Outdoorsman Phil Robertson, recognized internationally as the Duck Commander, and former LSU football coach Nick Saban, who won 75 percent of his games and the 2003 national championship in five seasons with the Tigers, join eight-time Mr. Olympia world bodybuilding champion Ronnie Coleman and another global sports figure, Sweet Lou Dunbar of the Harlem Globetrotters, among a star-studded group of eight 2020 competitive ballot inductees chosen for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
The LSHOF Class of 2020 also includes a pair of multiple-year Pro Bowl NFL standouts, New Orleans Saints receiver Joe Horn and Chicago Bears cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman, a star at UL Lafayette, along with two extraordinary basketball players: New Orleans native Kerry Kittles, a two-time All-America guard at Villanova who averaged 14 points in an eight-year NBA career, and Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters legend Angela Turner, who helped her teams to four straight national championship game appearances including wins in 1981 and 1982.
Saban will be the eighth former LSU head football coach enshrined, joining Gaynell Tinsley (1959), Bernie Moore (1963), Biff Jones (1966), Jerry Stovall (1981), Charlie McClendon (1982), Paul Dietzel (1988) and Les Miles (2019).
Horn will become the 17th former Saints standout, coach (Jim Mora) or administrator (Tom Benson, Jim Finks) inducted, and will be only the third player from this century so far to join the LSHOF ranks, along with running back Deuce McAllister and Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle Willie Roaf.
Coleman is the first bodybuilder elected to the Hall.
The Class of 2020 will be enshrined Saturday, June 27, in Natchitoches to culminate the 61st Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration June 25-27.
The 2020 Induction Class will be showcased in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum, operated by the Louisiana State Museum system in a partnership with the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The striking two-story, 27,500-square foot structure faces Cane River Lake in the National Historic Landmark District of Natchitoches and has garnered worldwide architectural acclaim and rave reviews for its contents since its grand opening during the 2013 Hall of Fame induction weekend.
A 35-member Louisiana Sports Writers Association committee selected the 2020 inductees. The panel considered a record 150 nominees from 31 different sport categories on a 33-page ballot, said Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland.
The eight new competitive ballot inductees will raise the total of Hall of Fame members to 350 competitors honored since the first induction class — baseball’s Mel Ott, world champion boxer Tony Canzoneri and LSU football great Gaynell Tinsley — were enshrined in 1959 after their election a year earlier.
Also to be spotlighted next summer will be four other Hall of Fame inductees, the winner of the 2019 Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award, the recipients of the 2019 Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism presented by the LSWA, and a newly-initiated Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Ambassador Award. Those inductees from contributor ballots will be announced later this year.
The complete 12-person Class of 2020 will swell the membership in the Hall of Fame to 445 men and women, including 358 from the competitors’ ballot.
The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame includes 24 Pro Football Hall of Fame members, 18 Olympic medalists including 11 gold medal winners, 11 members of the Basketball Hall of Fame, seven of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players, seven National Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, 37 College Football Hall of Fame members, nine National High School Hall of Fame enshrinees, jockeys with a combined 16 Triple Crown victories, six world boxing champions, seven Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame members, seven College Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, 10 College Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinees, four NBA Finals MVPs, four winners of major professional golf championships, five National Museum of (Thoroughbred) Racing and Hall of Fame inductees and two Super Bowl MVPs.
Just this summer, LSHOF members Kevin Mawae (inducted in 2013), Ed Reed (2017) and Johnny Robinson (1984) were enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, two weeks after Lee Smith (2004) joined the Baseball Hall in Cooperstown and a month before 2010 LSHOF inductee Teresa Weatherspoon’s Sept. 6 entrance in the Basketball Hall in Springfield, Mass.
The 2020 Induction Celebration will kick off Thursday, June 25, with a press conference and reception. The three-day festivities include two receptions, a free youth sports clinic, a bowling party, and a Friday night riverbank concert in Natchitoches.
Adding to the 350 sports competitors currently enshrined, 19 winners of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership award and 64 recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, there are 433 current members of the Hall of Fame before next summer’s inductions.
The 2020 Induction Celebration weekend will be hosted by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the support organization for the Hall of Fame. The LSHOF Foundation was established as a 501 c 3 non-profit entity in 1975 and is governed by a statewide board of directors. For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Foundation President/CEO Ronnie Rantz at 225-802-6040.