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Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches Hall moves to Old State Capitol

 Basketball Hall moves to Old State Capitol

The Advocate by Sheldon Mickles

After being housed for years in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, the Hall of Fame is now located in the Louisiana Old State Capitol.

The dedication was held Wednesday with Secretary of State Jay Dardenne, whose staff oversees 14 state museums, presiding over a ceremony that also included five Hall of Fame members.

Among them was former Nicholls State coach Don Landry, who founded the Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches, which sponsors the Hall of Fame.

Also on hand were former LSU stars Frank Brian, Joe Dean and Rudy Macklin, and former University of Louisiana standout Dean Church.

Uniforms, plaques, portraits and other memorabilia from Louisiana’s basketball greats are now on display in a first-floor room of the building.

“I’m excited because this building has been a Louisiana political history museum,” said Dardenne, who unabashedly described himself as a huge basketball fan.

“So much history has been made upstairs in this building. But it’s taking on a different direction with the opening of the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame.”

The Hall of Fame exhibit was previously displayed on the PMAC concourse. But when the arena was renovated, the Hall had to find a new home.

“The pictures, plaques and artifacts of the players and coaches that are so much a part of Louisiana history needed a home,” Dardenne said. “And we had a room for it.”

Landry said when the LABC was formed back in 1974, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches, which he said is the preeminent athletic hall in the state, had just three basketball players.

“Because Louisiana was known as a football state, we thought that we had to promote basketball,” said Landry, now retired and living in Baton Rouge.

“We decided that we needed our own Hall of Fame. Now, we’re in one of the most historic buildings in the state, and we’re proud of that.


“We have so many historic things that people will enjoy.”


Scott Landry, the executive secretary of the LABC and the son of Don Landry, said the Hall of Fame includes 111 members — with many of them bringing attention to Louisiana for their exploits in college and the NBA.

Among them, he said, are national coaches and players of the year, six of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (Bob Pettit, Pete Maravich, Shaquille O’Neal, Willis Reed, Karl Malone and Robert Parish) and four of the top eight players in Southeastern Conference history (Pettit, Maravich, O’Neal and Chris Jackson).

Don Landry said the exhibit is far from complete. But among the artifacts on display are the ball Pettit used when he became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer in 1964, the uniform worn by Brian in the first NBA all-star game, Reed’s New York Knicks uniform and the U.S. Olympic uniform of Glynn Saulters.

Also in the collection is Dardenne’s prized Pete Maravich scrapbook, which is filled with newspaper clippings Dardenne compiled while growing up in Baton Rouge.

For more information, visit the LABC’s Web site at www.Labball.com.

The Old State Capitol is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. There is no admission charge.

March 20, 2008