A strong class of six area standouts will be inducted into the Ark-La-Tex Sports Museum of Champions today during a ceremony recently at the Shreveport Convention Center.
The incoming group consists of retired Haynesville football coach of Alton “Red” Franklin, former Woodlawn, Northwestern and La. Tech football coach A.L. Williams, former Grambling and Atlanta Braves baseball player Ralph “Alligator” Garr, former Lady Techsters player and assistant coach Kim Mulkey, former Tech powerlifting coach Billy Jack Talton and Ruston Daily Leader sports editor O.K. “Buddy” Davis.
The inductees will meet with the public during an open reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m. prior to the banquet.
“We’re proud of every group of inductees we have, but this is another great one,” said Dr. George Bakowski, president of the museum board. “It’s a big event for us to put on, since we usually have about 400 people attend.”
The 2014 group will join nearly 130 past inductees including Doug Williams, Y.A. Tittle, Lee Hedges, Robert Parish, Vida Blue, David Toms and Martha Josey.
Franklin won 11 state football titles at Haynesville, while winning 27 district crowns and completing eight perfect seasons. He coached the Golden Tornados for 35 years, going 366-76-8.
“Words can’t describe it – it’s quite an honor to be a part of something with people like A.L. Williams and Lee Hedges,” Franklin told The Times. “And especially to go in with a class that includes someone like Kim Mulkey.”
Now coaching at Baylor, Mulkey won two national titles as a player and assistant coach for the Techsters and picked up two more in Waco, Texas. She is the first person in history to win an NCAA title as a player, assistant coach and head coach.
“A hall of fame is a hall of fame. Anytime people recognize you, it’s an honor,” Mulkey told The Times. “I’m looking forward to coming back to Louisiana and to seeing some familiar faces that I haven’t seen in years.”
Williams won a state title at Woodlawn and coached the Bulldogs to a 1-AA national runner-up finish in 1983. He coached standouts Terry Bradshaw, Bobby Hebert, Joe Delaney, Gary Reasons, Mark Duper, Petey Perot, Robert Pennywell, Sidney Thornton and Matt Stover.
A career .306 hitter mostly for the Atlanta Braves, Garr, 68, graduated from Ruston’s Lincoln High School before moving on to Grambling. He led the Tigers to a 35-1 regular season mark and batted .585. before getting picked in the third round of the 1967 MLB draft. The speedster won the 1974 National League batting title at .353 and had 149 hits before the All-Star break, a record that still stands.
Talton coached the men’s and women’s powerlifting teams at La. Tech to a combined 22 national titles during his 27 years at the helm. The Minden native played on the Crimson Tide’s 1956 state championship football team before playing at Tech for Joe Aillet. He also coached football at Bastrop, Captain Shreve, Northwestern and Cedar Creek.
Davis is receiving a lifetime achievement award for sports writing in Louisiana for more than 50 years. He suffered a stroke in July 2013 but continues to pen a column for the Ruston Daily Leader. Davis has reportedly written more than 45,000 stories during his career, winning numerous LSWA awards.