Alan Faneca, Tom Benson top Louisiana Sports Hall class

NATCHITOCHES — Former LSU standout Alan Faneca, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, joins ex-major league pitcher Shane Reynolds and New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson to headline the eight-member 2014 induction class to be enshrined in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in June.

Tulane and NFL standout Lionel Washington, Baton Rouge-Catholic High cross country and track coach Pete Boudreaux and Olympic gold medalist Venus Lacy, who helped Louisiana Tech win the 1988 women’s basketball national championship, are also in the class. Basketball coach Beryl Shipley, who guided Louisiana-Lafayette to national prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and legendary Cottonport football player, coach and official Richard “Moon” Ducote will be honored posthumously.

Their selections were announced Saturday. They will be enshrined June 21 in Natchitoches.

A 30-member Louisiana Sports Writers Association committee selected the inductees. The panel considered 114 nominees from 26 sports categories, Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland said.

Faneca, a two-time All-America offensive lineman at LSU, was chosen for nine straight Pro Bowls as a guard during 13 NFL seasons with Pittsburgh (helping the Steelers win Super Bowl XL), the New York Jets and Arizona. He earned spots on the Steelers’ 75th anniversary team in 2007 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-2000s team.

Reynolds, a Bastrop native who played at Monroe’s Ouachita Christian High School, pitched 13 major league seasons for Houston, Atlanta and Arizona, and he played in the 2000 All-Star Game. He won 114 games overall and was a career-best 19-8 in 1998.

Benson has been at the forefront of sports in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana since buying the Saints in 1985 and quickly transforming a moribund franchise into a playoff team, including the Super Bowl XLIV triumph. In March 2012, he bought the NBA’s franchise in New Orleans, and the renamed Pelicans have emerged as one of the league’s most exciting young teams.

Washington, a cornerback at Tulane from 1979-82, had a productive 15-year NFL career with three teams (the Cardinals, Raiders and Broncos), intercepting 37 passes. He played in 204 games, starting 165, with a career-high eight interceptions with St. Louis in 1985. Washington now is co-defensive coordinator at his alma mater.

Boudreaux has coached 39 state championship teams and another 21 runner-up squads in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field. Sixteen of the state titles and 10 runner-up finishes have been in cross country. His track teams at Catholic have had the four best scores in Class 5A state meets, and the Bears cross country teams have the three best scores posted in state championship competition.

Lacy is the career scoring leader (20 points per game) for the Lady Techsters. A center on Tech’s 1988 NCAA champions, she won the 1990 national Player of the Year award from the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and ended her career playing for the 1996 USA Olympic gold medalists, then with two WNBA seasons in New York.

Shipley won 70 percent of his games in 16 seasons at UL-Lafayette, guiding the Cajuns to six top-20 rankings, the last two years in the major college polls. He was the first coach at a predominantly white state university in the Deep South to award scholarships to black student-athletes, a groundbreaking move during the 1960s.

Ducote, a football legend at Auburn and in the early days of pro football, was compared to the great Jim Thorpe by Chicago Bears owner and coach George Halas, and he was later an assistant football coach and head basketball coach at LSU. An end, halfback and fullback at Auburn, he also was a sensational kicker. Iconic coach Pop Warner said he had never seen a better player.

The eight inductees raise the total of Hall of Fame members to 310 since the first induction class was enshrined in 1959 after their election a year earlier.

The 2014 induction celebration kicks off June 19 with a news conference and reception. It includes three receptions, a youth sports clinic and a June 20 celebrity pro-am golf scramble at Oak Wing Golf Course. Tickets for the induction dinner and ceremonies and golf entries will go on sale this spring at LaSportsHall.com.

Also to be honored at the event will be two more Hall of Fame inductees: the winner of the 2014 Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award and the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism presented by the LSWA.

Those recipients will be announced in January.