Max Fugler has been busy getting things lined up for his big day on June 8 when he is inducted into the prestigious Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches.
“It’s getting close,” he said. “I’ve got my family and (former teammates) Johnny Robinson and his wife sitting at my table, and Dave McCarty and Lynn Leblanc at another table.”
Robinson is being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year.
Fugler was a member of the Ferriday High football teams in the 1950s that went 54 straight games without a loss, a state record that still stands today.
Fugler joins former Ferriday High football coach Johnny “Red” Robertson, who was inducted in 2002.
Fugler was part of five Ferriday High teams that won four state championships and lost only four games over five years.
Fugler played on high school and college teams that combined to go 68-8-0 while he was a member of those teams.
Fugler was the first high school All-American at Ferriday High, but he could have easily have been the second.
Max’s older brother Charles, who was a senior on the 1952 team, received a scholarship from Ole Miss, but opted to join the service instead of playing football in Oxford.
Members of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association began planning a Hall of Fame to honor the state’s outstanding athletes and coaches as far back as 1951, but the first election to the hall was not held until 1958.
The three charter members of the organization — Gaynell Tinsley, Tony Canzoneri and Mel Ott — were inducted during the Ark-La-Tex Sports Award Banquet in Shreveport in 1959.
Ferriday finished 10-3 in 1952, Fugler’s freshman year, and lost only one game over the next three years. He and Frank Brocato were the lone Bulldogs to letter five years as both played as eighth-graders.
In Fugler’s sophomore season at Ferriday High, the Bulldogs lost their 1953 season-opener 20-19 to Westlake, a team that would go on to win the Class A state championship.
Ferriday, which would win the Class B state title that year, went on a streak of not losing a game for 54 straight contests, following up the Class B state title with three straight Class A state championships.
That was followed by a national championship at LSU in 1958.
“It seems like only yesterday, but I know it was 50 years ago,” Fugler said. “The birthdays do still come around (Fugler will be 71 in August). Right now I’m just glad to be anywhere.”
Fugler said he has not prepared an acceptance speech.
“I never prepare for speeches,” he said. “I just do what I do.”
Fugler will be inducted along with Peyton Manning, Les Miles, Roger Cador, Matt Dunigan, Danielle Scott-Arruda, Charles Smith and Teaberry Porter.
“I am honored to be going in with that group,” Fugler said. “It’s going to be a special weekend, and I am looking forward to it.”