Some of Louisiana’s best prime-time players are coming to Natchitoches for the Class of 2021 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration kicking off Thursday and wrapping up Saturday night. The 2021 LSHOF inductees are headlined by New Orleans Saints star receiver Marques Colston, Major League Baseball All-Star Rickie Weeks from Southern University, and three of LSU’s greatest competitors – basketball’s Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, football stalwart Glenn Dorsey and 27-time national champion track and field coach Pat Henry.
The LSHOF Class of 2021 also spotlights Natchitoches native and 1980 Bassmaster Classic champion Villis “Bo” Dowden, chosen as one of the 35 greatest pro anglers of all-time in a joint ESPN Outdoors/BASS package in 2004. Former Northwestern State sports information director (1989-2019) and longtime Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland is going into the Hall as a recipient of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism.
Baton Rouge ties connect six members of the LSHOF Class of 2021. Baton Rouge native Courtney Blades Rogers, considered one of college softball’s best pitchers of all time at Nicholls and Southern Mississippi, joins the trio of LSU competitors, along with LSU alumnus Terry McAulay, a Hammond native who in a 20-year NFL officiating career refereed three Super Bowls. Now the NBC Sports officiating analyst for Sunday Night Football and Notre Dame football, McAuley is the 2021 winner of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award. Other recipients of the journalism award are trailblazing New Orleans television sports anchor Ro Brown, and Baton Rouge Advocate sportswriter Sheldon Mickles.
Due to last summer’s pandemic limitations, the Class of 2020 enshrinement was delayed until June, so the induction of the Class of 2021 shifted to the end of August. All state protocols, notably masking and social distancing, will be observed during the upcoming indoor events. For information on the events and to purchase admission to the four ticketed events, along with registering kids for the free Saturday morning Junior Training Camp presented by the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, visit the LaSportsHall.com website or call 318-238-4255. The 2021 Induction Celebration will launch Thursday with a press conference carried live on Cox Sports Television, followed by a free to the public La Capitol Federal Credit Union reception at 5 at the Hall of Fame museum. Friday’s agenda starts with the 11:30 a.m. BOM Bowling Bash at Four Seasons Bowling Center in Alexandria, with lunch catered by Walk On’s Sports Bistreaux
Friday evening brings the free Rockin’ River Fest Concert on the downtown riverbank stage, presented by Rapides Regional Medical Center. Billy O’Con and BaDD Apple will rock the crown from 6-8 and the red-hot Baton Rouge country band Parish County Line will feature music from the ‘80s and ‘90s beginning at 8:30 in a show lasting until 10:30. A fireworks show set to sports music will follow introductions of the Class of 2021 on stage shortly after 9 p.m. Inside Mama’s Oyster House and Blues Room will be a ticketed Taste of Tailgating Party beginning at 7.
Guests will enjoy an array of Louisiana-styled tailgating food and fun. Saturday’s big day begins with the Junior Training Camp kicking off at 9 a.m. at the NSU WRAC. Tickets are necessary to attend the final two Saturday events. The Roundtable Luncheon presented by LSU’s Tiger Athletic Foundation goes from noon-12:30 at the Chateau Saint Denis, with 2020 inductee and Fox Sports Television personality Tim Brando as the moderator.
The evening’s festivities begin with the Taste of Louisiana Reception at the Hall of Fame museum from 5-6:45. The Induction Ceremony, presented by State Farm Agents of Louisiana, starts promptly at 7 at the Natchitoches Events Center.