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 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.
Hains is only the second outdoorsman elected to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, preceded by Grits Gresham (1988). Candies is the second motorsports great ever chosen for enshrinement, along with three-time world motorcycle racing champion Freddie Spencer (2009).
Cook and Hains will become only the third set of inductees from the same Louisiana high school to enter the Hall of Fame in the same year. They were classmates and baseball teammates at Rayne High School.
Wayne and Stokley were NFL teammates from 2003-06 with the Indianapolis Colts, catching passes thrown by likely 2019 LSHOF inductee Peyton Manning. They helped the Colts win Super Bowl XLI.
The Class of 2018 will be enshrined Saturday, June 30, in Natchitoches to culminate the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration June 28-30.
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 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 2018 inductees. The panel considered a record 134 nominees from 28 different sport categories on a 30-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 342 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 enshrined next summer will be three other Hall of Fame inductees, the winner of the 2018 Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award and the recipients of the 2018 Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism presented by the LSWA. Those contributor ballot inductees will be announced later this year.
The complete 11-person Class of 2018 will bring the membership in the Hall of Fame to 422 men and women, including 18 Dixon Award winners and 62 sports journalists.