FURTHER REVIEW: Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame stories bring back fond memories

Michael Tortorich

One thing I’ve always liked about sports is how it provides so many great memories.

The 2011 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame class induction ceremony stirred a lot of old feelings for myself and other sports fans.

Just hearing names like Morten Andersen, Vaughan Johnson and Buford Jordan instantly put me back in my seat in the Superdome during the early 1990s. The former New Orleans Saints players enjoyed successful seasons on teams from that era.

As a boy growing up in Ascension Parish, I enjoyed every chance I had to visit the big city and take in the fanfare of an NFL?game.

Those were thrilling days for the Saints. Despite falling short of the franchise’s first playoff win, those teams posted winning records in the grueling NFC West.

Leading the way was the stingy linebacking corps of Johnson, Rickey Jackson, Sam Mills and Pat Swilling.

As former quarterback Bobby Hebert mentioned in his introduction of Andersen, the team’s coach at the time, Jim Mora, was known for his conservative approach. Mora wasn’t shy about calling on the Danish kicker when in field goal range.

As the NFL’s all-time leading scorer, Andersen seems destined for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Aside from all the records and clutch kicks, he stands out for the work he did off the field through charitable endeavors like “Kicks for Kids.”

While the former Saints players stood out to me, I was impressed with the stories of the other inductees as well.

LSU baseball fans remember Todd Walker from his impressive career with the Tigers and his 12 years as a Major League Baseball infielder.

Those who follow the prep football scene are familiar with coaching great Don Shows.

NBA standout Donald “Slick” Watts, Louisiana-Lafayette softball All-America pitcher Kyla Hall Holas and innovative LSU Athletic Director Thomas P. “Skipper” Heard all rounded out this year’s class. Heard was honored posthumously.

New Orleans native Elmo Adolph, a world-renowned boxing official, and Billy Montgomery, who as a highly-regarded state legislator championed sports causes including construction of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame museum, received the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award.

Also honored were two recipients of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, sportswriter Ron Brocato and longtime Southeastern Louisiana University sports information director Larry Hymel.

This year's class represented a diverse group. It shows just how much of a reach the variety of sports can have.