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Story Archives: Fugler slighted again
|Fugler slighted again|
This weekend, a new set of inductees will join the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, whose new facility will be completed by the spring of next year in Natchitoches.
This year's class includes Morten Andersen, Kyla Hall, Skipper Heard, Vaughan Johnson, Buford Jordan, Don Shows, Todd Walker and Slick Watts, all deserving selections.
That is outstanding for Louisiana and Natchitoches, the home site of the museum.
And it's a great tribute to athletes who not only thrilled sports fans in Louisiana, but all over the nation.
The Louisiana State Museum system is spearheading construction on the
27,500-square foot museum building on Front Street in the National Historic
District of Natchitoches.
Construction began in 2008-09 with site demolition and preparation, continued last spring with utility relocation and drainage work along with the pilings and foundation work.
The Hall of Fame itself will occupy the first floor of the new museum, with the second floor showcasing Louisiana's Sports Paradise, a blend of sports history and culture, along with half of the second floor housing the Northwest Louisiana Regional History Museum, now currently the state-run Old Courthouse Museum in Natchitoches.
The final product will be awesome.
But I'm afraid the museum will never be all the way complete until Ferriday native Max Fugler has his painting hanging in that building.
Obviously, it's hard to argue with the folks currently hanging in those halls.
Members of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association began planning a
Hall of Fame to honor the state's outstanding athletes and coaches as far back as 1951, but the first election to the hall was not held until 1958.
The three charter members of the organization — Gaynell Tinsley, Tony
Canzoneri and Mel Ott — were inducted during the Ark-La-Tex Sports Award
Banquet in Shreveport in 1959.
Three honorees were selected annually for several years and were inducted
during the Shreveport banquet. Later inductions were held in different areas of the state, including Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Several members of the Hall of Fame were inducted at LSU football games and
televised basketball games, and others were taken into the shrine during the VFW Sports Awards Banquets in New Orleans.
Although LSWA members presented plaques to 41 Hall of Fame honorees and
conducted induction ceremonies for the shrine members each year, there was never an actual Hall of Fame in the state until the facility was established at Northwestern State in Natchitoches in 1972 by co-chairmen Jerry Pierce and Jim McLain, with the support of NSU President Dr. Arnold Kilpatrick.
Portraits of a few of the members were placed in Shreveport for a brief period, but the establishment of the Hall of Fame at Prather Coliseum was the first formal inauguration of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Following the 2011 inductions, over 240 members will have entered the shrine since the Hall of Fame was opened in Natchitoches.
The LSWA's dream of developing a true museum that showcases not only the art and artifacts, but provides a captivating experience for visitors and
repository for state sports history, is becoming reality.
The Hall of Fame was accepted into the state museum system in the 2003 state legislative session.
The current Hall of Fame collection includes color portraits of the 277 members and a continually growing of items such as baseballs, footballs, bats, gloves, jerseys, golf clubs, helmets, shoes and other memorabilia contributed to the shrine by Hall of Fame members and their families.
It also includes the Grits and Mary Gresham Collection showcasing hunting, fishing and the outdoors.
Items representative of major events in state sports history, such as the 2007 LSU football national championship and the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl XIV title, have also been donated to the Hall.
It has everything a state sports fan could ask — except Max Fugler.
Fugler was part of Ferriday High football teams of the 1950s that lost only four games over four years and won four state championships.
Fugler and Frank Brocato were the lone Bulldogs to letter five years as both played as eighth-graders.
Fugler was part of a 54-game streak without a loss still stands today as the longest in the state. Fugler was also a big part of LSU's 1958 national championship team, earning the Iron Man Award in the 1958 championship season, leading the team in minutes played, averaging more than 35 minutes of playing time a game.
Fugler played on high school and college teams that combined to go 68-8-0 while he was a member of those teams.
Fugler was the first high school All-American at Ferriday High. He had the fortune of playing under Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame coach Johnny "Red" Robertson, who was deservedly inducted in 2003.
Fugler was the 10th pick in the eighth round, being selected by the San Francisco 49ers as the 94th overall player taken in the 1960 Draft. He was also drafted by the Boston Patriots of the AFL.
Fugler's NFL career ended in his rookie year when he tore cartilage in his knee while making a block against Cleveland. That was a much more serious injury back in the 1960s.
The New Orleans Saints began their franchise in 1968 and Saint head coach Tom Fears offered Fugler a contract four different times.
Fugler turned him down because he didn't want to take the chance of injuring his knee permanently.
Fugler is just one of several successful stories in the state of Louisiana.
Here's hoping another year doesn't pass without him getting recognized for that success.
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