True to himself, Marty finished it several months before it was due. We are all grateful for that.
But for Marty, it went beyond writing.
And as the most respected member of both selection committees of both the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame he was responsible for the election of many people who would have been otherwise overlooked.
The late Red Sanders is going into the state hall of fame this year solely because Marty championed his cause.
That’s not to say that Marty didn’t also love being in the moment as a newspaperman. You don’t spend more than 30 years in the business without having your juices flowing in pursuit of a story or covering a big game which Marty did plenty of along with being a first-rate columnist who was three times was named Louisiana Sports Writer of the Year.
Who wouldn’t have loved to have been embedded with Dick Vitale making a walking tour of the French Quarter like Marty was once? Or hanging out with Pete Maravich during his days with the Jazz? Or having the opportunity to chew the fat with Bear Bryant?
But other than insisting that his name always appeared with the accent mark so it was pronounced Mew-Lea instead of Mule, Marty never seemed to think of himself as that important though.
Unfortunately some other folks had the same view.
In 2003, the big brains at the Times-Picayune decided that Marty should cover prep sports for the first time, using the excuse that someone was needed who met the residency requirement of living in St. Tammany Parish.
I do too, which Marty never quit bringing up.
That was Marty being Marty.
But in the end, he did his job with the same level of professionalism he always showed.
Then, after Katrina when the same big brains decided Marty’s talents belonged in the circulation department, he literally told them to take this job and shove it and quit on that.
Marty being Marty.
But by doing that, it gave Marty the time to write three more books – the LSU version of Game of my Life, The Sugar Bowl Classic and Game Changers.
Those books covered his favorite three subjects. Marty was an LSU man through and through, but no one, especially Tiger fans ever accused him of being a homer.
The Sugar Bowl held a very special place in Marty’s heart. He revered its place in college football history. He had earlier written a book commemorating the bowl’s 50th anniversary in 1985 and 25 years later he and the bowl collaborated to do an expanded and much more lavish issue. Marty also added another chapter to the book each year with a story for the program he put great effort into.
Game Changers was Marty’s particular pride and joy. He spent more than three years researching and writing more than 100 stories about our state’s sports history. He also found a publisher when it looked like the project might die and even helped find some of the photographs when he was worried the publisher wasn’t moving fast enough.
Marty being Marty.
The last time we were together we talked about a book project that had been pitched to him and Marty, as always, needed prodding to consider doing it.
I finally asked him “Don’t you think you’ve got one more book in you?” He finally agreed that he probably did.
God, how I wish we could have found out if that were true.
I mentioned Game Changers. I hope you’ve seen it.
It’s a beautiful piece of work that got plenty of statewide promotion.
And you know what?
It just didn’t sell. Marty didn’t make a cent out of it.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say he didn’t care, but Marty had the satisfaction of knowing, like he told me once, that 50 years from now some kid can go into his school library and read about Eddie Robinson, Billy Cannon and how the Saints actually once won a Super Bowl.
That is, if we still have books as we know them by then.
The best thing for Marty about leaving fulltime newspaper work when he did was that he was able to avoid having a front-row seat for the slow demise of our once-great institution.
Not that I didn’t have to hear about from him anyway.
And as far as things like Twitter and Facebook, let’s just say they were not among Marty’s favorite things. He never got around to doing either one, and he probably would have quit before being forced to do them.
Marty being Marty.
Marty was not what you’d call technology inclined. He didn’t believe that his ATM card worked anywhere except at his back in Mandeville. That was until Rose discovered that he still had his original one with an expiration date of 1988.
And I hold in my hand one of the last 10 flip phones in existence.
Naturally, it belonged to Marty, and he didn’t bother to compile a contact list. Rose asked me to see if I could figure out who some of them are.
I did, but let’s just say what happened on Marty’s cell phone will stay on Marty’s cell phone.
That’s because over your lifetime, if you’re lucky, you have one or two special friends, someone whom you can share anything with – which we did – ones you can call on any time day or night – which we did – and ones you with which you can endless argue with about any subject in the world – not just sports, but history, politics, music, movies, TV – you name it - and then move on with no hurt feelings – which we certainly did.
Marty’s quest for knowledge was limitless.
He devoured books. He recently went through Rick Atkins’ three-volume history of the U.S. Army in World War II in the time it takes most of us to read the funny papers.
There was a movie he hadn’t seen, a TV show he hadn’t watched or a song he hadn’t heard, especially it was by Elvis or Frank Sinatra.
We had spent the last few months talking far more about the presidential race than sports. Marty was one of the few people out there who couldn’t decide between Marco Rubio or Bernie Sanders -and that was after Carly Fiorina dropped out.
He just knew he couldn’t stand Donald Trump or Hillary.
People who didn’t know us well might think we were constantly at each other’s throat. But I think we just like to argue for arguing’s sake.
Our dear friend Larry Hymel would always ride with us to the hall of fame selection meetings during which Marty and I would dissect the merits of everyone on the ballot going there and critiquing those who got in and who shouldn’t have on the way home. I don’t think Larry ever got a word in.
When I called Larry last Saturday to tell him the sad news that we’d lost Marty, he said, “Well those rides to the Hall of Fame meetings are going to be lot duller from now on.”
Or as the great columnist Jim Murray wrote then Casey Stengel died, “God’s getting an earful tonight.” I would imagine He’s is now, too.
Or it wouldn’t be Marty being Marty.
Marty and I collaborated on some projects – like the JFK one – but most of the time, especially in the last few years, it was mainly helping each other out in conceiving and fashioning stories and often down to precisely which word to use.
After I once pointed out that after his freshman season Chris Jackson was on track to break Maravich’s career scoring record if he stayed at LSU for four years, Marty referenced my “ever-churning mind.”
Whenever I would come up with a bright idea for a story for him to do, he’d borrow a line from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, “You just keep thinking, Butch. That’s what you’re good at.”
And just about every time, he’d take my ideas and run with them.
Just a little more than a week ago I was doing our story on Peyton Manning’s retirement and dissatisfied with just calling him a Newman graduate or a New Orleans native I asked Marty what he thought about “New Orleanian.”
He first said that tends to mean someone who lives here, which Peyton hasn’t done since high school. But also felt that in this case, it worked best.
So New Orleanian it was. That’s how much thought he would put into something so seemingly inconsequential.
But getting Marty’s approval was very important to me.
The last few years, whenever I had a story in the Advocate, my day wasn’t complete until Marty called to give me an “attaboy.”
When it was something about the Saints, he had to consult with Rose first since she was the real fan in the house. If it was even slightly negative, there was no attaboy.
It was a rare day when we didn’t talk two or three times, much to our wives’ annoyance because we put everything on hold to do so.
The final time we spoke was last Saturday afternoon.
 I called to make sure Marty didn’t have any flooding – thankfully he didn’t – and because the LSU-Texas A&M game was in progress I asked him what he thought about Johnny Jones’ job status because that had been one of our recent ongoing discussions.
Usually Marty would have had something to say, but this time he just said something about I’ve got to go and I’ll call back you later.
He never did.
And our hearts are broken today.
But as Shakespeare said, the good men do lives on after them.
And in Marty’s case that’s exemplified by his family.
In the former Rosemary Bergeron Marty, as we like to say in the business, outkicked his coverage.
It’s a mystery of the ages why this beautiful woman put up with him for 48 years especially considering he always put covering the Sugar Bowl ahead of their anniversary which is Dec. 30. In 2005 when the Sugar Bowl was played in Atlanta because of Katrina, Marty drove there with me even though Rose had been released from the hospital only two days before.
It was just something she got used to.
Marty said it wasn’t fault Rose wanted to get married on the date they did, even though he dropped out of LSU just to do that because he missed her so much.
And on our last night together, when we drove past Carrollton and Claiborne, Marty pointed out, as he always did, that was Rose’s old neighborhood.
 Just the other day Rose told me that she was the one who sent in Marty’s resume to the Pascagoula Times that got him his first newspaper job.
She wasn’t sure that was something to be proud of not. But I think we’ll agree it was.
Marty and Rose have three wonderful children, Stephanie, Yvette and Michael and two sons-in-law, Eddie and Kevin, who he gave his highest approval to – permission to marry his daughters.
And, like most of us of a certain age, they’ve been blessed with the world’s greatest grandchildren.
Marty never tired of telling me about Jo-Jo’s track exploits, Katie’s volleyball prowess, the cute things Caroline was always saying or how much he enjoyed taking Connor to get some ice cream on Saturday mornings when he’d go to purchase a powerball ticket.
That’s exactly what he did last Saturday.
Paw-Paw loved his grandkids and they certainly loved him.
As did the rest of us. I hope he knew that.
I started this off by saying that Marty and I presented each for the Hall of Fame.
Up in Natchitoches there’s a rule that presenters and recipients have three minutes to make their speeches, otherwise the nights tend to run very late.
It’s seldom obeyed. And you can guess that Marty was very vocal about speeches going overtime.
A few years back Bobby Hebert presented Morten Andersen. Bobby went for about 15 minutes, but not only was he hilarious, but Doug Ireland our esteemed Hall of Fame director had the foresight to put Bobby last on the program.
It didn’t matter to Marty. He thought Bobby hogged the show.
Each year my colleague Sheldon Mickles times each speaker.
Sheldon’s here today and I asked him to time me.
How long I’ve I gone, Shelly? Twenty-two minutes, 41 seconds?
Well, you can only imagine what Marty would have to say about that. Hopefully one day I will.
Bear Bryant was one of Marty’s favorite people. He once did a TV commercial that ended, “Have you called your Mama today? I sure wish I could call mine.”
What I wouldn’t give for my phone to be ringing right now and know who it was without having to look.
My best friend. My brother.
So long, Mule.


The LSWA lost a good friend yesterday in Marty Mule.


Here is the link to his obituary on NOLA.com.

http://www.nola.com/sports/index.ssf/2016/03/marty_mule_acclaimed_chronicle.html


Marty Mulé, acclaimed chronicler of Louisiana sports, dies at 73


Marshall "Marty" Mulé, an award-winning journalist who wrote about Louisiana sports in newspapers, magazines and in books for four decades, died Saturday (March 12) at Lakeview Regional Medical Center in Covington after suffering a heart attack at his Covington home. He was 73.


Mr. Mulé, a Times-Picayune reporter from 1974 until his retirement in 2005, received the Distinguished Service in Journalism Award from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, its highest honor for Louisiana journalists.

"No Louisiana sports writer ever took more delight in his craft than Marty, and that didn't change when he retired" from the newspaper, said Doug Ireland, the chairman of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

Louisiana Sports Writers Association members choose Hall of Fame inductees and journalism award recipients.

Calling Mr. Mulé's work with the Hall of Fame "profound," Ireland said. "I'm trying to come to terms with not ever again answering the phone and hearing him say, 'How you doin', bud?' and then launching into a convincing pitch for inducting some overlooked giant in sports history."

Mr. Mulé, who kept writing after leaving The Times-Picayune, was named Louisiana Sports Writer of the Year three times by the National Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association.

In addition to his newspaper work, Mr. Mulé wrote seven books about sports: "Game Changers: The Rousing Legacy of Louisiana Sports"; "Game of My Life: LSU Tigers: Memorable Stories of Tigers Football," which he wrote with former LSU Coach Paul Dietzel; "Sugar Bowl Classic: A History"; "Eye of the Tiger: A Hundred Years of LSU Football"; "Louisiana Athletes: The Top Twenty"; "Sugar Bowl: The First Fifty Years"; and "Tales From the Tiger Sidelines."

"No Louisiana sports writer ever took more delight in his craft than Marty."

"He was so passionate about our state's sports history and enjoyed its evolution," Ireland said. "He not only loved the work, he was enthralled by the camaraderie of the profession. Marty was an incredible researcher, a brilliant storyteller, an elegant writer and amazing friend and a very proud family man."

A native of New Orleans' Irish Channel, Mr. Mulé graduated from Redemptorist High School and LSU, where he earned a degree in journalism.

"There have been many great sports writers in the long history of The Times-Picayune, but there has never been a more gifted storyteller than Marty Mulé," said Mark Lorando, vice-president of content and editor of NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. "His body of work is a lasting gift to every LSU sports fan in America. And his unfailing good humor and kind, collegial manner were gifts to all who worked with him." 

Before joining The Times-Picayune staff, Mr. Mulé wrote for newspapers in Pascagoula, Miss.; Pensacola, Fla.; and Thibodaux. He also worked at Xavier University.

In addition to his newspaper work and his books, he was a regular columnist for Tiger Rag, a magazine about LSU sports.

"Marty was a kind and gentle man with uncommon passion and devotion to his craft," said Jim Engster, Tiger Rag's publisher. "For nearly a half-century, his elegant work helped create our images of icons such as Pete Maravich and Archie Manning. His words will be relevant long after those of us who admired him are gone."

Survivors include his wife, Rosemary Bergeron Mulé; a son, Michael Mulé of Covington; two daughters, Yvette Pitre and Stephanie Strohmeyer, both of Covington; and four grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete.



Dr. Julian Bailes to receive 2016 Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award


NATCHITOCHES – Dr. Julian Bailes, a Natchitoches native and LSU graduate who has become a leading figure in the field of sports-related concussion research, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award presented by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

Bailes, a world-renowned neurosurgeon, is an advisor to the NFL Players Association, the NCAA’s Competitive Safeguards and Medical Safety Committee, the Southeastern Conference, and Pop Warner football. In the recent movie “Concussion” starring Will Smith as Bailes’ colleague Dr. Bennet Omalu, award-winning actor Alec Baldwin portrayed Bailes in a film that brought sports concussion issues to a mainstream audience spurring discussions of the safety and future of American sports.

The Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award is presented annually by the LSWA’s 35-member Hall of Fame selection committee to an individual who has played a decisive role as a sports leader or administrator benefiting Louisiana and/or bringing credit to Louisiana on the national and international level.

Dixon Award winners are enshrined as Hall of Fame members and are featured in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum in Natchitoches.

The award is named in honor of Hall of Famer Dave Dixon, the driving force behind bringing the NFL to Louisiana with the creation of the New Orleans Saints franchise. Dixon, who passed away in 2010, is also considered the “father” of the Mercedes-Benz Louisiana Superdome, developing the concept for the innovative domed structure and pushing state officials for its construction in the late 1960s.

Bailes will be among the 11-man 2016 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class to be spotlighted in the annual Induction Dinner and Ceremonies on Saturday evening, June 25, at the Natchitoches Events Center. The Induction Dinner and Ceremonies are the culmination of the 2016 Induction Celebration beginning Thursday afternoon, June 23, with a press conference and the La Capitol Kickoff Reception.


Four-time major league baseball All-Star pitcher Ben Sheets, NBA standout P.J. Brown, University of Michigan and NFL star Anthony Thomas, and two longtime highly-successful coaches, Tulane baseball coach Rick Jones and prep football coach Jim Hightower, headline eight 2016 competitors’ ballot inductees chosen last fall for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.


Also in the class announced last October: Janice Joseph Richard, a two-time All-America basketball player and highly successful coach at her alma mater, Louisiana College, along with Xavier University; Arthur “Red” Swanson, Southeastern Louisiana’s most successful football coach who became an impactful figure in LSU sports history; and “Gentleman” Dave Malarcher, a great player and manager in Negro Leagues baseball. That trio will be inducted posthumously.


Also honored with enshrinement will be LSU broadcaster Jim Hawthorne and Alexandria sports writer Bob Tompkins, chosen as the 2016 recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism.


The 2016 Induction Class will be showcased in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum, operated by the Louisiana State Museum system in a partnership with the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The striking $23 million, two-story, 27,500-square foot structure faces Cane River Lake in the National Historic Landmark District of Natchitoches and has garnered worldwide architectural acclaim and rave reviews for its contents since its grand opening during the 2013 Hall of Fame induction weekend.


Bailes’ Dixon Award honor was jointly announced Thursday by Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland and LSWA president Brent St. Germain.


A Natchitoches native who was an all-state linebacker at Natchitoches Academy and a walk-on football player at Northwestern State, Bailes transferred to enroll in the pre-med curriculum a LSU. An LSU Medical School graduate, Bailes has testified in front of Congress regarding safety aspects of sports, particularly football from the Pop Warner level up to the NFL, and has taken bold positions related to safety of competitors. He has been instrumental in implementing return-to-play protocols in all 50 states and internationally.


A 2011 inductee into the LSU Hall of Distinction, Bailes is chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and co-director of the Northshore Neurological Institute in Chicago. Bailes is a founding member and director of the Brain Injury Research Institute, which focuses on the study of traumatic brain injuries and their prevention.  His research has been instrumental in the understanding of the clinical evidence of Chronic, Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive, degenerative disease found in individuals who have been subjected to multiple concussions or sub-concussive blows.


Bailes is presently a medical advisor to the NFL Players Association Committee on head injuries, and the Competitive Safeguards and Medical Safety Committee within the NCAA. He is chairman of the Medical Advisory Board for Pop Warner football nationwide and is a director the NFL Players Association second opinion network.  Bailes is also the neurological consultant for the NCAA, in general, the Southeastern Conference, Arena League Football and was team physician for 10 years for the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Released by Sony Pictures in December, “Concussion” documents Bailes’ vital role in the identification of CTE. It was based on a 2009 story in GQ magazine, “Game Brain: Football Players and Concussions” by Jeanne Marie Laskas.


Bailes is frequently consulted for comments by media such as Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, the Washington Post and other leading publications, and has made appearances on ESPN, NBC Sports, Good Morning America, CNN, CNN Sports, The Anderson Cooper Show, The CBS Morning Show, Outside the Lines, Today Show, NBC Nightly News, PBS, Dr. Oz Show, ABC Nightline, and Fox Sports Networks. He is known internationally for his opinions related to brain trauma from sports activities.


Fifteen men have previously been presented the Dixon Award since its inception in 2005. Last year’s winner was Paul Hoolahan, the executive director and chief executive officer of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic since 1996.

The first winner was Randy Gregson, a New Orleans native/resident and former president of the United States Tennis Association. In 2006 the winner was Emmanuel “Boozy” Bourgeois, president of Louisiana Special Olympics since 1972.

The 2007 recipients were Don Landry, a longtime collegiate administrator and basketball coach, and Doug Thornton, the executive director of the Superdome.

In 2008, the Dixon Award went to world renowned orthopedic Dr. James Andrews, a Homer native, LSU graduate and SEC champion pole vaulter.

The 2009 recipients were George Dement, a Bossier City boxing and youth sports activist; and “Mr. Softball” Benny Turcan, a New Orleans native and long-time state ASA softball commissioner.

In 2010 the Dixon Award winner was Gerald Boudreaux, the longtime City of Lafayette recreation director best known as one of the country’s top college basketball referees in the last three decades.

A year later, the committee honored Elmo Adolph, an Olympic and professional boxing official, and Billy Montgomery, who as a highly-regarded state legislator championed sports causes including construction of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame museum.

In 2012, the Dixon Award went to Marksville physician Dr. L.J. Mayeux, the former national president and chairman of the board for Ducks Unlimited renowned for his efforts to restore duck habitat across the nation.

The 2013 recipient was New Orleans businessman and sports benefactor Milt Retif, whose influence has been especially significant for American Legion baseball and Tulane baseball in his hometown.

In 2014 there were two recipients: Tynes Hildebrand, a coach and later athletics director at Northwestern State who served a decade as one of the NCAA’s top basketball officiating administrators, and Wright Waters, the longtime Sun Belt Conference commissioner.

The 2016 Induction Celebration will kick off Thursday, June 23 with the press conference and reception. It includes three receptions, a youth sports clinic, and a Friday, June 24 golf scramble at Oak Wing Golf Course in Alexandria. Tickets for the Induction Dinner and Ceremonies, and golf entries, are on sale through the LaSportsHall.com website.


Adding to the 318 sports competitors currently enshrined, 15 previous winners of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership award and 56 prior recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, there are 389 members of the Hall of Fame prior to this summer’s ceremonies.


The 2016 Induction Celebration weekend will be hosted by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the support organization for the Hall of Fame.  The LSHOF Foundation was established as a 501 c 3 non-profit entity in 1975 and is governed by a statewide board of directors.  For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Foundation President/CEO Lisa Babin at 318-458-0166 or [email protected].  Standard and customized sponsorships are available.  


LSWA names Jim Hawthorne, Bob Tompkins as 2016 Distinguished Service Award recipients


NATCHITOCHES –  Iconic retiring LSU sports broadcaster Jim Hawthorne and Bob Tompkins, the acclaimed Alexandria sports writer whose 43-year career ended last fall, are the recipients of the 2016 Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

The “Voice of the Tigers,” Hawthorne is wrapping up his 36th and final year as the play-by-play and coaches’ show host for LSU sports and will retire after basketball season. A 38-year veteran editor, writer and columnist for the Alexandria Town Talk, Tompkins was voted the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Sportswriter of the Year for Louisiana four times (1998, 2004, ’06, ’12). He was the LSWA Sportswriter of the Year in 2006 and shared the same award in 2007.

They were recently selected from a 17-person pool of outstanding nominees.

The Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism is the most prestigious honor offered to sports media in the state. Recipients are chosen by the 35-member Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame selection committee based on their professional accomplishments in local, state, regional and even national arenas, with leadership in the LSWA a contributing factor and three decades of work in the profession as a requirement.  

Distinguished Service Award winners are enshrined in the Hall of Fame along with the 389 current athletes, sports journalists, coaches and administrators chosen since 1959. Only 56 leading figures in the state’s sports media have been honored with the Distinguished Service Award since its inception 34 years ago, in 1982.

Hawthorne and Tompkins will be among the 2016 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class to be spotlighted in the annual Induction Dinner and Ceremonies on Saturday evening, June 25, at the Natchitoches Events Center. The Induction Dinner and Ceremonies are the culmination of the 2016 Induction Celebration beginningThursday afternoon, June 23, with a press conference at the Hall of Fame museum at 800 Front Street in Natchitoches.

Four-time major league baseball All-Star pitcher Ben Sheets, NBA standout P.J. Brown, University of Michigan and NFL star Anthony Thomas, and two longtime highly-successful coaches, Tulane baseball coach Rick Jones and prep football coach Jim Hightower, headline eight 2016 competitors’ ballot inductees chosen last fall for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

Also in the class announced last October: Janice Joseph Richard, a two-time All-America basketball player and highly successful coach at her alma mater, Louisiana College, along with Xavier University; Arthur “Red” Swanson, Southeastern Louisiana’s most successful football coach who became an impactful figure in LSU sports history; and “Gentleman” Dave Malarcher, a great player and manager in Negro Leagues baseball. That trio will be inducted posthumously.

Also honored with enshrinement in the Class of 2016 will be the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award winner, to be announced Thursday.

The 2016 Induction Class will be showcased in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum, operated by the Louisiana State Museum system in a partnership with the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The striking $23 million, two-story, 27,500-square foot structure faces Cane River Lake in the National Historic Landmark District of Natchitoches and has garnered worldwide architectural acclaim and rave reviews for its contents since its grand opening during the 2013 Hall of Fame induction weekend.

The selection of Hawthorne and Tompkins was jointly announced Wednesday by Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland and LSWA president Brent St. Germain.

Hawthorne handled football, men’s basketball and baseball broadcasts and is LSU’s Director of Broadcasting. A native of Anacoco and a 1967 Northwestern State graduate, he was a protégé of Hall of Fame (2010 Distinguished Service Award winner) member Norm Fletcher. Hawthorne has prior play-by-play experience at NSU, Centenary, and with the Texas League in baseball and the World Football League during his stint at KWKH-AM in Shreveport prior to getting hired to replace Hall of Fame (1984 DSA winner) member John Ferguson at LSU.

Hawthorne has called two LSU national championships in football, six in baseball, and three Final Four appearances in basketball. He joined LSU’s football broadcasts in 1983 alongside Ferguson, and stepped in a year later when Ferguson moved to the brand-new Tigervision package. Since taking over play-by-play in 1984, Hawthorne didn’t missed an LSU football game, doing 387 straight, including 22 bowl games, until surgery sidelined him for three games late last fall.

He has handled basketball play-by-play since 1980, doing three Final Fours and calling action by stars such as Ben Simmons, Shaquille O’Neal, Rudy Macklin and Chris Jackson (now Mahmoud Abdul-Rouf). His baseball play-by-play work began in 1984 and includes all of the Tigers’ College World Series games, wrapping up appropriately in Omaha last summer.

Tompkins has been voted the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Sportswriter of the Year for Louisiana four times (1998, 2004, 2006, 2012). He was the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Sportswriter of the Year in 2006 and shared the same award in 2007.

A 1972 graduate of LSU, Tompkins was sports editor of the Daily Reveille student newspaper in the spring of 1972. Over the next four years, Tompkins worked at four different newspapers -- the Lafourche Parish Daily Comet in Thibodaux (general assignment news reporter), the Monroe Morning World, the Shreveport Journal and the Lafayette Daily Advertiser.

He was sports editor of the Advertiser (Feb.-Aug. 1976), then moved to the Town Talk, where he was sports editor from 1987-94. He then spent 19 years as a senior reporter and sports columnist. Tompkins covered LSU’s BCS Championship Games in 2004, 2008 and 2012, he covered the 1994 and 1995 Masters, the 1981 and 1990 Super Bowls, the 1986 and 1993 NCAA Final Four tournaments and the 1992 U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials and the 1981 NCAA Track and Field Championships. He covered 33 Sugar Bowls, several of which settled national championships.

During his career, Tompkins was the beat writer at various times for the New Orleans Saints, LSU football and basketball, Northwestern State football, Louisiana College football, basketball and baseball, Tulane football, USL football and basketball and for the Lafayette Drillers and Alexandria Aces minor league baseball teams. He has covered many PGA Tour events in New Orleans.

He was president of the LSWA for 1990-91 and ’91-92 and has been a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame selection committee since 1977. He also served many years on the committees to select the Heisman Trophy and the John Wooden Award.

He won LSWA Columnist of the Year for the 1988-89 judging period. He won the LSWA’s Mac Russo award in 2011.

Tompkins changed jobs on Jan. 1, 2015 to become the Town Talk storyteller, working on feature stories, news stories and columns across the spectrum, not just sports. Two of his stories since changing his job role – one on the colorful history of an old golf course in Pineville that is now a cemetery and another on a local man who was among the first American Ebola fighters in West Africa in 2014 – were reprinted via the Associated Press in several newspapers across the country.

The 2016 Induction Celebration will kick off Thursday, June 23 with the press conference and reception. It includes three receptions, a youth sports clinic, and a Friday, June 24 golf scramble at Oak Wing Golf Course in Alexandria. Tickets for the Induction Dinner and Ceremonies, and golf entries, are on sale this spring through theLaSportsHall.com website.

Adding to the 318 sports competitors currently enshrined, 15 previous winners of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership award and 56 prior recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, there are 389 members of the Hall of Fame prior to this summer’s ceremonies.

The 2016 Induction Celebration weekend will be hosted by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the support organization for the Hall of Fame.  The LSHOF Foundation was established as a 501 c 3 non-profit entity in 1975 and is governed by a statewide board of directors.  For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Foundation President/CEO  Lisa Babin at 318-458-0166 or [email protected].  Standard and customized sponsorships are available.  


CST AND LSWA PRESENT A RECAP OF LA. SPORTS HALL OF FAME


INDUCTION WEEKEND DEBUTS WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT 7 PM


NATCHITOCHES – Cox Sports Television for the 13th consecutive year will showcase the 2015 induction class for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame when the annual ceremonies are broadcast on a tape-delayed basis beginning Wednesday night at 7 p.m. CDT.

The telecast, produced in cooperation with the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, will highlight the induction of 11 athletes, coaches, administrators and journalists held on June 27 in front of a capacity dinner crowd of 831 at the Natchitoches Evens Center, the largest crowd to attend the event in the 38 inductions held in Natchitoches.


Hosting the broadcast and serving as the Voice of the Hall of Fame is CST’s own Lyn Rollins, joined again by Louisiana native and news anchor Tammi Arender, along with former LSWA President Kent Lowe.


Highlighting the class are three football players – College Football Hall of Famer Leonard Smith of McNeese State; UL-Lafayette, Saints and Carolina Super Bowl quarterback Jake Delhomme; and, LSU and three-time Super Bowl champion running back from New England Kevin Faulk – as well as coaches Pat Collins, who took ULM to the then 1-AA (now FCS) football championship in 1987; and, former UL Lafayette and LSU softball coach Yvette Girouard who is the fourth winningest coach in college softball history and who took both teams to multiple Women’s College World Series.

Also inducted is St. Aug High School championship coach Otis Washington, who served in 1980 as an assistant coach at LSU; NBA star and coach who is now back in coaching at the University of Alabama, Avery Johnson; and, the first horse trainer to be inducted in the hall, Frank Brothers, who won 14 training titles at the Fair Grounds and Louisiana Downs.


Included in the list of inductees are Glenn Quebedeaux of The Daily Iberian and the late Bobby Dower of the Lake Charles American Press who earned the LSWA’s Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism; and, Paul Hoolahan, the CEO of the Allstate Sugar Bowl and winner of the Dave Dixon Sports Leadership Award.


The telecast will also include highlights from the La. Capitol Federal Credit Union press conference and reception, the annual golf tournament at Oak Wing in Alexandria, the Friday night tailgate/reception at The Landing restaurant and the highly successful clinic for youngsters at Natchitoches-Central High School sponsored by the New Orleans Saints.


After Wednesday night’s premier showing the 60-minute program will also be broadcast at the following times (All times CDT and additional air times will be announced in August):


Thurs, July 16 5:00 p.m.

Fri, July 17 Noon & 6 p.m.

Sat, July 18 2 p.m.

Sun, July 19 12:30 p.m. & 11 p.m.

Mon, July 20 3:30 p.m.

Tues, July 21 5:30 p.m.

Sat, July 25 12:30 p.m.

Sun, July 26 1:00 p.m.

Tues, July 28 5:00 p.m.

Wed, July 29 7:00 p.m.

Thurs, July 30 5:00 p.m.


For more information on the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, check out the Hall web site at www.lasportshall.com.


In October of this year, CST will be celebrating the network’s 13-year anniversary. Since its launch in 2002, CST has grown to nearly 5.5 million viewers, making it one of the fastest growing regional sports networks in the south. The Gulf South Sports Leader can be seen in California, Nevada, Idaho, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Virginia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Georgia and Florida.

CST is owned and operated by Cox Communications Louisiana, LLC. Initially targeted to be a Louisiana sports network, CST has secured collegiate, professional and high school events that have expanded the networks reach throughout the south. For more information about CST, please visit our website at www.coxsportstv.com.


2015 Hall of Fame Weekend a huge success


NATCHITOCHES --  A record-breaking crowd of nearly 800 filled the Natchitoches Events Center on Saturday as the Louisiana Sports Writers Association inducted eight Louisiana sports greats into its Hall of Fame, honored Sugar Bowl Chief Executive Officer Paul Hoolihan with the Dave Dixon Sports Leadership Award and presented two of its own, Glenn Quebedeaux and the late Bobby Dower,  with  Distinguished Service Awards. 


Here are some links to coverage of the weekend's events:


The Advocate


Shreveport Times


The Times-Picayune/Nola.com


Cox Sports Television 


Sportsnola.com


Bob Tompkins at The Alexandria Daily Town Talk


Kevin Foote at The Advertiser


Dan McDonald at The Advertiser 


Ted Lewis at The Advocate


Ron Higgins at Nola.com


LSU Sports.net


Fox Sports


KSLA 


KPLC


Roll Tide Sports


AL.com


247Sports


(You may send other links to [email protected])

Laughs, rings plentiful at Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame presser


By Matt Vines

Written for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame


NATCHITOCHES – Wearing an NFL conference championship ring to a state sports hall of fame induction press conference would usually mean that athlete is the most accomplished in the room.


But not in a 2015 inductee class that kicked off the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame celebration Thursday with a media gathering at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum.


Former Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme and Buffalo Bills defensive back Leonard Smith won a combined three conference championships in the NFL, but neither inductees’ hands bore a sign of their postseason successThursday.


That’s because New England Patriots running back Kevin Faulk – a three-time Super Bowl champion -- is also part of this 11-member inductee class that features excellence achieved by athletes on the field and court, coaches on the sideline, trainers in the stable, sportswriters in the press box and administration in the bowels of a stadium.


“Unfortunately we went there too many times and didn’t win,” said Smith, who played on the first two (the 1990 and 1991 seasons) of Buffalo’s four straight Super Bowl losses. “I try not to wear my second-place rings around. Jake didn’t wear his either because we knew somebody would be here (with the rings).


“They’ve stayed in the box and aren’t being pulled out. But those times were great with the Bills and the (Phoenix Cardinals). I made some great friends and still have those guys today.”

Faulk did wear one of his rings Thursday, but he said he could count the number of times he’s worn each of his rings on one hand.


“Yes I do have one on today,” Faulk laughed. “But (wearing them) I think would take away from everything else that we had.


“Everybody that’s here, there is a reason why we’re here. Whether that’s statistically on the field or off the field in our respective sports … but the one thing I feel like this event is for is to recognize the people that nobody knows about in your life, people that have gotten you to where you were going. God brought a whole lot of people my way and they’ve directed me on the right paths.”


One of Faulk’s (Carencro High) Super Bowl wins came against his Acadiana counterpart Delhomme (Teurlings Catholic) as the Patriots edged the Panthers 32-29 in Super Bowl XXXVIII following the 2003 season.


Delhomme quipped that he did have a World Bowl ring (1999 with NFL Europe’s Franfurt Galaxy), but he said he feels a “deep connection” to almost every 2015 inductee.


“It’s funny because when we get here, (Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame artist Chris Brown) asked me to sign a picture and said he could put whatever else you want underneath it,” Delhomme said. “I looked at Kevin Faulk’s, and he had Super Bowl champ with one of the three years that he won the Super Bowl. I couldn’t put that, but my wife said that I could put almost.”


“But I watched my brother Jeff play at McNeese State, so I got to watch Leonard Smith. I was actually in (then-Northeast Louisiana’s) stadium to watch my brother play (2015 inductee Pat Collins’) team that went on to win the 1987 (Division I-AA) championship. I was there for I don’t know how many games of (then-Southwest Louisiana’s) softball and (2015 inductee coach Yvette Girouard) because our football field butted up right against the softball field. This is a special class.”


Delhomme, whose family owns Set-Hut stables after the clan grew up in horse racing, asked fellow 2015 inductee and legendary trainer Frank Brothers about Triple-Crown winner American Pharoah compared to horses like Affirmed and Seattle Slew of Brothers’ era.


Brothers responded that all of those horses had great balance, and American Pharoah has “got it all” much like the previous two Triple Crown winners.


Brothers, whose horses won a whopping 22 percent of their races, trained Hansel, who won the 1991 Preakness and Belmont Stakes.


“Hansel was the morning line favorite for the Kentucky Derby (first leg of Triple Crown) and had won the two preps before the Derby,” Brothers said. “That goes to show you how hard it is to win the Derby.”


An underdog theme highlighted many of the inductees present Thursday, and that was the case for Girouard, Collins, St. Augustine football coach Otis Washington and Sugar Bowl Executive Director Paul Hoolahan (2015 Dave Dixon Sports Leadership Award Recipient).


The aforementioned nominees will be officially inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday along with Avery Johnson (basketball star at Southern and in the NBA), Bobby Dower (longtime sportswriter and editor at the Lake Charles American Press) and Glenn Quebedeaux (longtime writer and editor at the New Iberia Daily Iberian).


Hoolahan credited the “leanest and meanest” bowl staff in helping him keep the AllState Sugar Bowl in a prominent position despite being in a relatively small New Orleans media market, particularly after Hurricane Katrina.


“This staff helped create a series of events that provided economic impact in a period of time when business was slow, “ said Hoolahan, who’s served the bowl for 19 years. “I’m proud to say that the Sugar Bowl continues to perform in a very admirable way.


“With a solid financial plan dating back to the beginning of the (Bowl Championship Series), we grew our own war chest and that’s what’s enabled us to stay in the game at the highest level.”


Girouard, who never played fast-pitch softball growing up in the pre-Title IX era but piled up the fourth-most wins in college softball history, built softball powerhouses at UL Lafayette and then at LSU.


“All I ever wanted to do was play, so to walk into this magnificent hall of fame, it’s beyond my expectations,” said Girouard, who began to choke up. “Why am I the only one crying … because I’m the only woman up here?


“But it looks like God wanted me to succeed in another avenue, and I became a coach … So for all of the female athletes to the coaches who had to beg, borrow, and yes, steal sometimes to get women’s sports off the ground, this is for all of us who had to fight so hard.”


Washington’s career almost never got off the ground at St. Augustine, where he won state championships 1975, 1978 and 1979.


“I didn’t know I was going to become a coach,“ said Washington, who led the Purple Knights for 10 seasons as head coach. “(After college), the first thing I wanted to do was travel and go to California. I had $16.82 in my pocket.


“So I took (junior varsity) job at St. Augustine and expected to stay there for one year.”


Collins’ father told him he wouldn’t have been able to go to college if not for an athletics scholarship, so the 135-pound high school sophomore started lifting weights. After playing football and coaching at Louisiana Tech, he led the then-NLU Indians to the 1987 championship in a decorated career.


“I was a 135-pound guard, and we’ve got football players now whose legs weigh 135 pounds,” Collins said. “Back in those days, we didn’t have any steroids, but if we would have had them, I’d of taken them.


“But coaches like (former Louisiana Tech coaches) Joe Aillet and Maxie Lambright, Natchitoches legend John Ropp along with John David Crow at NLU really influenced me. It’s a special honor.”



Matt Vines
Sports Information Graduate Assistant
Northwestern State University

Friday night party, golf scramble, Saints Junior Training Camp provide 2015 inductee interaction


NATCHITOCHES – Although the 2015 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner next Saturday night is sold out, chances to meet the Hall’s Class of 2015 remain available with tickets to the Friday, June 26 tailgating party at The Landing Restaurant, entries in the June 26 golf scramble and participation in the June 27 New Orleans Saints Junior Training Camp.

Tickets for the “Tailgating Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Style” Friday evening party, and golf entries, are on sale through theLaSportsHall.com website. Also available is a registration form for the Saints Junior Training Camp June 27 at Natchitoches Central High School, an event that is free to youth ages 6-14 but does require advance registration.

The 2015 inductees will participate in the tailgating party and the Saints Junior Training Camp, and the golf scramble at Oak Wing Golf Club in Alexandria at 10 a.m. June 26. Information on all activities can be obtained by calling the Hall of Fame Foundation office at 318-238-4255 during business hours.

The 2015 Induction Celebration will begin next Thursday with the annual La Capitol Federal Credit Union Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Kickoff Party at Maglieux’s on the Cane, across the street from the Hall of Fame Museum. 

The 2015 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class will be enshrined before a record crowd of nearly 800 patrons during the sold-out annual Induction Dinner and Ceremony presented by State Farm Insurance on Saturday evening, June 27, at the Natchitoches Events Center.

LSU’s all-time leading rusher, three-time Super Bowl champion Kevin Faulk, joins UL Lafayette great and Super Bowl quarterback Jake Delhomme, former NBA champion point guard and Coach of the Year Avery Johnson, along with coaching legends Pat Collins, Yvette Girouard and Otis Washington, among the 2015 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class. College Football Hall of Fame member Leonard Smith, a McNeese State All-American, and championship Thoroughbred racing trainer Frank Brothers are also in the Class of 2015 announced by the Hall of Fame and LSWA last October.

Also honored with enshrinement will be 2015 Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award winner Paul Hoolahan, the longtime executive director of the Allstate Sugar Bowl, and south Louisiana newspapermen Glenn Quebedeaux and the late Bobby Dower, chosen the 2015 recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism.

The 2015 Induction Class will be showcased in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum, operated by the Louisiana State Museum system in a partnership with the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The striking $23 million, two-story, 27,500-square foot structure faces Cane River Lake in the National Historic Landmark District of Natchitoches and has garnered worldwide architectural acclaim and rave reviews for its contents since its grand opening during the 2013 Hall of Fame induction weekend.

Adding to the 310 sports competitors currently enshrined, 14 previous winners of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership award and 54 prior recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, there are 378 members of the Hall of Fame prior to this summer’s ceremonies.

The 2015 Induction Celebration weekend will be hosted by the LSWA and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the support organization for the Hall of Fame.  The LSHOF Foundation was established as a 501 c 3 non-profit entity in 1975 and is governed by a statewide board of directors.  For information, contact Foundation President/CEO Lisa Babin at 318-458-0166 or[email protected]


FOR LSWA MEMBERS: 


2015 LOUISIANA SPORTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION CONVENTION & LOUISIANA SPORTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTION WEEKEND –JUNE 25-28


OVERVIEW – The host hotel will be the Comfort Suites, 151 Hayes Ave, Just off I-49,  (318) 228-8816 … Convention registration to the LSWA will be $25 which basically helps us cover expenses for the convention and a portion of the meal costs for our Saturday business meeting and awards brunch ... Please make all reservations at the host hotel by June 10 and it is very important to have numbers of people attending and what events by June 15.


Convention Schedule

THURSDAY, JUNE 25

3 p.m. – 2015 Inductee Press Conference – Atmos Energy Gallery, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum, 800 Front Street … please arrive early. Parking requires it.

5 p.m. – La Capital Federal Credit Union Welcome Reception – Maglieux’s on the Cane Restaurant (across street from museum) featuring local cuisine and entertainment.

7 p.m. – Hospitality Room Opens at Comfort Suites for LSWA members.

FRIDAY, JUNE 26

9 a.m. – Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Celebrity Pro-Am Golf Tournament at Oak Wing Golf Club in Alexandria. (PLEASE NOTE – THIS EVENT IS A HALL OF FAME EVENT AND ANYONE INTERESTED IN PLAYING MUST CONTACT DOUG IRELAND IN ADVANCE AND DOUG WILL PROVIDE FEE INFORMATION) … TOURNAMENT STARTS AT 10 A.M.

10 a.m. – Hotel Hospitality Room Opens. Will be open on and off throughout the day.

7-10 p.m., The Landing, 530 Front Street - “Tailgating – Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Style”  will be a fun, casual evening with inductees featuring multiple tailgate food stations, sports highlights of current and past inductees, a silent auction, and entertainment by Natchitoches musician Steve Wells. Get ready to shake your tailgate! Landing Restaurant/Natchitoches - $50 per person – advance registration required. 

10 p.m. - Fireworks sponsored by Pac-Inc at south end of Church Street Bridge near the Landing Restaurant.

SATURDAY, JUNE 27

9 a.m. – SO LSWA MEMBERS CAN SAY THEY COVERED SOMETHING WHILE HERE -- Championship Saturday, Natchitoches Central High School.  The New Orleans Saints Junior Training Camp will headline the interactive portion of this event.  This clinic is led by Hall of Famers who shares their personal knowledge of what it takes to be a champion on and off the field.  Attendees will learn skills and participate in drills aimed at instilling the importance of healthy lifestyles and will also receive instruction and handouts on nutrition and personal safety.  Also participating is the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness led by Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductee Rudy Macklin. (Pre-registration for kids required along with signed liability release)

11 a.m. – LSWA Lunch/Business Meeting – Lasyone’s, 622 2nd St … Try a meat pie. Try another. And/or catfish.… All convention types are invited for lunch, then spouses can be sent with the credit card shopping and to check out the museum, and hopefully the management style of President Brent St. Germain will ensure the meeting won’t last long enough to bend the credit card … FOR THOSE ATTENDING JUST THE LUNCHEON -- $16 each

5 p.m. – The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Reception – Natchitoches Events Center … 750 2nd St … Also a Silent Auction. Attire: Business. Coat and tie for the gentlemen and dress for women is appropriate.

6 p.m. – Induction Dinner and Ceremony which begins with National Anthem, followed by Walk of Legends, dinner and presentation of inductees. Again, this will be an advance purchase outside the realm of the convention costs and LSWA members will be able to purchase $50 tickets and be seated together. Please make reservations by June 10 to Kent Lowe. Past Distinguished Service winners receive two tickets courtesy of LSWA and Hall of Fame.

HOSPITALITY ROOM at the Comfort Suites will be open during the day and after the Hall of Fame event.

SUNDAY, JUNE 28

11 a.m. – LSWA Awards Brunch – Bon Ami, upstairs at The Landing, 530 Front Street

                The awards in sports writing for 2014 in the state and the sports information awards for 2014-15 are presented following one of the best brunch’s any state sports writing group partakes before the awards are handed out with the inimitable Kent Lowe presiding …with the rebranding of the upstairs room, there’s now a cash bar handy (nearest table reserved for Scooter) … BRUNCH FOR THOSE ATTENDING JUST THE LUNCHEON -- $25.


Paul Hoolahan to receive 2015 Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award


April 22, 2015


NATCHITOCHES – Paul Hoolahan, whose shrewd leadership over 19 years has helped keep the Allstate Sugar Bowl among college football’s elite postseason contests, has been named the 2015 recipient of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award presented by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.


Hoolahan became the Sugar Bowl’s executive director in 1996 and has added the role of Chief Executive Officer of the organization, which not only hosts at least one of college football’s premiere games annually, but also stages a continuing series of events promoting high school and college sports around the state.


The Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award is presented annually by the LSWA’s 35-member Hall of Fame selection committee to an individual who has played a decisive role as a sports leader or administrator benefiting Louisiana and/or bringing credit to Louisiana on the national and international level.


Dixon Award winners are enshrined as Hall of Fame members and are featured in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum in Natchitoches.


The award is named in honor of Hall of Famer Dave Dixon, the driving force behind bringing the NFL to Louisiana with the creation of the New Orleans Saints franchise. Dixon, who passed away in 2010, is also considered the “father” of the Mercedes-Benz Louisiana Superdome, developing the concept for the innovative domed structure and pushing state officials for its construction in the late 1960s.


Hoolahan will be among the 11-man 2015 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class to be spotlighted in the annual Induction Dinner and Ceremonies on Saturday evening, June 27, at the Natchitoches Events Center. The Induction Dinner and Ceremonies are the culmination of the 2015 Induction Celebration beginning Thursdayafternoon, June 25, with a press conference and the La Capitol Kickoff Reception.


LSU’s all-time leading rusher, three-time Super Bowl champion Kevin Faulk, joins UL-Lafayette great and Super Bowl quarterback Jake Delhomme, former NBA champion point guard and Coach of the Year Avery Johnson, along with coaching legends Pat Collins, Yvette Girouard and Otis Washington, among eight greats chosen for the 2015 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class. College Football Hall of Fame member Leonard Smith and championship Thoroughbred racing trainer Frank Brothers are also in the Class of 2015 announced by the Hall of Fame and LSWA last October.


Also honored with enshrinement will be south Louisiana newspapermen Glenn Quebedeaux and the late Bobby Dower, chosen the 2015 recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism.


The 2015 Induction Class will be showcased in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum, operated by the Louisiana State Museum system in a partnership with the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The striking $23 million, two-story, 27,500-square foot structure faces Cane River Lake in the National Historic Landmark District of Natchitoches and has garnered worldwide architectural acclaim and rave reviews for its contents since its grand opening during the 2013 Hall of Fame induction weekend.


Hoolahan’s Dixon Award honor was jointly announced Wednesday by Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland and LSWA president Brent St. Germain.


Hoolahan has directed the bowl’s operations for 21 bowls, including five national championship games during his tenure in New Orleans.

While successfully hosting multiple bowls and national championships, Hoolahan has maintained the bowl’s status as one of the premier bowl games in the nation. Most recently, he brokered an arrangement with the Southeastern Conference and the Big 12 Conference to host the top available teams from each conference in the Sugar Bowl through 2025 - except for when hosting four College Football Playoff national semifinal games, as it did in 2015.

In Hoolahan’s nearly two decades with the Sugar Bowl, the organization has generated well over $2 billion for the local economy.

During his tenure, the bowl has more than doubled its number of ancillary community events. In 2014, the Sugar Bowl took on title sponsorship of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s slate of state championship events. Hoolahan also spearheaded the Sugar Bowl’s involvement with New Orleans’ successful bid to host the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four, as well as the 2013 NCAA Women’s Final Four.


In addition to its many events, the Bowl is also heavily involved with several other local organizations. The Allstate Sugar Bowl sponsors the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame, The Manning Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding quarterback, and the local chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. It took over title sponsorship of the Crescent City Classic in 2012.

Formerly the AD at Vanderbilt, Hoolahan served as chairman of the Football Bowl Association and was a member of the NCAA Football Board of Directors.

Fourteen men have previously been presented the Dixon Award since its inception in 2005. Last year there were two recipients: Tynes Hildebrand, a coach and later athletics director at Northwestern State who served a decade as one of the NCAA’s top basketball officiating administrators, and Wright Waters, the longtime Sun Belt Conference commissioner.

The first winner was Randy Gregson, a New Orleans native/resident and former president of the United States Tennis Association. In 2006 the winner was Emmanuel “Boozy” Bourgeois, president of Louisiana Special Olympics since 1972.

The 2007 recipients were Don Landry, a longtime collegiate administrator and basketball coach, and Doug Thornton, the executive director of the Superdome.

In 2008, the Dixon Award went to world renowned orthopedic Dr. James Andrews, a Homer native, LSU graduate and SEC champion pole vaulter.

The 2009 recipients were George Dement, a Bossier City boxing and youth sports activist; and “Mr. Softball” Benny Turcan, a New Orleans native and long-time state ASA softball commissioner.

In 2010 the Dixon Award winner was Gerald Boudreaux, the longtime City of Lafayette recreation director best known as one of the country’s top college basketball referees in the last three decades.

A year later, the committee honored Elmo Adolph, an Olympic and professional boxing official, and Billy Montgomery, who as a highly-regarded state legislator championed sports causes including construction of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame museum.

In 2012, the Dixon Award went to Marksville physician Dr. L.J. Mayeux, the former national president and chairman of the board for Ducks Unlimited renowned for his efforts to restore duck habitat across the nation.

The 2013 recipient was New Orleans businessman and sports benefactor Milt Retif, whose influence has been especially significant for American Legion baseball and Tulane baseball in his hometown.

The 2015 Induction Celebration will kick off Thursday, June 25 with the press conference and reception. It includes three receptions, a youth sports clinic, and a Friday, June 26 celebrity pro-am golf scramble at Oak Wing Golf Course in Alexandria. Tickets for the Induction Dinner and Ceremonies, and golf entries, are on sale through the LaSportsHall.com website.


Adding to the 310 sports competitors currently enshrined, 14 previous winners of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership award and 54 prior recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, there are 378 members of the Hall of Fame prior to this summer’s ceremonies.


The 2015 Induction Celebration weekend will be hosted by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the support organization for the Hall of Fame.  The LSHOF Foundation was established as a 501 c 3 non-profit entity in 1975 and is governed by a statewide board of directors.  For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Foundation President/CEO Lisa Babin at 318-458-0166 or [email protected].  Standard and customized sponsorships are available.