All-time greats in football, basketball, soccer, track and field and tennis will be inducted in Northwestern State’s N Club Hall of Fame Oct. 17 as part of the university’s annual homecoming celebration.
Basketball stars Charles Bloodworth and Lisa Brewer, football record-setters Brad Laird and All-American Clarence Matthews, two-time All-American triple jumper Eric Lancelin, soccer’s Holly Horn and tennis star and coach Willie Paz will be enshrined in 10 a.m. Saturday morning ceremonies at the Magale Recital Hall. The event is open free of charge to the public.
Also honored with the N Club’s Distinguished Service Award will be former head football coach A.L. Williams. Assistant athletics director and NCAA compliance director Dustin Eubanks, who is nearing two decades of service to NSU Athletics, will be presented honorary N Club membership, only the fourth time that has been awarded to a non-competitor by the association of athletic letterwinners at Northwestern State.
Induction in the N Club Hall of Fame is the highest honor NSU awards to its former student-athletes, coaches and athletic staff. The Hall of Fame display is located in Prather Coliseum.
Bloodworth and Brewer starred in Prather as trailblazing basketball competitors. Bloodworth was NSU’s first black student-athlete, transferring home to NSU in 1967 and sitting out a year before competing from 1968-70. Brewer was among the first 13 women to receive full athletic scholarships in state history, signing with the Lady Demons as a high school senior in April 1975 after a stellar career at DeRidder High School.
Bloodworth was a two-year All-Gulf States Conference selection as a power forward for coach Tynes Hildebrand’s Demons and was drafted in the NBA (Chicago) and ABA (Washington) before an injury ended his career. He averaged 17.7 points and 12.3 rebounds as a senior in 1969-70, a rebounding figure that ranks eighth best in school history for a single season. His 10.3 career rebounding average is fourth best. The Natchitoches native was chosen for the Top 100 Demon Basketball Players roster celebrating the centennial season of the sport at NSU in 2013.
Brewer played three seasons at NSU and played two years of professional basketball in the Women’s Basketball League as a second-round draft pick in 1980. From 1975-78, the explosive guard scored 1,906 points (prior to 3-pointers and the now-smaller women’s ball), fifth all-time in school history. She has the third, fourth and fifth-ranked season scoring totals in Lady Demon history, averaging 20.9 points in a 91-game career, topped by 25.7 as a junior. She shot 46.1 percent from the field, holds NSU records for baskets (854) and attempts (1,852) and had 13 30-point games, including 39-point performances on back-to-back nights against UL Monroe and Louisiana Tech as a freshman.
Horn is the first Lady Demon soccer player to earn induction. She was a four-year All-Southland Conference selection, earning first-team honors in 1999 and making the second team in 1997, 1998 and 2000. The Lafayette product played for the 1997 and 2000 Southland Tournament champions, with the 2000 team advancing to NSU’s first NCAA appearance.
Laird and Matthews, who played together as Demons, were both on the program’s Top 100 Football Players of All-Time chosen during the 2007 NSU football centennial celebration. Among highlights during their careers under coach Sam Goodwin were wins at Boise State in their junior and senior seasons.
A four-year starter at quarterback, Laird holds school records for total offense (6,178 yards), passing yards (6,037) and set a record as a senior in 1995 with 113 consecutive passes without an interception that was topped last season by Zach Adkins. Three of Laird’s season passing totals rank in NSU’s career top 10 although none of his best single-game totals do, demonstrating his consistent production. A Ruston High product who is now head coach at his prep alma mater, Laird was an assistant coach for the Demons under Goodwin, Scott Stoker and Bradley Dale Peveto.
Matthews, a New Orleans-St. Augustine product, was an All-America tailback as a senior when he set the Demons single-season rushing record with 1,384 yards (now third) and scored 13 touchdowns as he broke school all-purpose yardage season (2,277 yards) and career (4,651, now second). He played in the Hula Bowl, becoming the second player in school history to earn an invitation to that postseason all-star game. Matthews stands seventh on the NSU career rushing list with 2,628 yards.
Lancelin was eighth in the triple jump at the 1994 NCAA Indoor Championships and seventh at that spring’s NCAA Outdoors to earn his pair of All-America honors. His 54-8 career best is third all-time at NSU behind marks by USA Olympians LaMark Carter and Kenta Bell, and ranks fifth all-time in Southland history. He swept the 1994 Southland Indoor and Outdoor triple jump crowns after Carter won the previous two years.
Paz played dynamically for one season, 1973, for NSU’s now-dormant men’s tennis team, helping it emerge as a nationally-prominent program under coach Johnny Emmons. He was head coach of the Lady Demons from 1995-2006 while also serving as a teacher at East Natchitoches Elementary. Paz, a two-year junior college All-American at Odessa Community College, played his junior year at Austin Peay before transferring to NSU. He was the Gulf South Conference No. 1 singles champion with a 19-4 record, and he and Carlos Blanco were the No. 1 doubles GSC runner-ups with an 11-5 mark. Paz helped Emmons’ squad to an 11-3 overall record and second in the conference.
As coach, his best season was a 14-5 overall mark including a 9-1 Southland record in 2004. His Lady Demons excelled academically, following his lead. Paz graduated with a 3.5 grade point average and obtained his master’s degree in 2000.
Williams was the Demons’ head coach from 1975-82 and coached some of the most dynamic players in school history, including Joe Delaney, Mark Duper, Bobby Hebert, Petey Perot, Gary Reasons and Sidney Thornton. He was also athletic director and helped with the design of the NSU Athletic Fieldhouse, innovative at its dedication in 1979. Williams was one of the leaders as Division I-AA football was created in 1977 and several of his teams were in the Top 20 as the NSU offensive record book was rewritten.
Eubanks is in his 19th year on the NSU Athletics staff and his 16th as assistant AD and NCAA compliance director. The native of Elizabeth began as a graduate assistant, then full-time assistant sports information director, and has provided compliance expertise to all NSU sports and staff members since 1999.
The seven Hall of Fame inductees along with Williams and Eubanks will be honored in the Saturday morning ceremonies on Oct. 17, then introduced at Turpin Stadium before the 6 p.m. kickoff of NSU’s homecoming football game against Lamar.