Five Football Figures, Headed by Warrick Dunn and Deuce McAllister, Lead 2012 Hall of Fame Class
NATCHITOCHES, La — Five football standouts, led by star NFL running backs Deuce McAllister of the New Orleans Saints and Baton Rouge native Warrick Dunn, are among the eight 2012 inductees who will enter the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Another remarkable running back, LSU great Terry Robiskie, joins Louisiana Tech pass catching sensation Roger Carr and highly-successful former Southern head coach Pete Richardson in the five-man football component going into the Hall this summer.
Three-time Grambling basketball All-American Aaron James, a New Orleans native, joins LSU baseball stalwart Eddy Furniss and nationally-acclaimed jockey Mark Guidry, a Lafayette native, in the Hall’s 2012 induction class.
Their selection was announced late Saturday. They will be officially enshrined Saturday, June 23, 2012 in Natchitoches to culminate the June 21-23 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration.
A 30-member Louisiana Sports Writers Association committee selected the 2012 inductees. The panel considered a record 142 nominees from 24 different sport categories on a 25-page ballot, said Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland.
Dunn was a three-time Pro Bowl selection over 12 NFL seasons who ranked 19th in league history in rushing. McAllister is the Saints’ career rushing king and made two Pro Bowl appearances.
Furniss holds five major Southeastern Conference hitting records and was a three-time All-American who helped LSU to consecutive national championships in 1996-97. Guidry, a Lafayette native, became the 21st U.S. jockey to record 5,000 career wins.
James was a high school and college All-America pick who averaged nearly 11 points per game as the first-ever draft pick of the NBA’s New Orleans Jazz. Robiskie was a prep sensation at Second Ward High School who became LSU’s career rushing leader.
Carr’s pass catching won him two All-America awards and helped Louisiana Tech win a small college national title before he had a 1976 All-Pro season to highlight an eight-year NFL career. Richardson revitalized a long-struggling Southern football program, leading the Jaguars to 134 wins, five Southwestern Athletic Conference championships and four black college national crowns in 17 seasons.
The 2012 inductions will be conducted as construction nears completion on 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 should be completed this summer with installation of cutting-edge exhibits following over the next few months.
The eight new inductees will raise the total of Hall of Fame members to 292 men and women 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.
The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame includes nine members of the Basketball Hall of Fame, six of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players, six baseball Hall of Fame inductees, 13 Pro Football Hall of Fame members, seven Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame enshrines, 18 Olympic medalists (10 gold medal winners), 32 College Football Hall of Fame members, three National High School Hall of Fame enshrines, jockeys with a combined 12 Triple Crown victories, six world boxing champions, three College Baseball Hall of Fame inductees (Furniss will be the fourth), three NBA Finals MVPs and two Super Bowl MVPs. A complete membership list and biographical information on all 285 current members is available at the www.lasportshall.com website, with a steady stream of info available at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Facebook page.
The 2012 Induction Celebration will kick off Thursday, June 21 with the La Capitol press conference and reception. It includes three receptions, a Friday morning youth sports clinic sponsored by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, and a Friday afternoon Encana Gas celebrity pro-am golf scramble at Oak Wing Golf Course in Alexandria. Tickets for the Chesapeake Energy Induction Dinner and Ceremonies, and golf entries, will go on sale in April through the www.lasportshall.com website, said Hall of Fame Foundation president/chief executive officer Lisa Babin.
Also to be honored at the event will be two other Hall of Fame inductees, the winner of the 2012 Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award and the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism presented by the LSWA. Those award recipients will be announced in the spring.
A three-time Pro Bowl pick (1997, 2000, 2005), Dunn distinguished himself as one of the NFL’s top running backs in 12 seasons with the Tampa Bay Bucs (1997-2001, 2008) and Atlanta Falcons (2002-07). The 5-foot-9, 187-pounder was named the Pro Football Writers Association and AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1997. A first-round pick of the Bucs in 1997 (12th overall), he went on to rush for 10,967 career yards -- which was 19th on the NFL’s all-time list going into the 2011 season -- with 49 TDs. He added 15 touchdown and 4,339 yards receiving.
At Florida State, he had career totals of 3,959 rushing yards and 37 TDs and 1,314 receiving yards and 12 scores. He helped the Seminoles win the 1993 national title and was a second-team All-American as a senior in 1996. Dunn also competed on the FSU track team as a sprinter and was an All-American on the 4x100-meter relay team.
Dunn starred at Baton Rouge-Catholic High School where he played quarterback, cornerback and running back. For his efforts off the field, Dunn has been honored as the 2004 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, the 2007 Whizzer White NFL Man of the Year and the 2008 Bart Starr Man of the Year.
Unquestionably one of the most popular players in New Orleans Saints history, McAllister played in two Pro Bowls and became the franchise’s all-time leading rusher despite an injury-hampered career. McAllister played in just 97 games, but he rushed for 6,096 yards -- smashing the old mark of 4,267 yards by George Rogers -- and is also the team’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (49) and total TDs (55). In 2006, he helped the Saints, who won the NFC South title under rookie coach Sean Payton, reach the NFC Championship game for the first time.
He was also community-minded as he raised money for and devoted much of his time away from the field to his Catch 22 Foundation to help underprivileged children in the Gulf South region. He set six records at Ole Miss, including marks for rushing yards (3,331) and TDs (40).
Furniss, a 2010 inductee into the College Baseball Hall of Fame, was one of the top hitters in LSU and Southeastern Conference history during a four-year career from 1995-98 with the Tigers -- producing records that stand 14 years later. As of the 2011 season, Furniss remains the SEC’s all-time leader in hits (352), doubles (87), home runs (80), RBIs (308), and total bases (689). In the NCAA record books, he was third in total bases, fourth in home runs and doubles, and fifth in RBIs.
A three-time All-American and Academic All-American, the first baseman from Nacogdoches, Texas, helped LSU to NCAA titles in 1996 and 1997, and received the 1998 Dick Howser Trophy as college baseball’s most outstanding player. He hit .403 in 1998 with 27 doubles, three triples, 28 homers, 85 runs and 76 RBI, earning first-team All-America and All-SEC honors, after being named the 1996 SEC Player of the Year as a sophomore.
Guidry is one of only 22 jockeys in the history of thoroughbred racing in the United States with more than 5,000 wins, achieving that total over a 32-year career which has recently resumed. After winning his first recognized race at age 16 at Delta Downs, Guidry operated on the Louisiana circuit for a decade before moving his tack to the Chicago circuit.
He earned the moniker “King of Chicago” after winning 18 riding titles in that area -- nine at the now-defunct Sportsman’s Park, seven at Hawthorne Race Course and two at Arlington Park. His biggest career win was aboard longshot Lemons Forever in the 2006 Kentucky Oaks.
Guidry received the 2006 George Woolf Memorial Award for career achievements and personal character, presented each year by Santa Anita Park and voted on by jockeys nationwide. Guidry retired from the saddle in November 2007 with 5,044 wins from 31,321 mounts. His mounts earned slightly more than $100 million.
A three-time All-American at Grambling after a prep All-America career at New Orleans’ Cohen High School, James played five seasons with the expansion New Orleans Jazz, who took him as their first-ever draft pick in the second round of the 1974 draft. Nicknamed “A.J. from the Parking Lot” for his long-range jump shots, he averaged 10.8 points and 4.1 rebounds and had 370 assists in 356 NBA games, then starred for five seasons in Italy and three in the Philippines.
The 6-foot-8 James excelled for legendary Grambling coach Fred Hobdy. James was the SWAC Freshman of the Year in 1970-71, a three-time All-Southwestern Athletic Conference pick and the league’s MVP as a senior in 973-74. He was a second-team small college All-American as a sophomore and junior and a first-teamer as a senior when he led the nation in scoring with a 32.1 average. For his college career, he averaged 22.2 points and 10.9 rebounds in 106 games, helping Grambling claim two SWAC titles and one NAIA District Championship.
A prolific athlete at Second Ward High School in Edgard, Robiskie was a prep All-America quarterback before starring at running back at LSU from 1973-76. He averaged 12 yards per rushing attempt in his final three seasons at Second Ward, with more than 6,470 yards in total offense -- running for 62 TDs and throwing for 28 more. A member of the Scholastic Magazine and Parade Magazine All-American teams in 1972, Robiskie led Second Ward to 33 straight wins and two straight state championships while his team averaged 41 points a game.
At LSU, he became the first running back in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season when he finished with 1,117 yards in 1976. That year, he was the Southeastern Conference MVP, a first-team All-SEC pick and a first-team Academic All-SEC pick. He finished his career as the school’s all-time rushing leader with 2,517 yards.
An eighth-round draft pick in 1977, he played five seasons with the Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins and has been an NFL assistant coach since 1982 with the L.A. Raiders, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns and currently the Atlanta Falcons (many of those years as offensive coordinator) and served as interim coach with the Redskins in 2000 and Browns in 2004.
Carr, an All-State track and field athlete at little Cotton Valley High School, walked on as a punter at Louisiana Tech and developed into a two-time All-American college and a 1976 All-Pro wide receiver. In four years at Tech, he caught 114 passes for 2,717 yards and a school record 19 touchdowns. He made all-conference and all-American in 1972 and 1973 as Tech went unbeaten once and won the national College Division championship the next year with a combined 24-1 record.
The 24th pick in the 1974 NFL Draft, Carr played nine years with the Colts, then a year each with Seattle and San Diego, appearing in 113 NFL games, catching 271 passes for 5,071 yards and 31 touchdowns. He was a 1976 Pro Bowl pick when he and Hall of Fame quarterback Bert Jones hooked up for an NFL-best 25.9 yards per catch, also leading the league with 1,112 yards and 79.4 receiving yards per game, with Carr notching 11 touchdown catches.
Richardson defined Southern University football from his arrival in 1993 to 2009, winning five Southwestern Athletic Conference titles, including a three-peat from 1997-99 (the school’s first consecutive SWAC titles since 1959-60), four black college national titles (1993, 1995, 1997 and 2003) and four Heritage Bowl titles. Richardson was 12-5 in the Bayou Classic and is the only SWAC coach never to have lost to Eddie Robinson.
His winning percentage of 68.4 percent in 17 seasons (134-62) at the school is second behind only College Football Hall of Fame coach Ace Mumford’s 70.4 percent (176-60-14). Prior to his arrival, Southern had last won the SWAC in 1975 and 1966. The program had four different head coaches in the 1970s and four between 1981 and 1992.
Richardson took over a program that had three straight losing seasons and guided it to an 11-1 record, winning the SWAC and black college national titles. At SU, Richardson had four 11-win seasons -- including a 12-1 run in 2003.