Walker, Shows headline 2011 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame class

NATCHITOCHES – New Orleans Saints stars Morten Andersen, Vaughn Johnson and Buford Jordan, along with LSU All-American 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 Saturday, June 25, 2011 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.

The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame includes nine members of the Basketball Hall of Fame, six of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players, six baseball Hall of Fame inductees, 13 Pro Football Hall of Fame members, seven Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame enshrines, 18 Olympic medalists (10 gold medal winners), 32 College Football Hall of Fame members, three National High School Hall of Fame enshrines, jockeys with a combined 12 Triple Crown victories, six world boxing champions, three College Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, three NBA Finals MVPs and two Super Bowl MVPs. A complete membership list and biographical information on all 277 current members is available at the www.lasportshall.com website.

The 2011 Induction Celebration will kick off Thursday evening, June 23 with the La Capitol press conference and reception. It includes three receptions, a Friday afternoon celebrity pro-am golf scramble at Oak Wing Golf Course in Alexandria, and a Saturday morning youth sports clinic hosted on the Northwestern State University campus. Tickets for the induction ceremonies and dinner, and golf entries, will go on sale in April through the www.lasportshall.com website, said Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland.

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. Those award recipients will be announced in the spring.

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