NATCHITOCHES, La. — A pair of six-time Pro Bowl NFL linemen, New Orleans Saints’ offensive guard Jahri Evans and Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams, join the late Tony Robichaux, No. 1 on the wins list for state college baseball coaches, among a star-studded group of nine 2022 competitive ballot inductees chosen for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Williams, a Ruston native, played in 46 games and started 33 for LSU, earning second-team All-America honors in his senior season of 2005 before 13 NFL seasons, all in Buffalo. When he retired, regarded as one of the franchise’s greatest leaders and the “heart and soul” of the Bills, Williams ranked fifth in team history in tackles (610) including a club-record 48.5 sacks by a defensive tackle. He played in 183 games, starting all but five after being a fifth-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. At Ruston High, where he is now the Bearcats’ defensive coordinator, he was the state’s Class 5A Defensive MVP as a senior.
The LSHOF Class of 2022 also includes two of the greatest women athletes in LSU history, three-time national champion gymnast Susan Jackson and two-time first-team All-America softball pitcher Britni Sneed Newman. Williams, a Ruston product who helped the Tigers’ football team win the 2003 national championship, is joined by another of LSU’s all-time great linemen, the late Eric Andolsek, and pro rodeo great Steve Duhon among the 2022 inductees.
Baton Rouge-Episcopal High School track and field/cross country coach Claney Duplechin enters the Hall next summer still active, with his boys cross country team aiming for its 26th consecutive state championship this fall among an astounding 63 LHSAA crowns EHS has claimed in his career. Rounding out the Class of 2022 is the late Dr. Eddie Flynn, who as a Loyola-New Orleans student won the 1932 Olympic welterweight boxing gold medal for the USA, the last gold medal for an American boxer for 20 Years.
The Class of 2022, announced Wednesday, will be enshrined Saturday, June 25, at the Hall of Fame’s home in Natchitoches to culminate the 63rd Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration June 23-25. A 40-member Louisiana Sports Writers Association committee selected the 2022 inductees. The panel considered 139 nominees from 26 different sport categories on a 33-page ballot.
Also to be spotlighted next summer will be three other Hall of Fame inductees, the winner of the 2022 Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award, and two recipients of the 2022 Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism presented by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, the parent organization of the Hall of Fame. Those inductees from contributor ballots will be announced later this year.
The complete 12-person Class of 2022 will swell the overall membership in the Hall of Fame to 468 men and women honored since its founding in 1958.
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