The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inducted its new members in Natchitoches over the weekend.
Here is the Class of 2014 profiles:
TOM BENSON - Sports Administrator
Known for his ownership of the New Orleans Saints since 1985 which saved the NFL franchise from perhaps moving to Jacksonville, Fla., the New Orleans native has been at the forefront of sports in the Crescent City for nearly 30 years. In 2012, he became owner/chairman of the board of both of New Orleans’ major league sports teams when he purchased the NBA’s New Orleans franchise. In 1985, Benson bought the Saints from John Mecom and quickly hired Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Finks as general manager and Jim Mora as head coach, who two years later helped deliver the club’s first winning season and playoff appearance since its inception in 1967. He also presided over the team’s first division title (1991), first playoff victory (2000) and first NFL title (2009) after the Saints took a 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7, 2010. He has also been instrumental in helping bring five Super Bowls to the city, including Super Bowl XLVII which was played on Feb. 5, 2013. He also owned and operated the New Orleans VooDoo of the Arena Football League from 2002-08 and in March 2012 surprised the entire region when he paid $338 million to buy the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets, now renamed the Pelicans. Benson and his wife, Gayle, are active philanthropically in New Orleans. He has been a member of numerous NFL committees as an owner, including three stints as chairman of the powerful Finance Committee. A World War II veteran who served in the Navy, Benson was born in 1927 in New Orleans.
RICHARD "MOON" DUCOTE - Football
A football legend at Auburn and in the early days of pro football, Ducote’ was a Cottonport native who later coached at LSU and Loyola and became a highly regarded football official. At Auburn from 1915-17, he played end, halfback and fullback and was a sensational kicker, making game-winning field goals of 48 and 51 yards to beat Georgia and Vanderbilt. In 1918, he provided all the scoring for the Great Lakes Cleveland Naval Reserves team to a 10-9 upset of Pop Warner’s mighty Pitt team, unbeaten for three years and the greatest collegiate team of the era. Warner said he had never seen a better player. A Cleveland sports writer wrote Ducote’ “simply battered the life out of the Pitt defense and ... must be rated as one of the greatest backs of all time.” Football legend George Halas compared him to Jim Thorpe and other greats of the early days of pro football in a 1971 letter. He served as an assistant football coach at LSU for two years and was head basketball coach for one season, later becoming athletic director at Loyola. Ducote’ was on the officiating crew for the 1935 Rose Bowl game pitting Alabama against Stanford. He died in 1939.
PETE BOUDREAUX - Coach
Boudreaux has been head track coach at his alma mater, Catholic High-Baton Rouge, since 1968 and also served as athletic director through 2011. In the early 1970s, he added head cross country coach to his list of duties. His teams have won 41 state titles (14 outdoor, 11 indoor, 16 cross country through 2014). His teams also finished as the state runner-up 11 times at cross country, seven in outdoor track and four in indoor track. Boudreaux’s track teams have recorded the four highest (best) scores ever by a championship team in Class 5A track and field and the three lowest (best) scores recorded in 5A cross country. His 2013 track team scored a record 116 points, breaking a mark by his 2010 squad (104), while the 2009 team had 101 points. The Bears’ 2009 cross country team had the low winning score of 33 points. Boudreaux’s 1991 squads became Louisiana’s first to sweep cross country, indoor track and outdoor track titles in the same calendar year. His 2008-09 and 2009-10 squads pulled off sweeps in the same school year, winning six straight titles and becoming the first school to sweep state crowns two years in a row. Boudreaux was inducted into the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2000 and served as president of the Louisiana High School Coaches Association in 1981. He has received state Coach of the Year honors 14 times and regional honors four times. In 2010, Boudreaux was voted the national high school coach of the year for boys track by USA Track & Field. He has also worked as an official at SEC and Big 12 track and field championships and at the Olympic Trials. In 2002, Boudreaux was co-meet director for the NCAA Championships. He graduated from Catholic High in 1959 and has spent his entire coaching career at his alma mater.
ALAN FANECA - Football
One of LSU’s all-time great offensive linemen from 1995-97, Faneca was a second-team All-American pick in 1996 and a first-teamer in 1997 when he was a finalist for the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top lineman. A guard who overcame epilepsy, he started his final 36 college games and allowed only one sack as a junior before declaring for the NFL draft. He was chosen in the first round with the 26th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers and went on to play 10 years with them, two with the New York Jets and one with the Arizona Cardinals. He was voted to nine consecutive Pro Bowls (2001-09) and was a six-time Associated Press All-Pro first-team pick (2001-02, 2004-07). He started 201 of 206 games he appeared in and started all 16 games in his final nine seasons in the league. He played on the Steelers team that won Super Bowl XL and helped spring Willie Parker for a 75-yard TD run, the longest run in Super Bowl history, on the second play of the second half to give Pittsburgh a 14-3 lead over the Seattle Seahawks. He was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-2000s team and was chosen to the Steelers’ 75th anniversary all-time team in 2007. Faneca does extensive charitable work with the Epilepsy Foundation of America. Born 12-7-1976 in New Orleans.
VENUS LACY - Basketball
A star center for the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters basketball team from 1988-1990, Lacy played on the 1996 U.S. Olympic team that won a gold medal after starting at center on Tech’s 1988 national championship team, the last Techsters’ team to capture an NCAA title. Lacy was a 1990 Kodak All-American and was also named the national Player of the Year by the United States Basketball Writers Association. She is No. 1 in scoring average (20.0) in Tech history and is also is in the top five for career points (2,004), field goals made (793), field goals attempted (1,125) and blocked shots (164). She played in the old ABL, Europe and spent two seasons with the New York Liberty of the WNBA before retiring in 1998. Born 2-9-67 in Chattanooga, Tenn.
SHANE REYNOLDS - Baseball
A Bastrop native who starred at Ouachita Christian High School in Monroe, Reynolds was one of the top pitchers in the National League and Houston Astros’ ace in the mid- to late-1990s after being selected in the third round of the 1989 draft. He pitched 13 seasons in the majors and had a 114-96 career record with the Astros (1992-2002), with whom he earned multiple Opening Day starts, Atlanta Braves (2003) and Arizona Diamondbacks (2004). He was 103-86 with the Astros, making the 2000 All-Star game. He led the NL in both 1998 and ’99 with 35 starts both of those seasons. Reynolds won 10 or more games six times in his career, with his best season coming in 1998 when he was 19-8 with a 3.51 ERA and 209 strikeouts. He also won 16 games in 1996 and ’99 and finished in the top 10 in strikeouts five times between 1994-99. Reynolds could also handle the bat for a pitcher, posting a .141 career average with five homers. His work ethic was compared to Nolan Ryan by longtime Astros trainer Dr. Gene Coleman. Born 3/26/68 in Bastrop.
BERYL SHIPLEY - Coach
Shipley guided the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) to national basketball prominence and was the first coach at a predominantly white state college in the Deep South to give scholarships to black student-athletes. He was the Ragin’ Cajuns’ coach from 1957-73 and his teams were 293-126 (.699). He had only one losing season in 16 years. USL finished in the national Top 20 in each of his last six seasons - the first four in the college division polls, the last two in Division I. Shipley was the Gulf States Conference Coach of the Year four times and Coach of the Year in the Southland Conference once. With stars like Hall of Fame member Bo Lamar, Roy Ebron and Marvin Winkler on his teams, USL went 19-5, 20-5, 16-10, 23-3 and 23-3 in his last five seasons. The final two teams were ranked in the national major college Top 10 and reached the NCAA Division I Tournament Sweet 16, but after the 1972-73 season, the USL program was disbanded for two years because of alleged NCAA rules violations. Shipley had resigned in spring 1973, and never resumed a college coaching career. He briefly was head coach of the San Diego team in the ABA. He is in the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
LIONEL WASHINGTON - Football
A former Tulane cornerback from 1979-82 and a fourth-round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1983, Washington carved out a productive 15-year NFL career with the St. Louis Cardinals, L.A./Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos. Playing in 204 games and starting 165 during his career, he intercepted 37 passes and returned four for touchdowns. He had a career-high eight interceptions as a rookie in 1983 and picked off at least three passes five times in his career. Washington also had at least one interception in 13 of his 15 seasons. The Lutcher native led LHS to the 1977 Class 3A state championship and had an amazing four interceptions, two returned for touchdowns, in the 1978 High School All-Star Game. At Tulane, he helped the Green Wave reach the Liberty Bowl and Hall of Fame Bowl. Washington coached with the Green Bay Packers for 10 years, the Raiders for two, and just ended his second season as co-defensive coordinator at Tulane by helping the Green Wave to a New Orleans Bowl bid in 2013. Born Oct. 21, 1960.