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TODAY’S COLUMNS: ….Scott assesses the Paul Mainieri era at LSU….Dennis opines on the reason there is an official shortage in high school sports….Please scroll down below.
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By Scott Osborne

        How do you measure the success of a coach over 15 years?  At a place like LSU, with a sport like baseball, making an evaluation on the Mainieri era is not an easy task.
        One way to measure the success is to ask if the program is in better shape than when the coach took over.  Most would agree Mainieri is leaving LSU in better shape than when he got to LSU.  Skip saw that the recruiting and the engagement with the community had fallen off under Smoke, so he made the change after not making the postseason one year. 
        Statistically, the comparison is eerily similar.  Smoke won 66% of his games and 59% of SEC games.  He made the CWS twice in five years.  His last season, LSU was 35-24 (13-17 in SEC).  Mainieri won 69% of his games overall and 58% in the SEC.  LSU went to 5 CWS, obviously winning it all once.  This year, LSU finished 38-23 (13-17 in SEC). 
        One aspect that must be acknowledged is that college baseball is much more competitive in 2021 than it was 15, 20, and 30 years ago.  Just look at the investment universities have made in college baseball in facilities.  Then, there are teams like Fresno State and Coastal Carolina winning championships, which is a strong indication of an increase in the number of quality baseball programs.
        As LSU looks to find its next baseball coach (maybe there will be an announcement by the time you are reading), the discussion appears to be centered solely around winning games.  And this measure makes it extremely difficult to determine the right choice for a head coach. 
        If we look at national championships, and compare to Skip, the closest candidate would have been Pat Casey who won three at Oregon State.  Only one other active head coach has won more than one, and that is Tim Corbin at Vanderbilt.  Corbin has also won 82% of his games (59% in the SEC).  He has brought the Commodores to the CWS in 6 out of 18 years which is the same percentage as Mainieri who brought LSU to 5 in 15 years. 
The hardest part for a fan to accept is that the AD is almost always hiring a coach on his way up the ladder, and therefore has not accomplished all that the fans hope that person is going to accomplish at their school.  For instance, another great candidate would be Dan McDonnell at Louisville.  He has won 71% of his games and 69% of his conference games.  He has 5 CWS appearances in 13 seasons (they did not make the NCAA tournament this year).  He has yet to win a national championship.
A great comparison is to look at McDonnell versus Mainier’s Notre Dame career.  In 12 seasons under Mainieri, the Irish won 71% of their games overall and 72% of their Big East games.  He made the CWS in one of those 12 seasons.
        As I am typing, the two main candidates are said to be Mike Bianco and Cliff Godwin.  Both have close connections to LSU.  Godwin has won 66% of his games and 63% of his conference games.  He has 3 Super Regional appearances and no CWS appearances.  Bianco has been at Ole Miss for 20 seasons, winning 64% of his games overall and 55% of SEC games.  Most Tiger fans are aware that Bianco has been to 7 Super Regionals, but have advanced to Omaha just once.
        What does it all mean?  Did Mainieri have a successful career at LSU?  Who is the right person to hire?
        Of course Mainieri had a successful career at LSU.  He is the second best baseball coach in LSU history, which will always be part of the problem.  Alabama found their second Bear Bryant in Nick Saban.  Will LSU find another Skip Bertman?  I have no idea, but I do know that a coach can be successful without winning 5 national championships in 10 years.
        Mainieri ran a clean program that graduated players and represented LSU with class.  I never had a problem with him stating facts about what happened in a game.  I know many people would hear him say that a player committed an error and that led to 3 runs then accuse the coach of throwing players under the bus. In this era of being able to listen to an entire press conference on Youtube, I have learned that in those instances, Mainieri would preface and conclude those statements by citing the hard work and dedication of that player.
Being the head baseball coach at LSU (and anywhere for that matter) is much more than winning games and CWS appearances.  For many coaches, they wish that was all that came with the job.  As for Godwin or Bianco, they are both excellent candidates.  I believe they are strong leaders who have excellent experience coaching at the highest levels of college baseball. 
        The reality is watching a Super Regional or looking at the record of the coach is the worst method of choosing a head coach.  And that is all we have as fans to go on. 

       Last week I made mention of the quote attributed to LHSAA’s head man, Eddie Bonine, where he laid blame to parents and fan’s behavior toward officials as one reason why it’s hard to recruit new officials. I have to agree somewhat with him on that quote but it’s so far down the ladder it really isn’t worth mentioning. And yes, I did write that he not only opened a can of worms but he also brought his own worms to the debate table.
       I did a little calling myself to some officials to get their take on his quote. The answers I got back should’ve caused his ears to burn. Most of the responses I got were “he doesn’t know sh*t about recruiting officials” or “he can’t keep officials because of the way he’s ruled over association after association”. There were a few responses that I’m not able to print but let me just say the wording from some officials would make your mother blush.
       The cold hard fact right at the top of the reasons “why” he can’t get officials is simple. To put it as easy as I can many officials say “grown men don’t want to be treated as kids in elementary school”. Meaning the powers at LHSAA headquarters on Old Hammond Highway think of their game officials as a necessary evil. They can deny that statement all they want but that’s the feeling officials get when dealing with Old Hammond Highway.
       But what I feel is the sorriest example of this situation is how many officials won’t come forward with their true feelings and opinions of the present and recent past when we start talking game officials and how to recruit them and KEEP THEM. The recruiting is an easy thing to do but KEEPING OFFICIALS IS BY FAR THE HARDEST THING TO ACOMPLISH. And it doesn’t help when you have an arrogant man at the top. We’ve seen throwing money at the problem won’t fix it. About the only option left should be to stop what’s become common practice for too long and allow the officials to handle their own business.
       The first thing I found so many officials want is to eliminate the poorly worded “LOUISIANA HIGH SCHOOL OFFICIALS ASSOCIATION”. They all say this association was put in place to make officials think somebody would actually be looking out for their interests but what’s in place is a self-serving, self-enriching group of men that dictate their wishes above the on field game officials. This has caused an overflowing rush toward the gate as more and more officials refuse to come back year after year.
       Well, let me get down to this week’s business. The following “Best of Hey Ref” column was first printed over seven years ago. I still get requests from not only officials but coaches and parents to re-print it because they believe the message. Maybe if Eddie had been a fan he’d have known what was going on in the stands a very long time ago. So, I will once again allow my “fans” to dictate the column of their choice this week. I hope everyone enjoys it because it has a message that’s still as true today as it was some five or six years ago….. ENJOY!!       
       When so many people are scratching their heads trying to figure out why their children’s behavior has hit rock bottom all they need to do is look in the mirror. Parent’s behavior at games, I should say at EVERY game leaves me to wonder how these people go through life away from the football field. We’re entering the final week of high school football and for some it must seem like the end of the world.
       I remember a thing called Sportsmanship that thing fewer and fewer adults are bringing with them to the football games in and around Baton Rouge. I remember the pure disgust that would stir inside my stomach when I was calling little league baseball. Now it seems it has morphed itself to include the high school football games.
       Why do we have anything except varsity games? I’m one of the few that accepts the need for Jr. High and Jr. Varsity games as the place where an athlete will learn his skills before walking onto the varsity field. But after being away from working high school games for twelve years I knew things would be a little different. Like players getting bigger and faster.
       But the real change has come among those sitting in the stands watching games. It seems to me that many of those fans don’t have lives. Each game feels like going to an execution. In that I mean those on the losing side wouldn’t have anything to live for once the game was “in the books” so to speak. Sub varsity games are supposed to be where an athlete would begin to learn the game from the inside.
       But what seems to be happening is the parents believe this 9th grade game tonight is all that’s left in this world. Parents, when officials try to help these young athletes how to line up and stay set before the snap it isn’t meant to help the other team beat your team. We strive to help youngsters when we can so that we don’t spend the majority of the game walking five yards this way then five yards the other.
       And YES we can call holding on every play, hands down. But how many parents want the officials to do this? The only ones that do are the parents of the team with the ball. I wonder how many parents are living their lives through their child’s life. Well, all I can think it’s more than 90% just by their behavior during the games. Of course “little Johnny” never holds he always plays by the rules. It has to be the OTHER guys that are holding.
       If you’ve never heard the term “PREVENTATIVE” officiating let me educate you. A simple example is when one player’s head is in the neutral zone we as officials will tell the player between plays to back up or get back depending on what side of the ball they’re on. One coach will thank you for not calling the foul on his team but as soon as the other team has the ball he goes ballistic if you tell the other team to back up a bit.
       If I had my way each and every parent would spend an entire year working football games for nothing. This way they might actually learn the rules. There are so many experts sitting in the stands that I feel you are hurting the game by staying home or sitting in the stands trying to tell everyone the rules and how the officials on the field really don’t know what they are doing.
       So, please do the game a great service, get off your asses and try to call a few games and we’ll see just how much you really don’t know! I’m not about to let the officials off the hook by no means. I spent nearly 20 years calling football in this area before a bad injury caused me to “retire”. Well, I’ve tried to return to the field but what I’ve found is scaring me to the core.
       The quality of the officials calling games has drastically declined. So many of the best that have put on the striped shirt have left the game entirely. And I feel it’s due to the lack of respect given them by parents, coaches and the media. For whatever reason the games are suffering because so many good officials have hung up their whistles and aren’t returning year after year.
       So, I’ll close by asking all the great officials instead of sitting in the stands please put on the uniform and help the sport you know so much about by getting involved and start at your earliest convenience and start calling real games and not those video games on your TV!!!
              Till next week…….
Press Release
Jim Spring

     The year 2020 marked the tenth anniversary of the Denham Springs High School Athletic Hall of Fame (HOF) since its inception in 2011, though celebration of this feat was postponed until now due to the Corona virus pandemic. Then school Principal Kelly Jones and Athletic Director Dru Nettles tasked J. W. “Pee Wee” Day, Butch Wax, Robert Graves, and Jim Spring—all DSHS alumni and former Yellow Jacket athletes—to form a Steering Committee to establish criteria, procedures, and a timeline that would bring into existence the Hall of Fame.
     The Steering Committee believed that such an elite athletic fraternity could become a community treasure. The city has only one high school, thus enabling the public to rally around its flagship scholastic institution.  Community support for the organization has been outstanding, benefited by generous exposure in The Livingston Parish News through the years. 
     The Committee embraced the notion of hosting a formal HOF induction banquet each year instead of pursuing a more minimalist approach that would involve little fanfare, such as the informal introduction of members during a sporting event.  Held annually at Forrest Grove Plantation each September, the popular banquet has become one of the most anticipated events on the city’s social calendar.  The affair is made possible through the gracious support of title sponsor Hood Dental Care and, before that, Sport-N-Center.
     In 2011, one hundred and fourteen years after the school’s founding, leaders created this prestigious Hall of Fame—now a decade old—to celebrate its rich sports tradition and to honor its many sports heroes.
     The four-member Steering Committee, which provided structure and gave birth to the institution, was then absorbed by an 11-member Selection Committee that meets each spring to review nominations and vote on that year’s class by secret ballot.  School officials have striven to protect the integrity of the selection process, understanding that holding the community’s trust is essential to the credibility and long-term success of the Hall of Fame.  To that end, DSHS relies solely upon the public to submit all nominations.
     Though DSHS has become the second largest high school in the state since its founding in 1897, for the most part it was considered a small country school.  Thus, all the more remarkable that it has produced such a surprising number of heralded sports figures.  Among its alumni are five prep All-Americans, seven collegiate All-Americans, four professional athletes, an Olympian, an NFL team president, and a Golden Spikes Award winner (college baseball’s equivalent to the Heisman Trophy).   
     Notable athletic achievements are state championships in baseball, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls softball, and girls bowling.  The 1972 Yellow Jacket football team came close to a state title, earning runner-up laurels in a fierce match versus Hahnville that ended in a 26-26 tie, losing the game–-and the title—on first downs in an era before overtime play was part of the game.
     One additional achievement, evidence of its solid reputation built over the past decade, is the HOF’s assistance to six other high schools seeking guidance in establishing such an institution on their campuses.

Member Demographics
      Currently the Hall of Fame has enshrined 73 sports greats, an average of eight per class, with pending inductions of another six whose installations were delayed until September of 2021 due to the pandemic.  Another such postponement occurred when The Great Flood of 2016 caused a deferment that year as well.  In an effort to jumpstart the long overdue recognition of Yellow Jacket greats, the first two classes (2011, 2012) were expanded to no more than 15 each.  Subsequent classes are limited to no more than eight each, although depending upon the size and quality of the nominee pool, the number varies from year to year. 
      Of the total membership, 20 are deceased including 11 whose inductions were posthumous.  Though all the inductees lived in Denham Springs during their high school years, their life journeys have taken some to other states—Texas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Virginia, New York, Arizona, and Washington—and one to a foreign country.  Katrina Hibbert, an exchange student from Australia who led the Lady Jackets basketball team to a storybook 37-0 season and a Class 5A state title in 1996, has since returned to live Down Under.
     Fifty-four of the 58 members inducted thus far in the “Athlete” category earned All State honors or were State Champions in individual sports such as tennis or track and field.  Some received this distinction more than once and some in more than one sport.  Ten coaches and only five supporters have been so honored, rounding out the 73 members.  The Yellow Jackets’ only three-sport, first team All State honoree—and thus considered the most well-rounded athlete in school history—is Cecil Harris who was lauded in basketball, baseball, and track and field during the 1960s. 
     While Cecil Harris may have been our most well rounded athlete, Ben McDonald is arguably the most celebrated and well known as a two-sport, two-time prep All State selection, a two-time collegiate All-American at LSU, winner of the prestigious NCAA Golden Spikes Award, a #1 draft pick in Major League Baseball, a gold medal Olympian, and an ESPN sports analyst. 
     On the other hand, Tasmin Mitchell is arguably the most heralded and decorated, having been a rare four-time prep All State choice (three-time MVP), a two-time prep All-American on three different teams (Parade, McDonald’s, EA Sports), the Grasshoops National Prep Freshman Player of the Year, a Louisiana Mr. Basketball selectee, Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year, a collegiate Freshman All-American at LSU, and a current LSU men’s assistant basketball coach.
     Not to be overshadowed in state and national honors is 2006 DSHS graduate Regena Jackson, easily the most decorated female athlete in school history.  A two-time prep All State basketball star for the Lady Jackets, she became a two-time NAIA All-American at Belhaven College where she was one of three NAIA National Player of the Year finalists her senior year.  Averaging 24 points per game, Jackson led the nation as the NAIA National Scoring Leader as a senior.  Her jersey is prominently displayed in the Ring of Honor at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee.
      In addition to their athletic achievements, many Hall of Fame members were campus leaders as well.  All State basketball stars Donald Ray Hood and Eddie Joe Jones, the latter who went on to become an NFL President with the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins, displayed exceptional leadership ability by serving as DSHS Class Presidents all four years of high school.  Selected as Mr. DSHS during their senior years were Hall of Famers Pee Wee Day, Butch Wax, Jim Kemp, Sam Digirolamo, and Jeff Harris.  Honored as Miss DSHS was All State basketball and track star, Nancy Davis McConnell.
     The many family ties represented among HOF members may suggest that good genes play a role in creating great athletes.  Fathers and sons Cecil and Jeff Harris, along with Van Foster Jr. and Van Foster III echo that sentiment, as do fathers and daughters George Meadors and Sarah Meadors Mestepey, plus Tony and Lisa Dugas.  All State basketball players Sammy Dixon Hannaman and Nikki Dixon Leader are sisters, while Joey Chustz and Jamie Chustz-Felder are brother and sister. Brothers Cecil and Raymond Harris, A. E. and Lathan Sutton, and Rogers and Randy Pope are further examples.  Prep football All-American Kelvin Robinson and his basketball star cousin, Drexel Robinson, also share family bonds.
     Of all those inducted into the Hall of Fame, only two athletes have been honored to perform in the prestigious LHSAA All Star Game in two different sports.  All State football and baseball great, Glenn Glass, participated in those two sports. All State basketball and softball star, Lisa Dugas, displayed her talent on the court and on the diamond.  At the collegiate level, the only Yellow Jackets to earn All SEC laurels are Katrina Hibbert, Russ Johnson, Ben McDonald, Tasmin Mitchell, and Shannon Roubique.  Hibbert was a three-time, first team All SEC basketball player at LSU.  Roubique was a three-time, first team All SEC football player at Auburn.

Dual HOF Members
     Before the DSHS Athletic Hall of Fame was established, the school was represented in the LHSAA Sports Hall of Fame by three legendary coaches and one legendary athlete.  Louis “Loodie” Carlisle was the first successful Jacket football coach of the modern era, enjoying a 66-31-9 record.  Having won a Class 2A state championship in 1964 while coaching at Assumption High of Napoleonville, he led DSHS to a Class 3A state runner-up finish to Hahnville in 1972.  His teams won three district titles and made 11 playoff appearances.  Carlisle was named District Coach of the Year four times.
     Former DSHS student-athlete-coach-athletic director-principal Butch Wax was the winningest football coach in school annals with a 152-84-2 career record, earning five district titles and making 19 post season appearances with four quarterfinal finishes.  He coached regular season undefeated teams in 1978 and 1983, plus one 12-win season, two 11-win seasons, and five 9-win seasons.  Wax was selected District Coach of the Year five times.
     Basketball mentor, Alton Leggette, was a fiery coach and masterful tactician who brought excellence to the DSHS boys basketball program after winning the Class C State Championship at Holden in 1963, building a remarkable 251-44 record in six seasons with the Rockets.  His Jacket teams enjoyed a 247-111 record, winning one district title and making three playoff appearances.  Widely respected within the coaching community, he was named Mr. Louisiana Basketball in 1990 and received the SLU Legends in Coaching Award in 1999.  During his career, Leggette was selected District Coach of the Year four times, Parish Coach of the Year six times, and Class C State Coach of the Year in 1963.
     The Jackets’ final member and only athlete in the LHSAA Sports Hall of Fame is Ben McDonald—superstar athlete at the high school, collegiate, professional, and Olympic levels.  In addition to receiving college baseball’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy as a senior at LSU, he was also named National College Player of the Year by Sporting News, Baseball America, and ESPN in his junior year.  He was a major league pitcher with the Baltimore Orioles for seven seasons and the Milwaukee Brewers for two before retiring after three shoulder surgeries.  McDonald is also a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches and the National College Baseball Hall of Fame located on the Texas Tech campus in Lubbock, Texas.
     Two-time National Prep All-American tennis sensation, Jana Garrison Orillion, and National Prep All-American football star, Kelvin Robinson, have been nominated to the LHSAA Sports Hall of Fame but not yet selected.  Robinson was the first high school All-American at DSHS in any sport.

Community Support
      Throughout the HOF’s ten years as the seat of athletic excellence in the community, local businesses and individual Jacket fans have been charitable with their support.  During the first year when the annual banquet, though well attended, lost about $300 because of associated expenses, Pee Wee Day recommended that local sponsors be solicited to underwrite the cost of plaques.  It is the custom to present inductees with a handsome keepsake plaque made of walnut with an 8X10 space to insert a photograph of the individual.  A separate metal and acrylic plaque bearing an etched likeness of the inductee is displayed in the Hall of Fame.  The two plaques, which cost a total of $400 annually are made by A-1 Awards, Inc. in Indianapolis.  Thus, they represent an expense of $3,200 for, say, an eight member Hall of Fame class.  The goodwill of local sponsors now absorbs this significant expense.
     In 2014 Stacy Phipps of Sport-N-Center was approached about becoming the first HOF title sponsor that would largely underwrite the expense of the catered banquet.  Following a generous five-year run as title sponsor, Sport-N-Center handed the mantle to Dr. Ed Hood of Hood Dental Care which is beginning its third year in that distinguished role.  The benevolent spirit of these two community leaders and former DSHS student-athletes cannot be overstated. 
     The Great Flood of 2016 caused the postponement of the annual banquet that year as well as the relocation of the Hall of Fame itself.  When floodwaters wrecked the former display area in Hornsby gym, Big Mike’s Sports Bar & Grill became the new home in 2019. The former site at DSHS offered limited public access since it was located on a closed campus.  The new site offered by Mike O’Neal provides unlimited access seven days a week during restaurant hours.  Local carpenter and handyman John Olivier created the handsome display, while local painter Lionel Kabel provided the attractive signage.

Yellow Jacket Firsts
      A number of Hall of Fame members were groundbreaking pioneers in DSHS athletics and the first to achieve some sports-related milestone. Rex Wilkinson is believed to be the first All State athlete on the first state championship team in school history (1923).  He is also believed to be the first to play men’s basketball at LSU.  Longtime DSHS principal of 35 years, Grady Hornsby, changed the school’s mascot from Tomcats to Yellow Jackets and adopted purple and gold as the school colors in 1930.  He also coached the first 11-man football team from 1930-1933.
     Bert Barnett, a two-sport All State honoree in basketball and track (1946), was the first to receive a full athletic scholarship in these sports at LSU.  Universally considered the Yellow Jackets’ first great football player, Randy Rushing was a two-time All State running back (1957, 1958), boasting a 13-yards per carry average with 1,873 yards as a junior and 1,862 yards as a senior.  He was also the first DSHS thinclad to break the 10-second barrier in the 100-yard dash with a 9.9 second record that still stands.
     Tom Kelly is believed to be the first to play football at LSU, as a walk-on freshman quarterback in 1960, and also the first to play four years of college football (LSU, USL).  Les O’Neal, an All State pitcher, was the first to sign a four-year athletic scholarship to play baseball at the college level (USL) in 1961, eventually earning All Gulf States Conference selection (twice) and Conference Player of the Year.  In 1963 Jim Spring became the first to receive a four-year athletic scholarship to play football at an SEC university (Tulane).  Slammin’ Sam Digirolamo was a 1968 All State linebacker and the first to sign a four-year athletic scholarship to play football at LSU.   
     During the era of school integration, Drexel Robinson was the first black athlete at DSHS to earn a four-year athletic scholarship in any sport at the collegiate level.  In 1973 he signed to play basketball at Louisiana College where he was honored as team captain three times and MVP twice.  He would later be inducted into the Louisiana College Sports Hall of Fame.  Rene Moseley Severio, a two-sport All State choice in basketball and track, was the first female athlete to receive an athletic scholarship in any sport to a four-year college (Northeast Louisiana) in 1980.  She was also the first to win an individual State Championship in track in any event, as a record-setting long distance runner with a time of 5:14 in the mile. 
     Jana Garrison Orillion shocked the tennis world as the first girl in Louisiana to win four consecutive high school State Championships (1983-1986).  She became a tennis superstar as the first two-time National Prep All-American (1985, 1986) in school history, boasting a career record of 65-1.  Considered the first great female softball player at DSHS, Shannon Covington Fuentes was a two-time All State pitcher with a 78-3 career record and a 50-game winning streak.  She led the Lady Jackets to state titles in 1986 and 1987.
     A two-sport All State star in football (1985) and baseball (1986), Glenn Glass was the first running back to break the single season rushing mark of 2,000 yards (2,036) and the first to rush for over 4,000 career yards (4,016), along with 39 career touchdowns.  Laurin Byars Garrison is the only DSHS coach in any sport to be directly involved in winning four state championships (1986, 1987, 1998, 2000), while also securing four state runner-up finishes.  As an assistant coach and co-head coach, her softball teams amassed a superb 479-123 career record. 
     Nikki Dixon Leader is the only Yellow Jacket in school history with the distinction of being an All State athlete (basketball/1964) and a two-time State Championship coach (softball/1986,1987).  She was also named District Coach of the Year in girls basketball eight consecutive seasons.  One-year Australian exchange student and All State basketball player, Katrina Hibbert, led the Lady Jackets to a state title in 1996 and, after a sterling career at LSU, became the first (and only) DSHS female athlete drafted into the WNBA (Seattle Storm) to play professional basketball.  In 1999 Joey Chustz became the first (and only) Jacket in school history to be drafted into the NFL (Jacksonville Jaguars) and play professional football, having been an All State pick at DSHS and All-America honoree at Louisiana Tech.

HOF Banquet
     The annual banquet at Forrest Grove is a dignified yet fun event that is well supported by the community.  Crowds typically exceed 200 attendees with a record turnout of 276 in 2017.  Shortly before the new members are introduced, deceased members are acknowledged individually with the clanging of a bell as their name is announced and their photo displayed.  The most anticipated happening of the banquet is the videotaped interview of each inductee, displayed on three large screens.  The interviews provide a delightful mix of humor, nostalgia, little-known sports tales, and great storytelling. 
     Orchestrating all the moving parts of the banquet agenda is the Emcee who must be organized, likeable, verbally facile, and sometimes humorous.  During the past decade, Hall of Fame emcees have included these local personalities—Pee Wee Day, Randy Smith, Doug Hughes, and Kelly Jones—all DSHS alumni who have each made the event memorable.  Only once has the banquet been headlined by a guest speaker, in 2018, when popular LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade filled the room with laughter, inside basketball nuggets, and colorful recruiting stories.
     Perhaps a bit old fashioned—yet jubilant in this setting on this nostalgic evening—the banquet concludes as the crowd is invited to give a rousing, pride-filled rendition of the school’s alma mater.
     The DSHS Athletic Hall of Fame has earned a reputation for integrity, for being well organized, for its classy banquet.  Thanks to the support of the Denham Springs community, the dedication of volunteers, and a pool of quality nominees, your Hall of Fame is well positioned for continued excellence in future decades.

Prep All-Americans            Collegiate All-Americans            Professional Athletes
Kelvin Robinson                   Ben McDonald                               Ben McDonald
Jana Garrison Orillion          Russ Johnson                                Russ Johnson
Ryan Byrd                            Joey Chustz                                   Katrina Hibbert
Tasmin Mitchell                    Tasmin Mitchell                             Joey Chustz       
Cade Doughty                      Regena Jackson
                                             Travis Swaggerty
                                             Abby O’Donohgue