Rollins receives LSWA distinguished service award

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NATCHITOCHES -- Colorful, award-winning Lake Charles sportswriter Scooter Hobbs and widely-acclaimed Pineville broadcaster Lyn Rollins have been selected as 2018 recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

The honor, to be made official June 30 in Natchitoches, means Hobbs and Rollins will join the elite 11-person Class of 2018 being inducted in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Hobbs and Rollins were selected from a 22-person pool of outstanding nominees for the state’s top sports journalism honor.

The Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism is the most prestigious honor offered to sports media in the state. Recipients are chosen by the 35-member Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame selection committee based on nominees’ professional accomplishments in local, state, regional and even national arenas, with leadership in the LSWA a contributing factor and three decades of work in the profession as a requirement.

Distinguished Service Award winners are enshrined in the Hall of Fame along with the 411 current athletes, sports journalists, coaches and administrators chosen since 1959. Just 60 leading figures in the state’s sports media have been honored with the Distinguished Service Award since its inception 36 years ago in 1982.

Hobbs, a Springhill native, is best known for his insightful coverage of LSU sports for the Lake Charles American Press since 1979. He is one of the most decorated sportswriters in state history, collecting nearly 200 LSWA writing awards in the organization’s annual contest while also claiming a couple national honors from the Associated Press Sports Editors.

Rollins, a four-time Louisiana Sportscaster of the Year, is in his 45th year of sports broadcasting in Louisiana. He is believed to have called more televised college baseball games than anyone in the country, beginning as the primary play-by-play man for Jumbo Sports Network’s groundbreaking telecasts of LSU baseball in 1994, and has done a wide array of college sports including football, basketball, baseball, softball, gymnastics, soccer and volleyball, and many high school football radio broadcasts.

Hobbs and Rollins will be among the 2018 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class to be spotlighted in the annual Induction Dinner and Ceremonies on Saturday evening, June 30, at the Natchitoches Events Center. The Induction Dinner and Ceremonies are the highlight of the 2018 Induction Celebration beginning Thursday afternoon, June 28, with a press conference at the Hall of Fame museum at 800 Front Street in Natchitoches.

Six-time Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne, 18-year Major League Baseball pitcher Russ Springer, NBA champion and two-time Grambling All-American Larry Wright, and 15-year NFL receiver and two-time Super Bowl champion Brandon Stokley are among the eight 2018 competitive ballot inductees chosen for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

The class also includes championship coaches Lewis Cook (high school football, still active at Notre Dame of Crowley) and Jerry Simmons (LSU, UL Lafayette tennis), along with 1975 Bassmasters Classic champion Jack Hains and the late Paul Candies, a member of the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame.

Also honored with enshrinement in the Class of 2018 will be the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award winner, to be announced next month.

The 2018 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 $23 million, 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.

The selection of Hobbs and Rollins was jointly announced Friday by Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland and LSWA president Paul Letlow.

Hobbs has been LSWA Sportswriter of the Year five times (2003, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2013) and Columnist of the Year eight times (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015). He has won 87 first-place honors in LSWA writing contests, along with 51 seconds and 35 thirds.

In the Mississippi-Louisiana Associated Press writing contests Hobbs has claimed six wins, six seconds and five thirds. Nationally, he has won third and fourth places in APSE contests despite entering only sporadically during his career.

He’s also been a statewide columnist with the LSU fan publication Tiger Rag. Hobbs, hired by 2015 Distinguished Service Award winner Bobby Dower at the American Press, succeeded Dower as sports editor in 1992 and has retained that role since. In recent years, he’s also been co-host of a weekly sports talk cable television show in Lake Charles.

A former LSWA president, Hobbs has been a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame selection committee for over 30 years.

Rollins, a 1973 Northwestern State graduate, is a protégé of the late Norm Fletcher, the Natchitoches broadcaster who won the Distinguished Service Award in 2010. He succeeded Fletcher as the voice of the Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony and has been a co-host of the long-running CST Hall of Fame Showcase recap of each summer’s inductions.

Rollins, who has a master’s in journalism from LSU, was the Demon Sports Network play-by-play radio broadcaster from 1993-2003 and had also called games for Grambling and the Alexandria Aces minor league baseball team. He began working for Cox Sports Television in 2003 and has done game telecasts for ESPN3 and the SEC Network.

He has done state high school football game of the week telecasts, hundreds of prep football radio broadcasts and still hosts a weekly sports talk radio show in Alexandria. Rollins worked in public relations at Louisiana College and in the private sector, winning multiple Addy Awards for advertising and marketing production and campaigns.

Rollins also worked as a baseball umpire on the high school and college levels until the mid-1990s. He recently joined the 35-person Hall of Fame selection committee and also serves on the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation board of directors.

The 2018 Induction Celebration will kick off Thursday, June 28 with the press conference and an evening reception. It includes three receptions, a youth sports clinic, a bowling party and a Sunday, July 1 golf scramble at Oak Wing Golf Course in Alexandria. Tickets for the Induction Dinner and Ceremonies, and golf entries, will be on sale this spring through the website.

Adding the 334 sports competitors currently enshrined, 17 previous winners of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership award and 60 prior recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, there are 411 members of the Hall of Fame prior to this summer’s ceremonies.