Stovall ready to complete journey

Show caption
BILL HABER /
Former LSU coach and football player Jerry Stovall holds his certificate showing his selection to the College Football Hall of Fame during the LSU-Alabama game in Tiger Stadium in November.

Jerry Stovall joined other members of the College Football Hall of Fame’s latest class for an induction dinner in December, seven months after learning of his election to college football’s most prestigious fraternity.

Saturday night in South Bend, Ind., when a weekend of festivities culminates with the College Football Hall of Fame’s annual Enshrinement Show, the former LSU halfback will complete the journey.

Stovall, 70, becomes the 12th former LSU player or coach to be enshrined.

The 1962 Heisman Trophy runner-up said he and his wife, Judy, would be joined in South Bend by their two children, Jay and Jodi, and five grandchildren.

“From the time they call you to say you’ve been elected, you don’t realize the magnitude of what it is,” Stovall said. “This is a little more special (than previous Hall of Fame-related events) because you’re going to get the jacket and you’re going to have your family there with you.”

Stovall is one of 20 players or coaches set for enshrinement. Other members of the class include Barry Alvarez, Desmond Howard, Gene Stallings and Pat Tillman, who was elected posthumously.

Fans can visit www.footballfoundation.org for live coverage of the two-hour long Enshrinement Show, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m. CDT.

Stovall, a West Monroe native, signed with LSU on the heels of its 1958 national championship season and in 1960 replaced Billy Cannon as the team’s left halfback.

Playing during the two-way era, Stovall compiled 1,081 yards rushing and 452 receiving in his career and intercepted seven passes on defense. On special teams, he punted 165 times for 6,477 career yards (a 39.3-yard average) and gained nearly 700 yards in the return game.

Stovall led LSU to the Southeastern Conference championship as a junior.

As a senior, only Oregon State quarterback Terry Baker, who edged Stovall by 89 points in the Heisman Trophy voting, kept Stovall from joining Cannon as LSU’s lone recipients of the coveted bronze statuette.

Stovall went on to play nine seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals after being selected with the second pick of the 1963 NFL draft.

In 1980, after LSU coach Bo Rein died in a plane crash before coaching his first game, Stovall was the choice to guide his alma mater through a tumultuous transition. He would go 22-21-2 in four seasons.

Today, Stovall serves as the president/CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Sports Foundation, a job he’s held since 1994.