NSU's Tynes Hildebrand Enters Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame
NATCHITOCHES – Over 600 guests watched Saturday night’s 2014 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and Ceremony at the Natchitoches Events Center, as retired Northwestern State and still working NCAA basketball administrator Tynes Hildebrand of Natchitoches received the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award and was enshrined in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Hildebrand was Northwestern’s head basketball coach for 16 seasons, and was the Demons’ innovative athletic director from 1983-96. He has been one of the NCAA’s four regional officiating advisors for Division I men’s hoops since 2006. His ties to college athletics at NSU trace back to his freshman basketball season in 1950-51.
The Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award is presented annually by the LSWA’s 30-member Hall of Fame selection committee to an individual who has played a decisive role as a sports leader or administrator benefiting Louisiana and/or bringing credit to Louisiana on the national and international level.
Dixon Award winners are enshrined as Hall of Fame members and are featured in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum at 800 Front Street in downtown Natchitoches.
The award is named in honor of Hall of Famer Dave Dixon, the driving force behind bringing the NFL to Louisiana with the creation of the New Orleans Saints franchise. Dixon, who passed away in 2010, is also considered the “father” of the Mercedes-Benz Louisiana Superdome, developing the concept for the innovative domed structure and pushing state officials for its construction in the late 1960s.
Hildebrand was among 11 people enshrined in three different categories last Saturday.
“I am humbled to be in the presence of so many great sports people. It sort of makes me look like a midget among a bunch of giants,” Hildebrand said after accepting his Hall of Fame induction from Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Louisiana Sports Writers Association president Jim Kleinpeter.
LSU football product Alan Faneca, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, along with All-Star pitcher Shane Reynolds and New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner/chairman of the board Tom Benson headlined the 2014 inductees.
Tulane and NFL standout Lionel Washington, Baton Rouge-Catholic High School cross country and track coach Pete Boudreaux, and Olympic gold medalist Venus Lacy, who helped Louisiana Tech win the 1988 women’s basketball national championship, were also in the Hall’s 2014 induction class. Trailblazing basketball coach Beryl Shipley, who guided the UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns to national prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and legendary Cottonport football player, coach and official Richard “Moon” Ducote’ were honored posthumously.
Also honored with enshrinement were Baton Rouge outdoors writer and broadcaster Joe Macaluso, chosen the 2014 winner of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, and Wright Waters, longtime commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference, based in New Orleans.
The 2014 Induction Class is 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.
Hildebrand, a native of Florien in Sabine Parish, won 191 games as head coach at Northwestern State from 1965-80 and served as athletics director from 1983-96. A year later, he began his current role as an NCAA officials observer in the Southeastern, Big XII, Conference USA, Western Athletic, Southwestern Athletic, Southland and Sun Belt conferences. Hildebrand works as a presenter, evaluator and instructor during the offseason at numerous officiating clinics.
When the NCAA reorganized its basketball officiating administrative structure in 2006, Hildebrand was chosen as one of four regional representatives who helps select officials to work each round of the NCAA Tournament.
As a coach, he ranks third in career wins at NSU behind current coach Mike McConathy and Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame member H. Lee Prather, his college coach. Hildebrand led the Demons into NCAA Division I and made national tournament appearances at the NAIA level. He assisted with the training camp of the 1972 United States Olympic Team at the invitation of legendary coach Henry Iba, working alongside Bob Knight and developing friendships with coaching legends John Wooden and Don Haskins. One of his players at Northwestern was current Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey, who credits Hildebrand, Duke coach Mike Kryzewski and DeMatha (Md.) HS legend Morgan Wooten as his primary coaching influences.
Hildebrand was recently named one of the Top 100 Players in Demon Basketball History during NSU’s hoops centennial celebration in 2013. As head coach at Natchitoches High School from 1957-65, he guided the Red Devils to six district championships and the 1958 state title. He was hired as Northwestern’s head coach in 1965 and won 191 games in 15 seasons, making four NAIA postseason tournament appearances before steering the program into NCAA and Division I status. USA head coach Henry Iba had Hildebrand and Bob Knight, among other young coaches, helping evaluate players in tryouts for America’s 1972 Olympic basketball team.
Along the way, Hildebrand became good friends with iconic UCLA coach John Wooden. He coached current Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey, who calls Hildebrand one of his three major influences in coaching, along with two Basketball Hall of Fame members, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Morgan Wooten of DeMatha High School.
After three years as the university placement director, helping graduates find jobs, Hildebrand became NSU’s athletics director in 1983, using creative approaches that maximized resources. Hildebrand helped broker admission of NSU and other institutions such as Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston State, Nicholls State and Southeastern Louisiana into the Southland Conference, which has evolved into a highly-regarded league thanks in part to his influence.
His tenure was marked by unprecedented competitive and fundraising success. Hildebrand became a traveling evaluator for the initial round of the NCAA’s Division I Certification process that every Division I institution must undergo each decade. He served on numerous NCAA committees, including the Division I-AA (now FCS) selection panel, until retiring as AD in 1996.
One of Hildebrand’s trademarks as NSU’s AD was using interns to supplement a small administrative staff. Some who began their professional careers as interns for Hildebrand at NSU include Greg Sankey, the executive associate commissioner of the Southeastern Conference; Greg Burke, wrapping up his 18th year as Hildebrand’s successor in the AD’s office at Northwestern; and Mark Molesworth, also in his 18th year as AD at Division III power Wisconsin-Platteville.
Twelve men have previously been presented the Dixon Award since its inception in 2005. Last year’s winner was New Orleans businessman and sports benefactor Milt Retif, whose influence has been especially significant for American Legion baseball and Tulane baseball in his hometown.
The first winner was Randy Gregson, a New Orleans native/resident and former president of the United States Tennis Association. In 2006 the winner was Emmanuel “Boozy” Bourgeois, president of Louisiana Special Olympics since 1972.
The 2007 recipients were Don Landry, a longtime collegiate administrator and basketball coach, and Doug Thornton, the executive director of the Superdome.
In 2008, the Dixon Award went to world renowned orthopedic Dr. James Andrews, a Homer native, LSU graduate and SEC champion pole vaulter.
The 2009 recipients were George Dement, a Bossier City boxing and youth sports activist; and “Mr. Softball” Benny Turcan, a New Orleans native and long-time state ASA softball commissioner.
In 2010 the Dixon Award winner was Gerald Boudreaux, the longtime City of Lafayette recreation director best known as one of the country’s top college basketball referees in the last three decades.
A year later, the committee honored Elmo Adolph, an Olympic and professional boxing official, and Billy Montgomery, an NSU alumnus who as a highly-regarded state legislator championed sports causes including construction of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame museum.
In 2012, the Dixon Award went to Marksville physician Dr. L.J. Mayeux, the former national president and chairman of the board for Ducks Unlimited renowned for his efforts to restore duck habitat across the nation.
Adding to the 310 sports competitors currently enshrined, 14 winners of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership award and 54 recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, there are 378 current members of the Hall of Fame.