There are football legends, a women’s basketball great, four baseball icons, a two-time USA Olympian, a world-renowned (now elderly) weightlifting champion with an inspiring and patriotic life story, and five LSU Tigers.
They – and a fun-filled slate of events — are among the reasons to be in Natchitoches next Thursday, July 27 through Saturday, July 29, to enjoy the 2023 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration.
There are three free events, and four others which require admission charges. Only the grand finale, the Saturday evening, June 29 Induction Reception and Ceremony presented by State Farm Agents of Louisiana, is a dress up affair.
Two – the Friday Bowling Bash presented by BOM, in Alexandria at Four Seasons Bowling Center, and the Saturday morning New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Junior Training Camp on the Northwestern State campus – are activity filled.
Another – the Friday night Rockin’ River Fest Concert featuring Rockin’ Dopsie and The Zydeco Twisters, and rising country artist Jason Ashley, along with a 10-minute fireworks show over Cane River – is activity optional, dancing encouraged.
Tickets for the Bowling Bash, the Friday night VIP Taste of Tailgating party, the Saturday noon Round Table Luncheon, and the big finale, the Induction Reception and Ceremony, are available at LaSportsHall.com or by calling 318-238-4255.
Advance registration at LaSportsHall.com for kids 7-17 is required for the free Junior Training Camp, which will feature many of the 2023 inductees participating as coaches in football and basketball.
Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning (from New Orleans) joins four-time WNBA All-Star Alana Beard (a Shreveport native) and College World Series champion LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri in a star-studded 12-member induction class.
The LSHOF Class of 2023 also includes New Orleans native Ron Washington, who managed the Texas Rangers to a pair of World Series appearances and in 2021 helped the Atlanta Braves win the world’s championship; two-time LSU track and field USA Olympian and world champion Walter Davis; and Slidell native, Tulane great and Chicago Bears two-time Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte.
Also elected for induction are All-American LSU pitcher Paul Byrd, a 14-year Major League Baseball veteran who made the 1999 All-Star Game; Shreveport native Wendell Davis, who shattered LSU football receiving records before heading to the NFL; multiple national champion and world class weightlifter Walter Imahara, a UL-Lafayette legend; and retired Baton Rouge-Parkview Baptist baseball coach M.L. Woodruff, whose teams claimed 11 state championships.
Two south Louisiana sports journalists, Bruce Brown of Lafayette and longtime New Orleans Times-Picayune high school reporter Lori Lyons will also be honored.
The LSHOF’s Class of 2023 will be enshrined Saturday, July 29, at the Hall of Fame’s home in Natchitoches to culminate the 64th Induction Celebration.
The Thursday reception, the Friday evening River Fest and the Junior Training Camp are free. As noted above, camp participants must register online in advance.
The 2023 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 and other participation, contact Foundation President/CEO Ronnie Rantz at 225-802-6040 or RonnieRantz@LaSportsHall.com, or Greg Burke, Director of Business Development and Public Relations, at 318-663-5459 or GregBurke@LaSportsHall.com.