What got them there? Allen, Williams are undeniable inductees

There’s no question, certainly not from the selection committee for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, that Ruston native and resident Kyle Williams, and Louisiana Tech graduate and longtime staff member Teddy Allen are among the most remarkable figures in state sports history.

They are being enshrined in the LSHOF this weekend in Natchitoches. Both proved to be “no-doubters” in the selection voting, each earning induction in his first time on the ballot. A review of their credentials shows why.

KYLE WILLIAMS:  A homegrown LSU All-American, the Ruston native became a six-time Pro Bowler after being a fifth-round draft pick (134th overall) of the Buffalo Bills in 2006. Williams played 183 games (starting 178) at defensive tackle in 13 NFL campaigns for Buffalo, retiring at the end of the 2018 season as one of the most accomplished, admired and recognizable players in Bills history.

In college, Williams played in 46 games with 33 starts and was a second-team AP All-American as a senior, two years after cracking the starting lineup and helping the Tigers claim the BCS national title and Southeastern Conference crown in 2003. He had 140 tackles with 26 tackles for loss and 16½ sacks in his LSU career.

At Ruston High, Williams – also a baseball letterman and a shot-putter in track and field — earned Class 5A Defensive MVP honors with 78 tackles, 17 for losses, seven sacks, four fumble recoveries and an interception as a senior after helping the Bearcats reach the 1998 state finals as a freshman, running for 942 yards and 14 TDs.

His background as a Ruston RB came in handy in the Bills’ 2017 season finale, when he ran for a 1-yard TD at Miami and that win lifted Buffalo into the playoffs for the first time in 17 years.

Individually, his best NFL season came in 2013 with 10.5 sacks, 68 tackles and 22 quarterback hits. When he retired, Williams ranked second in franchise history in tackles (609), sixth in sacks with 48 ½, still best ever by a Bills’ tackle.

As a golfer, Williams was runner-up in the sports celebrity-laden 2020 American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe, after earning a berth in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship in 2019. He was an outstanding junior golfer.

Williams, who turned 39 on June 10, was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2021.

TEDDY ALLEN:  One of Louisiana’s most acclaimed writers, of sports and other things, “T.A.” has piled up awards from the LSWA and elsewhere since the mid-1980s while working for the Shreveport Journal and The Times in Shreveport, then for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, first covering LSU and then expanding his role as primary columnist.

He was a featured columnist for Gannett’s north Louisiana papers for nearly three decades after relocating to the 318 area code, and now is reaching an appreciative audience with the Online Journals group, featuring the Lincoln Parish Journal.  He is the author of three books.

In 2008, Allen returned to his beloved alma mater, Louisiana Tech (bachelor’s 1982, master’s 1984), as a writer in the university’s communications department, while doing extensive radio broadcasting over the last decade for Tech sports (football color analyst, and recently, some baseball play-by-play) and serving as a master of ceremonies for many events at the university and for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame for the better part of the last two decades. 

For his sports writing, the 62-year-old Shreveport resident has multiple times won the Associated Press Sports Editors national feature writing award and the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Story of the Year, Columnist of the Year, and Sportswriter of the Year awards.

For his metro columns, he has won both the Ernie Pyle Award as the top columnist in Mississippi and Louisiana and Columnist of the Year in the Louisiana Press Association.  Allen’s work has been featured in the Poynter Institute’s annual “Best Newspaper Writing.”

He is co-founder, along with his college buddy John James Marshall, of DesignatedWriters.com, an online publication including columns, features and videos. Allen enters the Hall as a 2022 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

There’s still time to participate in the LSHOF Induction Celebration. Visit LaSportsHall.com or call 318-332-8539. Some events, including tonight’s La Capitol Welcome Reception from 5-7 at the LSHOF museum, are free.

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