Courtesy: LA Sports Hall of Fame
LSU product Alan Faneca, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, along with All-Star pitcher Shane Reynolds and New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner/chairman of the board Tom Benson headline the eight-member 2014 Induction Class to be enshrined June 21 in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Tulane and NFL standout Lionel Washington, Baton Rouge-Catholic High School cross country and track coach Pete Boudreaux, and Olympic gold medalist Venus Lacy, who helped Louisiana Tech win the 1988 women's basketball national championship, are also in the Hall's 2014 induction class. Trailblazing basketball coach Beryl Shipley, who guided the UL-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns to national prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and legendary Cottonport football player, coach and official Richard "Moon" Ducote will be honored posthumously.
Their selection was announced late Saturday. They will be officially enshrined Saturday, June 21, in Natchitoches to culminate the 2014 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration June 19-21.
The 2014 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 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.
A 30-member Louisiana Sports Writers Association committee selected the 2014 inductees. The panel considered 114 nominees from 26 different sport categories on a 24-page ballot, said Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland.
Faneca, a two-time All-America offensive lineman at LSU in 1996-97, was chosen for nine straight Pro Bowls as a guard during 13 NFL seasons with Pittsburgh (helping the Steelers win Super Bowl XL), New York and Arizona. Faneca started 201 of his 206 NFL games and earned spots on the Steelers' 75th anniversary team in 2007, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame's All-2000s Team.
Reynolds, a Bastrop native who played at Monroe's Ouachita Christian High School, pitched for 13 major league seasons for Houston, Atlanta and Arizona, and played in the 2000 All-Star Game. He won 114 games, 103 with Houston from 1992-2002, winning 16 games twice and going a career-best 19-8 in 1998.
Benson has been at the forefront of sports in New Orleans and Louisiana for nearly 30 years, since buying the Saints in 1985 and quickly transforming a moribund franchise into a playoff team, including the Super Bowl XLIV triumph. In March 2012, he bought the NBA's franchise in New Orleans and the Pelicans have emerged as one of the league's most exciting young teams in 2013-14.
Washington, a cornerback at Tulane from 1979-82, had a productive 15-year NFL career with three teams (Cardinals, Raiders, Broncos), intercepting 37 passes. He played in 204 games, starting 165, with a career-high eight pickoffs with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985 and at least one interception in 13 of his 15 seasons. Washington, later an assistant coach with the NFL's Green Bay Packers, is co-defensive coordinator at his alma mater.
Boudreaux has coached 39 state championship teams and another 21 state runner-up squads in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field. Sixteen of the state titles and 10 runner-up finishes have been in cross country. His track teams at Catholic have had the four best scores in Class 5A state meets, and the Bears' cross country teams have the three best score posted in state championships.
Lacy is the career scoring leader (20 points per game) for the storied Lady Techsters. A center on Tech's 1988 NCAA champions, she won the 1990 national Player of the Year award from the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and ended her career playing for the 1996 USA Olympic gold medalists then with two WNBA seasons in New York.
Shipley won 70 percent of his games in 16 seasons coaching at UL-Lafayette, guiding the Cajuns to six Top 20 rankings, the last two years in the major college polls. He was the first coach at a predominantly white state university in the Deep South to award scholarships to black student-athletes, a groundbreaking move during the 1960s. Shipley's later teams were among the highest-scoring in the country.
Ducote, a football legend at Auburn and in the early days of pro football, was compared to the great Jim Thorpe by Chicago Bears owner and coach George Halas, and was later an assistant football coach and head basketball coach at LSU. An end, halfback and fullback at Auburn, he was also a sensational kicker, booting long field goals to beat Georgia (48 yards) and Vanderbilt (51 yards). Iconic coach Pop Warner said he had never seen a better player.
The eight new inductees will raise the total of Hall of Fame members to 310 competitors honored since the first induction class -- baseball's Mel Ott, world champion boxer Tony Canzoneri and LSU football great Gaynell Tinsley -- were enshrined in 1959 after their election a year earlier.
The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame includes 16 Pro Football Hall of Fame members, 18 Olympic medalists (10 gold medal winners), nine members of the Basketball Hall of Fame, seven of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players, six Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, 34 College Football Hall of Fame members, five National High School Hall of Fame enshrines, jockeys with a combined 12 Triple Crown victories, six world boxing champions, seven Women's Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinees, seven College Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, seven College Basketball Hall of Fame members, four NBA Finals MVPs and two Super Bowl MVPs. Biographical information on all current members is available at the LaSportsHall.com website, with a steady stream of info available at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Facebook page and the @LaSportsHall twitter account.
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