Six With LSU Ties In 2022 La. Sports Hall of Fame Class

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Six With LSU Ties In 2022 La. Sports Hall of Fame Class

NATCHITOCHES – An unprecedented five former LSU athletes and another LSU graduate highlight the star-studded group of nine 2022 competitive ballot inductees chosen for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame announced on Wednesday.

The LSHOF Class of 2022 features six-time Pro Bowl NFL lineman and former LSU star Kyle Williams of the Buffalo Bills and two of the greatest women athletes in LSU history, three-time national champion gymnast Susan Jackson and two-time first-team All-America softball pitcher Britni Sneed Newman.

Williams, who helped the Tigers’ football team win the 2003 national championship, is joined by another of LSU’s all-time great linemen, the late Eric Andolsek, and pro rodeo great Steve Duhon, who played football at LSU, among the 2022 inductees.

LSU graduate and longtime Baton Rouge-Episcopal High School track and field/cross country coach Claney Duplechin enters the Hall next summer still active, with his boys cross country team aiming for its 26th consecutive state championship this fall among an astounding 63 LHSAA crowns EHS has claimed in his career.

The other three outstanding members of the 2022 class are another six-time Pro Bowl star, New Orleans Saints’ offensive guard Jahri Evans; the late Tony Robichaux, No. 1 on the wins list for state college baseball coaches and rounding out the class of 2022 is the late Dr. Eddie Flynn, who as a Loyola-New Orleans student won the 1932 Olympic welterweight boxing gold medal for the USA, the last gold medal for an American boxer for 20 years.

The Class of 2022 will be enshrined Saturday, June 25, at the Hall of Fame’s home in Natchitoches to culminate the 63nd Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration June 23-25.

A 40-member Louisiana Sports Writers Association committee selected the 2022 inductees. The panel considered 139 nominees from 26 different sport categories on a 33-page ballot.

Also, to be spotlighted next summer will be three other Hall of Fame inductees, the winner of the 2022 Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award, and two recipients of the 2022 Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism presented by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, the parent organization of the Hall of Fame. Those inductees from contributor ballots will be announced later this year.

The complete 12-person Class of 2022 will swell the overall membership in the Hall of Fame to 468 men and women honored since its founding in 1958.

Williams, a Ruston native, played in 46 games and started 33 for LSU, earning second-team All-America honors in his senior season of 2005 before 13 NFL seasons, all in Buffalo. When he retired, regarded as one of the franchise’s greatest leaders and the “heart and soul” of the Bills, Williams ranked fifth in team history in tackles (610) including a club-record 48.5 sacks by a defensive tackle. He played in 183 games, starting all but five after being a fifth-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. At Ruston High, where he is now the Bearcats’ defensive coordinator, he was the state’s Class 5A Defensive MVP as a senior.

Jackson became the second LSU female athlete to win the Roy F. Kramer Southeastern Conference Female Athlete of the Year award (preceded only by basketball’s Seimone Augustus, 2006). She won 12 career All-America honors, including 11 first-team awards, and in 2010 was LSU’s first AAI Award winner as the nation’s top senior gymnast and became the first Tigers gymnast to win the Honda Award as the nation’s best gymnast. She won the school’s first NCAA all-around championship in 2010 after claiming individual titles in the vault (2008) and beam (2010), and was inducted in the LSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.

Sneed Newman was a four-time All-SEC picture from 1999-2002, and was the SEC Player of the Year in 2001 and SEC Pitcher of the Year as a senior, winning SEC Tournament MVP honors in her final two seasons. Her career record was 120-25 with an 0.89 ERA (all SEC records) while LSU went 230-45. She set SEC strikeout marks as a junior (410) and senior (478) and finished with 1,370 while firing a conference-record 55 shutouts, including 10 individual no-hitters, three more in tandem featuring a perfect game, and holding batters to a .147 average. She led LSU to its first Women’s College World Series and a third-place finish in 2001, and became the first softball player in the LSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.

A Thibodaux native, Andolsek was 25 and emerging as one of the NFL’s best offensive linemen when he died in an offseason accident in 1992. In his final NFL season, Andolsek helped the Detroit Lions win the NFC Central title and advanced to the 1991 NFC championship game before he was named an All-Pro by USA Today. With Detroit, he played in 61 games and was a starter in 48 over his final three seasons. At LSU, Andolsek was a three-year starter and was named All-SEC, third-team All-American in 1986 and was later chosen as a member of LSU’s Modern-Day Team of the Century. A two-year team captain for the TIgers, he was a prep All-American in 1983 at Thibodaux.

Duhon, an Opelousas native, was inducted in the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2003 and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2018. He won three world championships (1986, 1987 and 1993) as a steer wrestler and qualified for the National Finals Rodeo eight times, setting a Wrangler NFR steer wrestling record time of 3.0 seconds in 1986 that was finally tied 15 years later. He won the 1981 national high school reserve champion cowboy crown, then played in all 11 games as a true freshman linebacker that fall at LSU before deciding to focus on his favorite sport. In 1985, he won the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Resistol Rookie of the Year award, launching his legendary pro career.

Duplechin, 68, owns three national coach of the year awards as he begins his 46th year of coaching and 43rd as head coach at Class 2A Episcopal after beginning his career under 2016 LSHOF inductee Pete Boudreaux at Catholic High in Baton Rouge. The Mamou native has 14 state runner-up finishes along with his 63 titles, a total that ranks sixth nationally and two spots ahead of Boudreaux’s count. The 25 straight boys cross country state crowns are second all-time, two back of the national record. Episcopal has won 33 of the last 35 2A boys XC championships and six times has been voted the top team in all classes. Duplechin’s boys squads have captured 17 outdoor track and field state championships, nine indoors. In 2020, MaxPreps rated the former LSU pole vaulter among the country’s top 100 prep coaches in all sports.

Evans arrived in the NFL as part of the Saints’ initial draft class under coach Sean Payton in 2006. The fourth-round pick from Division II Bloomburg (Pa.) helped the squad reach the NFC Championship game and made the All-Rookie Team. That launched a 12-year pro career, all but the last one in New Orleans. He began a string of six consecutive Pro Bowl selections in 2009 when he helped the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV. Evans started all 169 games he played for New Orleans and was chosen for the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2010s.

Robichaux tops the state college baseball victory list and ranks 28th all-time in NCAA Division I history with a 1,117-767-2 record in a 33-year career at McNeese and UL Lafayette, which flank his hometown of Crowley. A pitcher in the early 1980s at both schools, he was head coach at McNeese from 1988-94, then spent 24 years (1995-2019) with the Ragin’ Cajuns until his unexpected death in mid-summer of 2019. He led UL to a fourth-place finish in the 2000 College World Series, in the school’s first trip to Omaha. He produced 12 NCAA Regional appearances and four Super Regionals, and a No. 1 national ranking for several weeks late in the 2014 season. Robichaux, who developed 86 major league draft picks and 29 All-Americans, will enter the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in January.

Flynn won Olympic gold in the welterweight (147 pounds) division at the 1932 Los Angeles Games, defeating Erich Campe of Germany in the final. Flynn fought for Loyola’s Wolfpack in the early 1930s under New Orleans sports icon and LSHOF member Tad Gormley. Flynn was the National AAU Champion in 1931 and 1932 and had an amateur record of 144-0. After the Olympics, Flynn fought professionally and compiled a 23-7-1 record until he was entered military service and served through World War II. Flynn, who became a dentist, was part of the inaugural Loyola Athletics Hall of Fame class in 1964 and is also a member of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame (inducted 1974), Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame (1981) and Florida Boxing Hall of Fame (2010).

Evans will become the 18th former Saints standout, coach (Jim Mora) or administrator (Tom Benson, Jim Finks) inducted, and will be only the fourth New Orleans player from this century so far to join the LSHOF ranks, along with receiver Marques Colston, running back Deuce McAllister and Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle Willie Roaf.

Duhon is the second rodeo competitor elected to the Hall, following Leesville’s T. Berry Porter in 2019.

Jackson and Sneed Newman will become the second set of women competitors enshrined in the same induction class, preceded by LSU track great Esther Jones and UL Lafayette and WNBA star Kim Perrot in 2007.

The 2022 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.

The nine new competitive ballot inductees will raise the total of Hall of Fame members to 367 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 26 Pro Football Hall of Fame members, 18 Olympic medalists including 11 gold medal winners, 12 members of the Basketball Hall of Fame, seven of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players, seven National Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, 41 College Football Hall of Fame members, 15 Black College Football Hall of Fame inductees, nine National High School Hall of Fame enshrinees, jockeys with a combined 16 Triple Crown victories, six world boxing champions, seven Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame members, seven College Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, 10 College Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinees, four NBA Finals MVPs, four winners of major professional golf championships, five National Museum of (Thoroughbred) Racing and Hall of Fame inductees and two Super Bowl MVPs.

Biographical information on all 456 current Hall of Fame 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.

The 2022 Induction Celebration will kick off Thursday, June 23, with a press conference and reception. The three-day festivities include two receptions, a free youth sports clinic, a bowling party, and a Friday night riverbank concert in Natchitoches. Tickets for the Induction Ceremony, along with congratulatory advertising and sponsorship opportunities, are available now through the LaSportsHall.com website.

Anyone can receive quarterly e-mails about the 2022 Induction Celebration and other Hall of Fame news by signing up on the LaSportsHall.com website.

The 2022 Induction Celebration 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 RonnieRantz@LaSportsHall.com. Standard and customized sponsorships are available.

2022 Induction Class Bios
ERIC ANDOLSEK –– A Thibodaux native, the 25-year-old Andolsek was in the prime of his career as a starting guard with the Detroit Lions when his life was cut short in 1992. In his final NFL season, Andolsek helped the Lions win the NFC Central title and advanced to the NFC championship game. Named an All-Pro by USA Today in 1991, many regarded him as a future All-Pro player. With Detroit, he played in 61 games and was a starter his final three seasons. Andolsek blocked for one of the NFL’s greatest running backs in Barry Sanders. At LSU, Andolsek was a three-year starter and was named All-SEC, third-team All-American in 1986 and a member of LSU’s Modern-Day Team of the Century. He was also a two-year team captain at LSU. During the 1985 Sugar Bowl, Andolsek had to play offense and defense because of injuries to LSU’s defensive line. Andolsek was an adidas Prep All-American selection in 1983. Thibodaux High retired his number and named its field house after him, and LSU’s top senior in spring practice receives the Eric Andolsek Award. The Lions also named its outstanding offensive lineman award after Andolsek. Born 8-22-66 in Thibodaux.

STEVE DUHON –– A member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame (inducted in 2003) and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame (Class of 2018), Opelousas native Steve Duhon won three world championships (1986, 1987 and 1993) in rodeo as a steer wrestler and qualified for the National Finals Rodeo eight times. He twice won the steer wrestling NFR aggregate title and established a Wrangler NFR record run of 3.0 seconds in 1986. That mark was tied 15 years later in 2001. A standout linebacker in the Louisiana Independent School Association at Belmont Academy, earning 1980 and 1981 state defensive MVP honors and 1981 honorable mention All-America recognition, Duhon also was a 1980 and 1981 state champion steer wrestler and the 1981 national high school reserve champion cowboy. He began college at LSU, where he played in every game as a true freshman linebacker in 1981. He chose to pursue rodeo, spent one year at Northwestern State on the rodeo team, and in 1985 claimed the PRCA Resistol Rookie of the Year award. He last steer wrestled in 2008. Born 5-27-1962 in Opelousas.

CLANEY DUPLECHIN — A track and field/cross country coach at Episcopal in Baton Rouge, Duplechin begins his 46th year in coaching and 43rd year at the Class 2A school. He spent three years as an assistant to LSHOF inductee Pete Boudreaux at Catholic High and enters the 2021-22 school year with 63 LHSAA state titles in track and cross country and 14 runner-up finishes — adding two cross country titles, one indoor track title and one outdoor track title in 2020-21. The total number of titles ranks sixth nationally in all sports, according to MaxPreps in May 2021 and is two spots ahead of Boudreaux on the list. His boys cross country team has won 25 consecutive LHSAA titles, the longest active streak nationally. The only streak that was longer, 27 in a row by Arizona-based Keams Hopi, ended in 2016. Episcopal has won 33 of the past 35 Class 2A boys cross country titles and has been voted the top team in all classes six times. Duplechin added girls cross country duties in 2018 and has won three straight titles. His boys teams have won 17 outdoor track titles and nine indoor track titles and swept Class 2A boys cross country, Division II indoor track (Classes 3A and below) and Class 2A outdoor track for five years, losing a chance at a sixth in a row when the coronavirus eliminated all LHSAA outdoor meets in 2020. He’s been recognized as a national coach of the year three times: the Gill National Track Coach of the Year in 2012, National Federation of High Schools Coaches Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2013 and National High School Athletic Coaches Association Coach of the Year for cross country in 2018. Duplechin was inducted into the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame in April 2019. In 2020, MaxPreps rated Duplechin as one of the nation’s top 100 coaches in all sports. … Born 10-24-1953 in Mamou.

JAHRI EVANS – Regarded as the second-best offensive lineman in New Orleans Saints history (six Pro Bowls, four All-Pro teams) behind only Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Roaf, Evans carved out a tremendous career of his own in the NFL trenches. A fourth-round pick (106th overall) out of tiny Division II Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, which he attended on an academic scholarship, Evans, a Division II “Little All-American” as a junior and senior, was penciled in as a starter at right guard from Day One of Sean Payton’s first season with the team in 2006. A 6-foot-4, 316-pound road-grader, Evans made the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie team that season while starting all 16 games for the Saints, who reached the NFC Championship game. He went on to start the first 114 games of his career at right guard before an ankle injury sidelined him for a Week 3 game in 2013. Along the way, Evans became one of the NFL’s top interior linemen, making the Pro Bowl six consecutive seasons from 2009 – when he helped the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV – to 2014 while earning AP first-team All-Pro accolades from 2009-12. Three months after the Saints won the Super Bowl, the team made Evans the highest-paid guard in NFL history with a seven-year, $56.7 million contract. It was money well-spent as Evans continued to be a stalwart for one of the league’s most productive offenses while blocking for record-setting quarterback Drew Brees. Evans wound up starting all 169 games he played for the Saints, missing just five games because of injury, and started all 10 playoff games he played in. In April 2020, Evans was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 2010s. His six Pro Bowl appearances are tied for third in club history with Rickey Jackson and Morten Andersen behind only Brees (12) and Roaf (7). Evans played his final season with the Green Bay Packers in 2017. Born 8-22-1983 in Philadelphia, Pa.

DR. EDDIE FLYNN — A Loyola University graduate, Flynn won an Olympic boxing gold medal in the welterweight (147 pounds) division at the 1932 Los Angeles Games, defeating Erich Campe of Germany in the final. It would be 20 years until another American fighter would win an Olympic gold when five U.S. boxers earned gold in the 1952 Games. He fought for the Wolfpack in the early 1930s under New Orleans sports icon Tad Gormley. Flynn was the National AAU Champion in 1931 and 1932 and had an amateur record of 144-0. According to the 1932 Loyola Wolf Yearbook, “(Flynn) swept all opposition aside and was chosen to represent the United States in the welterweight division in a series of boxing matches in New York with the European champions from Italy.” In one of the biggest bouts of his career, Flynn defeated the Italian champion, who held the “crown of the foreign countries.” After the Olympics, Flynn fought professionally and compiled a 23-7-1 record until he entered military service and served through World War II. Flynn was part of the inaugural Loyola Athletics Hall of Fame class in 1964 and is also a member of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame (inducted 1974), Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame (1981) and Florida Boxing Hall of Fame (2010). Flynn was a dentist in Tampa until his death in 1982. Born 10-25-1909 in New Orleans.

SUSAN JACKSON — Texas native became one of the greatest female athletes in LSU history, cementing her name as one of the best gymnasts by shattering school records and accomplishing firsts in school history during a dominant senior season. Became the second LSU gymnast to win two national titles in one meet, equaling the feat accomplished by Ashleigh Clare-Kearney in 2009. Ended her career with three individual national titles, the most in school history, winning the school’s first NCAA all-around title in 2010 with a four-event score of 39.625. She also won the NCAA individual title in the vault (2008) and beam (2010). She was a first-team All-American in the vault, bars, beam and all-around in 2010. Became the second LSU female athlete to win the Roy F. Kramer SEC Female Athlete of the Year award (basketball’s Seimone Augustus, 2006). Finished second in school history with 12 career All-America honors, including 11 first-team honors. Was LSU’s first AAI Award winner as the nation’s top senior gymnast and became the first Tigers gymnast to win the Honda Award as the nation’s best gymnast. Broke the school record for all-around titles in a single season with 11 during her senior season. All told, Jackson won 74 individual all-around titles during her four-year career — 19 on vault, 14 on bars, 13 on beam, 12 on floor exercise and 16 in the all-around. Inducted in the LSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019. … Born 4-6-1987 in Spring, Texas.

BRITNI SNEED NEWMAN –– A two-time first-team All-American and four-time first-team All-SEC pitcher during a sparkling career from 1999-2002, Sneed Newman was the first LSU softball player to be chosen for the school’s athletic hall of fame in 2009. Twice a finalist for USA Softball Player of the Year, she was the SEC Player of the Year in 2001, SEC Pitcher of the Year in 2002 and SEC Tournament MVP in 2001 and 2002. Sneed Newman produced a career record of 120-25 with an 0.89 ERA as LSU posted a 230-45 record. The Tigers won at least 56 games all four seasons with 59 victories in 1999 and 2002. She produced single-season marks of 23-5 (1.13), 27-7 (1.14), 36-6 (0.66) and 34-7 (0.75) and had 1,370 career strikeouts in 976.1 innings while allowing 489 hits and 184 walks. Sneed Newman set an SEC single-season record with 410 strikeouts in 2001 and broke her own mark with 478 just a year later. Her 120 wins, 0.89 ERA, 55 shutouts, .147 opponents’ batting average and 9.8 strikeouts per seven innings were all SEC records when she finished her career. She tossed 10 career no-hitters (six as a senior in 2002) and combined with teammate Sarah Meadors for three more with that duo twirling a perfect game vs. Tennessee in 2001. As a junior in 2001, LSHOF inductee Yvette Girouard’s first season at LSU, Sneed Newman helped the Tigers to a third-place finish in their first Women’s College World Series appearance. “She really is the first player who put LSU on top of the softball world,” Girouard said on Sneed Newman’s induction into LSU’s hall of fame. “She was a dominating SEC pitcher and an imposing figure on the mound.” Born 6-30-1980 in Houston, Texas.

TONY ROBICHAUX — The winningest baseball coach in Louisiana collegiate history, Robichaux won 1,177 games in a 33-year career cut short by his untimely death in 2019 at age 57. At the time, he was the seventh winningest active coach in NCAA history (1,177-767-2) and still ranks 28th among Division I coaches all-time. The impact he had was illustrated when former players raised nearly $200,000 exclusively among themselves to erect a statue and surrounding structures in his honor in front of UL’s Moore Field baseball facility prior to the 2020 season. Robichaux, who served as his own pitching coach, coached his entire career at Louisiana schools (McNeese 1988-94, UL 1995-2019) and is the only coach in NCAA history to rank as the winningest career coach at two different Division I schools in the same state. He had 86 players chosen in the MLB Draft, 67 with the Ragin’ Cajuns. Robichaux won 914 games at UL and led the Ragin’ Cajuns to 12 NCAA regional appearances, four Super Regional appearances and the 2000 College World Series where UL finished tied for third with a 2-2 mark, at the time tying for the most wins by a first-time CWS participant. His 2014 team went 58-10 (an .853 win percentage that still ranks in the all-time NCAA top 25) and was ranked No. 1 nationally in the final weeks of that season; that season was part of a total of seven Sun Belt Conference regular-season titles and four Sun Belt tournament titles. He coached 29 All-Americans, five Academic All-Americans, 90 All-Sun Belt players, 55 All-Louisiana players, six Sun Belt Pitchers of the Year and three Louisiana Pitchers of the Year. He was the Sun Belt Coach of the Year four times, Louisiana Coach of the Year six times and South Central Region Coach of the Year four times. Prior to UL, he coached at McNeese for eight seasons — giving him the honor of coaching at both schools where he played collegiately — and was the Cowboys’ all-time coaching wins leader with 263 victories. He was the 1988 Southland Conference Coach of the Year. His Cowboys won a then-school record 41 games in his final year in 1994 when McNeese earned its first-ever national ranking. He was named to the McNeese Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017, will enter the UL Hall of Fame this fall, and the American Baseball Coaches Association’s HOF in January as part of its Class of 2021. … Born 9-10-61 in Crowley. Died 7-3-19.

KYLE WILLIAMS — A six-time Pro Bowler, after being a fifth-round draft pick (134th overall) of the Buffalo Bills in 2006, Williams toiled there for all 13 of his NFL campaigns before his retirement after the 2018 season. The former LSU standout played in 46 games with 33 starts and was a second-team AP All-American as a senior after helping the Tigers claim the BCS title in 2003. He had 140 tackles with 26 tackles for loss and 16½ sacks for his career. At the time of his retirement, he ranked fifth in tackles and sacks and his 48½ sacks was the most among defensive tackles in a Bills’ uniform. Williams was described as the “heart and soul” of the Bills, who weren’t very good for much of his 13-year career. He played in 183 games with 178 starts. His best season was in 2013 when he totaled 68 tackles with 10½ sacks and 22 quarterback hits. After announcing his retirement late in the 2018 season, Williams had three tackles in the season finale against the Miami Dolphins. He also lined up at fullback and escorted quarterback Josh Allen into the end zone for a touchdown. Then, in what turned out to be the final play of his career, the 35-year-old Williams drifted out of the backfield and caught a 9-yard pass. … Born 6-10-1983 in Ruston.

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