Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame to induct eight

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 24, 2011

NATCHITOCHES – New Orleans Saints stars Morten Andersen, Vaughan Johnson and Buford Jordan, along with LSU All-America and 12-year major league baseball infielder Todd Walker and NBA standout Donald “Slick” Watts, are among the eight 2011 inductees who will enter the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

High school football coaching great Don Shows, Louisiana-Lafayette softball All-America pitcher Kyla Hall and innovative LSU athletic director Thomas P. “Skipper” Heard complete the Hall’s 2011 induction class.

They will be officially enshrined June 25 in Natchitoches to culminate the June 23-25  Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration. Heard, who died in 1980, will be honored posthumously.

A 30-member Louisiana Sports Writers Association committee selected the 2011 inductees. The panel considered 138 nominees from 22 different sport categories on a 26-page ballot.

The 2011 inductions will be conducted in the shadow of construction of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame museum, operated by the Louisiana State Museum system in a partnership with the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The steel beam framework of the two-story, 27,500-square foot structure is up facing Cane River Lake in the National Historic Landmark District of Natchitoches. The museum could be ready for its grand opening as early as the June 2012 Hall of Fame Induction Celebration.

The eight new inductees will raise the total of Hall of Fame members to 285 men and women 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.

Also to be honored at the event will be the winner of the 2011 Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award and the recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism presented by the LSWA. New Orleans native Elmo Adolph, a world-renowned 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, are the 2011 recipients of the  Leadership Award.