P.J. BROWN — A former Winnfield High School and Louisiana Tech standout, Brown played 15 NBA seasons with five teams — including four years with the New Orleans Hornets. Brown, a second-round draft pick (29th overall) of the New Jersey Nets in 1992, distinguished himself as a defensive stalwart during his career. A 6-foot-11 forward/center, he was three times a second-team pick on the NBA’s All-Defensive team. He averaged 9.9 points and 7.7 rebounds in 1,089 career games, of which he started 990 times. He averaged double digits in scoring five times with a high of 11.4 points in 1998-99 with the Miami Heat. His top rebounding season came when he averaged 9.8 per game for the Charlotte Hornets in 2001-02, but was a model of consistency averaging at least 8.0 points in 12 of his 15 NBA seasons and at least 7.0 rebounds in nine seasons. He shot 46.0 percent from the field and 79.4 percent from the free-throw line. In his final season in 2007-08, he won his first NBA title with the Boston Celtics. He averaged 7.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in 106 career playoff games. At Tech, he averaged 10.1 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks a game despite playing just 25.7 minutes a contest. Born 10-14-1969 in Detroit, Mich.
JIM HIGHTOWER — Going into the 2015 season, Hightower is the second-winningest coach in Louisiana high school football history with a 376-116-1 record and winning percentage of .762 in 40 seasons – beginning his 30th at St. Thomas More in Lafayette. He ranks behind only J.T. Curtis, who has amassed 540 wins through 2014, in Louisiana annals after passing Alton “Red” Franklin (366) in 2013. He ranks in the top 25 among America’s active prep football coaches. Hightower has never had a losing season in his 40-year career as a head coach, which began at Catholic-Pointe Coupee in 1975. His team won the Class 1A state title in 1978, beating St. Edmund’s of Eunice, 45-16, in a game played at LSU’s Bernie Moore Stadium. He also won a state baseball crown at CHSPC before moving to Lafayette’s St. Thomas More. He is believed to be the only coach to win a district title in all classes in Louisiana (1A, 2A at Catholic P.C.; 3A, 4A and 5A at St. Thomas More). Since moving to STM in 1986, he has been named state Coach of the Year in his class twice. At St. Thomas More, Hightower has compiled a 249-89 record in guiding his team to 27 playoff appearances in a row (1988-2014), winning 13 district titles in that time. The Cougars have reached the regionals 21 times, quarterfinals 15 times and semifinals seven times. Born 12-29-1948 in Alhambra, California.
RICK JONES – Tulane’s baseball coach for 21 years (1994-2014), Jones led the Green Wave to 12 NCAA tournament berths and the only two College World Series appearances in school history (2001, 2005). The former Georgia Tech assistant posted an 814-439-2 record at Tulane, the most wins and the highest winning percentage (.649) in school history. His 2005 team was ranked No. 1 nationally for much of the year and received the No. 1 overall seed in NCAA Tournament. Jones coached 24 All-Americans and seven conference players of the year. He earned “coach of the year” honors five times from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association and three times from Conference USA. He won 2005 national coach of the year (Baseball America) honors. Widely respected by his peers nationally, Jones served as Team USA head coach in 2009
GENTLEMAN DAVE MALARCHER – A New Orleans native who graduated from what is now Dillard University in his hometown, Malarcher was one of the most remarkable figures in baseball’s Negro League history. One of the circuit’s top third basemen during the years just before he served in World War I, Malarcher became manager of the Chicago American Giants, the dominant team in the Negro American League in the late 1920s and early 1930s. As a switch-hitting batter, he was a lifetime .272 hitter. The owner of the rival Homestead Grays said “Malarcher is better than (LSHOF member Oliver) Marcell, (Baseball Hall of Famer Judy) Johnson.” He batted .344 in his first season as a player with the American Giants, helping them to the first of three straight pennants. Malarcher became player/manager in 1926 and directed the Giants to two more pennants, plus World Series titles in the only two seasons they were played during his managerial career. After leaving the team for three years because of a money dispute, he returned to manage in 1933 and led them to two more pennants. He went 379-230 (.622) in the regular season and 30-18 in postseason play. His cap and jersey are on display in Cooperstown at the Baseball Hall of Fame. A published poet and respected businessman, he died in 1982. Born 10-18-1894 in Whitehall, La.
JANICE JOSEPH RICHARD – A great player and coach at Louisiana College, she also was an outstanding coach at Xavier (New Orleans). The Alexandria-Peabody product was a two-time NAIA first-team All-American at Louisiana College in 1985 and ’86. In 1986, she led LC to a 31-3 record, a No. 1 ranking in the polls and a third-place finish in the NAIA National Tournament. She was an All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference pick four times, the last three unanimously in scoring more than 2,300 points and handing out 700 assists. She set GCAC single-season record of 283 assists in 1985-86 and led the league in scoring and assists each of her final two seasons. She posted a 307-163 record in 16 seasons as a head coach at Xavier University of New Orleans, San Jose State and Louisiana College. At Xavier from 1992-98, she was 159-34 and her winning percentage of .824 remains the best in school history. She guided Xavier to five consecutive regular season and tournament championships and coached the Nuggets to a 91-11 GCAC regular-season record and to first-round victories in the NAIA Division I National Tournament four straight years (1995-98). Her final Xavier team (1997-98) went 18-0 in conference play. At Division I San Jose State from 1999-2006, she led the school to three winning seasons after it had just one in the previous 17 seasons and was named Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2001-02. Richard was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 and stepped down, but returned home to Louisiana College and had a 55-23 record in three seasons — including a 24-3 mark and American Southwest Conference championship in 2009-10. She died in December 2010 at the age of 46. Born 2-19-1964 in Alexandria.
BEN SHEETS — A former UL-Monroe star, Sheets was a first-round draft pick (10th overall) of the Milwaukee Brewers in 1999. A 2000 Olympic gold medalist for Team USA, he reached the big leagues in less than two years, making the Brewers’ roster in spring training in 2001 and earning a spot in the rotation at the age of 22. He started that season 10-4 with a 3.35 ERA and was chosen to the All-Star game — the first of four during his career. Sheets went on to pitch in the majors for 10 seasons before arm troubles cut short his career. He had a 94-96 record with a 3.78 ERA for his career while playing in 250 games — all starts — for the Brewers, Atlanta Braves and Oakland A’s. In addition to the 2001 All-Star game, he was chosen to the game in 2004,’07 and ’08. He won at least 10 games in seven of his 10 seasons with his best years coming when he went 12-5 in 2007 and 13-9 in ’08 with the Brewers. Sheets was known as a power pitcher with solid command of his pitches. He had 1,325 career strikeouts in 1,596 innings and issued just 369 unintentional walks. After a standout career at St. Amant High School, Sheets emerged as one of the college game’s top talents at ULM, once striking out 20 Louisiana Tech hitters. Born 7-18-1978 in Baton Rouge.
ARTHUR “RED” SWANSON — Very few had as much influence on Louisiana’s sports scene — and remain as anonymous — as Swanson. But he left his fingerprints on more than one sport, and at more than one state school. Swanson, an LSU lineman in the very first game played in Tiger Stadium, later became a coach at Oak Grove High School and molded “Baby Jack”’ Torrance, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound specimen, into a football and track star who later was not only a standout in both sports at LSU but also a world-record shot putter and Olympian. When he was an assistant to Bernie Moore, it was Swanson who was dispatched to Texas to get two prospects who wanted to play at LSU — one of whom was a disgruntled Y.A. Tittle, who first committed to the Tigers, then was pressured to attend the University of Texas before changing his mind again. Swanson, a jack-of-all-trades, coached Southeastern football to a 41-17-4 record from 1931-37 with his.674 winning percentage still the best in SLU history. He coached the LSU basketball and baseball teams during World War II when coaches were often called to active duty, convincing basketball player and future major league slugger Joe Adcock to play baseball, and also led the Southwestern Louisiana Institute football team to a to a 5-4 record in 1950. He died at 82 in November 1987. Born 4-19-1905 in Quitman, La.
ANTHONY THOMAS — A graduate of Winnfield High School, Thomas used a combination of bruising power, speed and agility to set a then-state record with 106 touchdowns in his career while rushing for 7,594 yards to earn prep All-America honors. The 6-2, 221-pounder went on to Michigan, where he helped the Wolverines to a share of the 1997 national title as a freshman. He finished his Michigan career with 15 school records, including rushing yards (4,472), rushing TDs (55) and total TDs (56). He still holds the touchdown records and is third on the rushing yards list. Among his other notable Michigan milestones: records for highest average rushing yards per game in a season (144.4) and most games with at least 150 yards rushing in a season (6). He also ranks second in career 100-yard rushing games (22), all-purpose yards in a season (2,004) and career (6,000), and points (336). He was the team MVP in 2000, when he was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, and a year later was named the 2001 University of Michigan Male Athlete of the Year. Thomas was also a two-time Citrus Bowl MVP and help Michigan to four straight bowl wins. He was a second-team All-Big Ten pick as a junior and a first-teamer as a senior. A second round pick of the Chicago Bears in 2001, he was the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year after rushing for 1,183 yards and seven TDs in 14 games. He again rushed for 1,000 yards two years later and finished his career with 3,891 yards and 23 TDs. Born 11-7-1977 in Winnfield, La.