July 14, 2014
RUSTON - The 2014 induction class for the Ark-La-Tex Sports Museum of Champions will have a strong Louisiana Tech flavor when a total of six individuals are honored Aug. 2 at 7 p.m. in a ceremony at the Shreveport Convention Center.
The class includes former Tech football player and coach A.L. Williams, Lady Techster basketball standout and longtime assistant coach Kim Mulkey, Tech national champion weight lifting coach Billy Jack Talton and legendary Ruston Daily Leader sports editor O.K. "Buddy" Davis as well as Alton "Red" Franklin and Ralph "Road Runner" Garr.
"We're proud of every group of inductees we have, but this is another great one," said Dr. George Bakowski, chairman of the event, told Jimmy Watson of the Shreveport Times. "It's a big event for us to put on, since we usually have about 400 people attend."
An open house at the museum will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. that evening and is free to the public. Banquet tickets are $320 for a table of eight or $45 individually.
Mulkey, a native of Hammond and currently the women's basketball coach at Baylor, was the first person in history to win an NCAA national championship as a player, assistant coach and head coach. She won the first two titles in Ruston as a Lady Techster playing and coaching with Leon Barmore, who will introduce her at the banquet, and then won the third title as the coach of the Lady Bears in 2005.
"I am honored and humbled to be selected," Mulkey told The Times. "Although I am living in Texas now, Louisiana will always be considered home. My roots run deep in south and north Louisiana and I won't ever forget where I got my start. I am looking forward to induction."
A Haynesville native, Williams coached Woodlawn to the 1968 state football championship, the only one in school history, behind quarterback Joe Ferguson. He was the head football coach at both Northwestern State and Louisiana Tech, his alma mater. Williams coached Terry Bradshaw, Trey Prather, Billy Laird, John Booty, Bobby Hebert, Joe Delaney, Gary Reasons, Mark Duper, Petey Perot, Robert Pennywell, Sidney Thornton and Matt Stover.
Talton was born and raised in Minden and played on the Crimson Tide's 1956 state championship football team. He played at La. Tech under Joe Aillet before coaching at Bastrop, Captain Shreve, Northwestern and Cedar Creek. He received his doctorate degree at NSU before joining Tech and forming the powerlifting program he coached for 27 years. He won 11 men's and 11 women's collegiate lifting titles, the most in the history of the sport. He is a certified judge for international IPF, Special Olympics and Paralympics lifting meets.
Sports writing in Louisiana for more than 50 years, Davis recently received the Louisiana Sports Writers Association's lifetime achievement for writing approximately 45,000 stories in his career. He suffered a stroke in July 2013 but continues to pen a column for the Ruston Daily Leader. He has been inducted into the Louisiana Tech Sports Hall of Fame.
After playing football at Alabama and Louisiana College, Franklin assumed the head coaching job at Haynesville in 1967 and remained at the school for 35 years, winning 11 state football titles. His Golden Tornados were 366-76-8 during his tenure, while winning 27 district crowns and competing eight perfect seasons.
A career .306 hitter mostly for the Atlanta Braves, Garr, 68, graduated from Ruston's Lincoln High School before moving on to Grambling State University. 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.