Ronnie Rantz, a former LSU baseball pitcher and longtime sports broadcaster who has nearly two decades of extensive business development experience around the state, has been named the new chief executive officer and president of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation.
Rantz, a left-handed pitcher on LSU’s 1991 and 1993 national championship baseball teams, officially took over Thursday as the Foundation’s CEO/President. He succeeds Lisa Babin, who served in the position from 2010 until last month.
After a search process taking just over a month, Rantz emerged as the candidate recommended from over three dozen applicants for the position. His hiring was approved during a Foundation board of directors meeting Wednesday evening in Lafayette, said board chair Brian Cheramie.
“We were ecstatic at the high caliber of the candidates who pursued our position, and could not be more pleased to complete the search by hiring Ronnie,” said Cheramie, a businessman from Cut Off. “The Foundation board and I are very excited about moving forward with Ronnie Rantz leading our efforts on behalf of the Hall of Fame.”
The Hall of Fame Foundation is the business arm of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, created in 1958 by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. Along with providing financial support, marketing and management for the Hall of Fame Induction Celebration staged annually in late June, the Foundation exists to support and promote the three-year-old Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum in Natchitoches.
“Ronnie’s long track record of successful marketing and promoting endeavors, on various platforms, translates perfectly to this position,” said Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland of Natchitoches. “He has extensive experience working in Louisiana’s business community, brokering mutually beneficial partnerships and also assisting with charitable and community causes. He’s successfully created and managed budgets and personnel and collaborated with volunteers and outside work forces.
“He is deeply passionate and knowledgeable about sports in Louisiana, and due to his career as an athlete and broadcaster, he has a high profile around our state that will serve us well,” said Ireland. “He is hitting the ground running.”
An Alexandria native and standout athlete at Holy Savior Menard High School in the late 1980s, Rantz made the 1992 All-Southeastern Conference Tournament team. After coach Skip Bertman’s Tigers won the 1993 College World Series, Rantz pitched professionally in the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers minor league organizations.
After an arm injury curtailed his playing career, Rantz moved into broadcasting as a sports radio personality in Baton Rouge. He is perhaps best known statewide and beyond for his role, beginning in 1998, as producer and color analyst for Jumbo Sports Network television broadcasts of LSU baseball.
Rantz has served as a color analyst for football, basketball and baseball telecasts for several regional networks covering games involving teams from the Southeastern Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, the Southland Conference, the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and high school contests. He was producer and host from 1999-2004 for PREP TV!, a 30-minute regular magazine-style show focusing on state prep sports.
The Denham Springs resident has extensive experience in event management, including spending over a year in 2001-02 as general manager of the Lafayette Roughnecks Af2 arena league professional football team. He has been engaged in marketing and fundraising activities related to high school and college sports, and the health care industry, along with an association with L’Auberge Baton Rouge Casino.
Among his charitable activities are working with fundraising events, such as golf tournaments, to support the National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana, and the Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation. Rantz has generated over $5 million in sports marketing sponsorships in the past 20 years.
The Hall of Fame Foundation’s new CEO/President can be reached via e-mail at RonnieRantz@LaSportsHall.com, and by cell phone at 225-802-6040.
The Foundation will continue to maintain its headquarters in Natchitoches, home of the Hall of Fame since 1971, with the Foundation office at 500 Front Street, two blocks away from the 27,500-square foot, $23 million state-operated museum at 800 Front Street.