By Malcolm Butler
I’ve been a part of plenty of wonderful events during my quarter of a century as part of the Louisiana Tech Athletics Department.
Plenty of them. More than I can remember.
But I won’t soon forget last night. It was on a Hall of Fame level.
Louisiana Tech honored its three Pro Football Hall of Famers and three of its four Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famers during a two-hour ceremony that started on the Thomas Assembly Center floor and concluded in the newly unveiled Sarah and A.L. Williams Champions Plaza.
Terry Bradshaw. Fred Dean. Karl Malone. Kim Mulkey. Willie Roaf. Teresa Weatherspoon.
I would challenge any school — much less a non-Power 5 — to find a better six-some to represent it. And just for good measure, I would raise them a Leon Barmore, also a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame who was honored two years ago with his statue.
Did you know that Tech’s four Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famers is more than some basketball-rich schools like Syracuse, Arizona, Duke, Louisville, Michigan and Oklahoma to name a few? Did you know its three Pro Football Hall of Famers is the second most by any FBS non-Power 5 program?
Louisiana Tech has been blessed with not just great student-athletes, but some of the greatest to ever play the game. And they have now been immortalized.
Bronze statues. Six of them will forever reside in the Sarah and A.L. Williams Champions Plaza in the north endzone of Joe Aillet Stadium. In a few more years the plaza will be part of the entry way into the Origin Bank Student-Athlete Success Center, a two-story facility that will serve and house the athletics academic center.
What better way for current day Tech student-athletes to enter a facility that will assist each and every one of them in earning their college degree. Why not walk past six of the greatest student athletes to ever don a Louisiana Tech uniform.
Motivates me just thinking about it. I may have made better grades at Tech if I had been able to walk by those six every day.
Wednesday night’s ceremony was flawless, outside of the stupid emcee (that would be me) somehow skipping over the biggest man in the building (that would be Willie Roaf) when doing the initial introductions of the six honorees. Thankfully, Willie was good natured about my opening drive fumble.
As my emceeing buddy Teddy Allen and I sat down, one by one, with each of the six and talked about their memories from the good ole days of the red and blue, one consistent message was communicated by each: their love and appreciation for their alma mater.
Stories were told. Tears were shed. Laughs were had. And I think everyone in attendance could have listened to much more from each of the six Tech legends.
If you get a chance, I encourage you to drive by the Sarah and A.L. Williams Champions Plaza and check out the statues created by world-renowned sculptor Brian Hanlon. It was a Hall of Fame effort by Brian.
And a Hall of Fame night for sure.