Five former LSU athletes and coaches named to Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame’s 2023 class

·4 min read

Five former LSU players/coaches were recently named as 2023 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Inductees.

Paul Byrd, Walter Davis, Wendell Davis, Paul Mainieri and M.L. Woodruff are all going to be rightfully inducted into the Hall.

The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame already includes 25 Pro Football Hall of Fame members, 18 Olympic medalists — including 11 gold medal winners — 12 members of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, seven of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players, seven National Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, 42 College Football Hall of Fame members and nine National High School Hall of Fame enshrinees.

It also features jockeys with a combined 16 Triple Crown victories, six world boxing champions, nine Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinees, seven College Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, 10 College Basketball Hall of Fame members, four NBA Finals MVPs, four winners of major professional golf championships, five National Museum of (Thoroughbred) Racing and Hall of Fame inductees and two Super Bowl MVPs, per LSU.

Here’s a rundown of LSU’s additions and why each was chosen, according to the press release from the Tigers.

Paul Byrd

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Byrd starred on Skip Bertman’s first College World Series-winning club in 1991. He was then selected in the fourth round of the 1991 MLB draft by Cleveland. Byrd went on to a 14-year major league pitching career, compiling a 109-96 record with a 4.41 ERA for seven teams.

Walter Davis

Photo by ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP via Getty Images

Davis is a two-time Olympian in the horizontal jumps and a two-time World Games champion and a four-time medalist. The Arnaudville native and Beau Chene High graduate had a short, but a highly productive career at LSU from 2001-02 after transferring from Barton County (Kansas) Community College. In two seasons with the Tigers, he claimed six NCAA titles with victories in the indoor and outdoor triple jump in 2001 and ’02, the outdoor long jump in 2002, and the 4×100-meter relay in ’02, helping LSU win two of its six men’s national championships in the sport.

Wendell Davis

© RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

Wendell Davis was a two-time All-American in 1986 and ’87 when he teamed up with Louisiana Sports Hall of Famer [autotag]Tommy Hodson[/autotag]. Playing for the Tigers from 1984-87, the Shreveport-Fair Park product held most of the school’s receiving marks until 2001 Biletnikoff Award winner [autotag]Josh Reed[/autotag] came along. Among the marks, Davis set the record for receptions in a game (14), single-season catches (80), receiving yards (1,244), receiving TDs (11), and yards per game (113.1). Davis still holds the school mark for career receptions (183).

Paul Mainieri

(AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

During 15 seasons at LSU, he was 641-283-3 before stepping away because of recurring neck issues. His 2009 team won the CWS as the Tigers topped Texas, two games to one, in the championship series. During his time at LSU, where he played as a freshman in 1976, Mainieri’s teams won a CWS title, five NCAA super regionals, nine NCAA regionals, four Southeastern Conference regular-season titles, six SEC tournament titles, and six SEC Western Division crowns. Mainieri coached 13 first-team All-Americans at LSU and as of September 2022, 25 Tigers have reached the major leagues with 88 players being selected in the MLB draft during his tenure from 2007-21. He was a four-time National Coach of the Year.

M.L. Woodruff

M.L. Woodruff played his freshman season on the bayou for Mainieri’s LSU Tigers.

Woodruff became the head baseball coach, head basketball coach, and assistant football coach in 1982 at Parkview Baptist in Baton Rouge, where he spent the remainder of his 30-year teaching and coaching career before retiring in 2010. Aside from two years, while he served as the school’s full-time athletic director, Woodruff was the Eagles’ head baseball coach for 27 seasons while Parkview’s baseball program became one of the best in the state in all classes, winning 21 district titles and making 23 playoff appearances in his tenure.

Story originally appeared on LSU Tigers Wire