Consistency, vision, key components for humble Hightower

By Kevin Foote

After this past football season, no one can ever say that Jim Hightower never took the St. Thomas More Cougars’ football program to the Superdome.

Of course, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame voting committee recognized before the 2015 season ever began that the lack of a Superdome appearance wasn’t enough to keep Hightower out of the museum in Natchitoches that honors the top sports figures in Louisiana history.

Four decades of incredible consistency was enough.

So was the fact that as the committee discussed candidates for the Class of 2016, Hightower entered the fall No. 18 on the national list of winningest active high school football coaches – and No. 2 all-time in Louisiana.

“I never dreamed of this ever happening,” the 68-year-old Hightower said. “It never entered my thought process. I thought that maybe I’d get into the LHSAA Hall of Fame eventually because some of my contemporaries were voted into that.But to be in this Hall with Kevin (Faulk), Jake (Delhomme) and Bert Jones, guys like that, is really beyond my wildest dreams.”

It becomes reality Saturday, June 25 as Hightower is part of the 11-member Class of 2016 being inducted in ceremonies at the Natchitoches Events Center, just a football field away from the Hall of Fame museum.

Hightower is believed to be the only coach in the state’s history to win district championships in all five classifications.And yet he’s never allowed his ego to get in the way.

Going back 40 years, very little has changed in Hightower’s recipe for success.

“Football is the ultimate team game,” Hightower said. “It’s always been in my makeup to try to work with people and get them to perform at their best.”

Editor’s note – This is one in a series profiling the 11 members of the Class of 2016 being enshrined Saturday, June 25 in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Competitive ballot inductees are P.J. Brown, Jim Hightower, Rick Jones, “Gentleman” Dave Malarcher, Janice Joseph-Richard, Ben Sheets, Arthur “Red” Swanson, and Anthony Thomas. Contributor inductees are Dr. Julian Bailes, Jim Hawthorne and Bob Tompkins. A schedule of events from June 23-25, along with online sales for tickets and golf entries, is available at LaSportsHall.com, with information also available by calling 318-238-4255.