NATCHITOCHES — The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame is postponing indefinitely its Dec. 15-17 Induction Celebration honoring the 11-member Class of 2020, after analyzing the state’s new Covid-19 mitigation orders that went into effect Wednesday.
The 2020 inductees will be enshrined in the next few months, with hopes to set those dates by the start of 2021.
“We are disappointed we won’t be able to honor the Class of 2020 in the beautiful glow of the Natchitoches Christmas lights, but postponement is the prudent decision,” said LSHOF Foundation CEO/President Ronnie Rantz. “We will gear up for a great induction experience for these Louisiana sports heroes.”
The postponement is the second delay in induction from the initial, traditional late June dates. The December dates were set in August, and work began to provide the first holiday season enshrinement in the 62-year lifespan of the Hall of Fame.
“I want to express great appreciation to Ronnie, (foundation executive assistant) Gracen McDonald, and (operations assistant) Ronnette Pellegrin, our LSHOF Foundation board members and other vital teammates who have poured their hearts into assuring the December experience would be magical,” said Doug Ireland, the Hall of Fame chairman. “Our partners in Natchitoches and statewide, including Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana State Museum staff, have been remarkable and carry the same commitment forward into 2021.”
The star-studded Class of 2020 includes outdoorsman Phil Robertson, recognized internationally as the Duck Commander, along with Sweet Lou Dunbar of the Harlem Globetrotters and Pro Bowl football standout Chicago Bears cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman, a star at UL Lafayette. Two remarkable coaches, former LSU track and field mentor Pat Henry, who guided his program to 27 national championships, and Monroe-Richwood High football coach and Grambling baseball great Mackie Freeze, are set for enshrinement.
The Class of 2020 also showcases two extraordinary basketball players: New Orleans native Kerry Kittles, a two-time All-America guard at Villanova who averaged 14 points in an eight-year NBA career, and Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters basketball legend Angela Turner, a Bienville Parish native who helped the Techsters to four straight national championship game appearances including wins in 1981 and 1982.
Inducted as winners of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism will be LSU sports publicist Kent Lowe and Baton Rouge Advocate prep sportswriter Robin Fambrough.
Opelousas native and LSU graduate Joan Cronan, one of college sports’ most influential administrators in her career as athletics director at the University of Tennessee, will be inducted as the 2020 Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award winner.
Enshrined as the first recipient of the Louisiana Sports Ambassador Award will be Shreveport-based broadcaster Tim Brando, whose pride in his home state has been evident throughout his four decades among the best in his business around the country.