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Mr. Hollis Conway



Home Phone:
Work Phone:
Assistant Director for Diversity, Leadership, & Education 2018
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President of Overcoming Obstacles, Inc.,
A non-profit motivational speaking company.
Hollis Conway Website address is http://www.hollisconway.com

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Sept. 15, 2015

Ragin' Cajuns Legend Hollis Conway Named to National Track & Field Induction Class

INDIANAPOLIS – Two-time Olympic medalist and former Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns track and field athlete Hollis Conway was one of six members named to the 42nd National Track and Field Hall of Fame induction class, announced on Tuesday at USA Track and Field.

The reigning American indoor record holder in the high jump, Conway is joined in the 2015 class by four-time World Champion Allen Johnson, Ralph Mann, Al Blozis, Jack Torrance and coach Harry Gill.

The group will be honored on Oct. 29 at USATF's Black Tie and Sneakers Gala, hosted at the Armory Track and Field Center in New York City.

Conway, a six-time NCAA All-American, three-time NCAA champion for the Ragin' Cajuns and current American record-holder in the indoor high jump, claimed the silver medal in the high jump at the 1988 Games in Seoul, Korea before adding a bronze medal at the 1992 Games in Barcelona. The former Ragin' Cajun broke three American records in his collegiate career, jumping 7-9 ¾ at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, 7-9 ¼ at the NCAA Indoor Championships and 7-10 at the U.S. Olympic Festival.

He set the current American indoor record of 7-10 ½ in 1991 to win the gold medal at the World Championships in Seville. Conway was ranked No. 1 in the United States in the high jump from 1988-94 and was No. 1 in the world rankings in 1990-91.

A four-year letterwinner on the track from 1986-89, Conway was named the Outstanding Performer at the 1988 American South Conference Championships and claimed six conference titles, including long jump titles at the 1988 and 1989 ASC Championships.

Conway claimed the gold medal at both the 1991 Pan American Games and the World University Games. Conway competed three times in the World Track and Field Championships, earning a bronze medal at the 1991 Games. In his career, Conway recorded 76 jumps of over 7-6 ¼, posted 29 jumps of over 7-8 and three jumps over 7-10.

An Olympic champion, four-time World Outdoor champion and former world record holder, Johnson is one of the most decorated 110-meter hurdlers of all-time.

Mann won the silver medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich and is actively engaged in the sport as one of the world's premier sport scientists. Shot put legends Torrance, who set three world records, and Blozis, who dominated the world list, join Mann as veteran athlete inductees.

Inducted as a Hall of Fame coach is Gill, who organized the very first NCAA championship in any sport before leading the University of Illinois to a combined 22 Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
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LHSAA: Perron, Koenig, Conway among Hall of Famers

Daily Advertiser, November 30, 2010

Special to the Advertiser
BATON ROUGE " Two former coaches from the Acadiana area and a famous athlete who competed at UL at the collegiate level are on the list of honorees to be inducted into the the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame on Jan. 26 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel & Conference Center.

Donnie Perron, a former state championship football coach at Port Barre, and former Delcambre coach Dahrie Koenig will be recognized, while eventual Olympian and UL All-American Hollis Conway of Shreveport's Fair Park High will be recognized.

The other honorees will be basketball star Alana Beard, multisport standout Dan Childress, track and field Olympian Hollis Conway, basketball pioneer Gayle Hatch and competitor-coach Frances Lyles.

Perron's coaching career began in 1971 at Port Sulphur, but he is best known for the 26 years he spent as football coach at Port Barre, winning a Class 2A state title in 2002 and recording a runner-up finish in 1999.

During his career, Perron tallied a record of 257-93 for a .793 winning percentage. His teams won 14 district football titles. Perron also coached Port Sulphur to a state track title in 1974.

Koenig was a successful volleyball, track, cross country and girls basketball coach for Delcambre starting in the early 1970s. She helped start all three girls programs at the school and spent 28 years as head volleyball coach, winning a state title in 1984 and posting two runner-up finishes.

In track, Koenig coached state-meet qualifiers for 26 straight years and had four state runner-up finishers. She coached the DHS girls basketball team to a district title in 1981.

Beard, a WNBA standout with the Washington Mystics, is among the youngest inductees selected to join the Louisiana High School Athletic Association-Louisiana High School Coaches Association honor group.

During her four-year career at Shreveport's Southwood High, Beard played on four Class 5A state championship teams. She posted a career average of 17.7 points per game and is Southwood's all-time leader in scoring and steals.

Beard scored a tournament-record 48 points in the 2000 title game.

Childress competed in football, baseball and track for Ruston High from 1980-83 and led the Bearcats to the Class 4A state football title in 1982 while playing for his father, Hall of Famer Chick Childress.

Along the way, Childress set school records for attempts (475), completions (278), yardage (3,350) and touchdowns (29). In baseball, he was an outfielder and had a three-year batting average of .356, including a .401 mark as a senior. He was a district track champion in the javelin.

Conway prepped at Shreveport's Fair Park High and went on to become one of the nation's most recognized track athletes, earning silver and bronze Olympic medals in the high jump.

At Fair Park, Conway excelled in all three jumps, winning individual state titles in both the high jump and triple jump in indoor and outdoor track in 1985. He set four state-meet records in winning the 1985 high jump, ultimately jumping 7 feet, 2 inches.

Hatch is perhaps best known as an Olympic weightlifting coach who led the U.S. team in the 2004 Olympics. Long before that, Hatch was a basketball standout who netted high school all-America honors during a four-year career at Catholic High-Baton Rouge that ended in 1957.

As senior in 1956-57, Hatch averaged 34.5 points and 22.5 rebounds per game in the playoffs and was the state's top scorer. He also lettered three years in both football and track.

Lyles played for Hall of Fame coach Edna "Tiny" Tarbutton during the golden era of Baskin High girls basketball in the late 1940s and went onto coach at Bastrop, Crowville and Mangham.

As a player, Lyles averaged 16 points per game, earned all-state honors twice and was part of teams that combined for a 135-0 record through 1949-50. Lyles coached Bastrop to a state runner-up finish in girls basketball and compiled a 185-91 record at Mangham from 1976-87.

She also won three state titles in girls track.

----------------------------------------Hollis Conway featured in July 2007 Athletic Network Spotlight on Former Athlete---------------------------------------

If one clicks on the banner (Spotlight on Former Athlete) on the right of the AN News, they will be taken to the profile of Hollis Conway, Track 1986-1989. Learn about his Olympic performances, his induction into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, his All-American years at UL and what he is doing now.

Dr. Authement, Verlie (Mrs. Floyd) Sonnier, Gil Sonnier (son), and Hollis Conway during presentation of "The Outstanding Alumni Awards" to Floyd Sonnier (posthumously) and Hollis Conway at the UL vs. Troy State Homecoming Game, Oct. 29, 2005.
(picture located in Photo Gallery)

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Conway Seeks to Inspire Others

Marsha Sills

With candid honesty, two-time Olympic high-jumper Hollis Conway told students that no goal is out of reach.

"I've been down many times, but being down is not the problem - staying down is the problem," Conway said.

The bronze and silver Olympic medalist spoke to students at the University of Louisiana on Friday.

This year, he and the late Floyd Sonnier have been honored as outstanding alumni recognized by the Alumni Association during Homecoming.

In 1995, an injury kept him from competing. He hoped the next year would be his comeback, but he didn't make the Olympic team and, later that year, tore his Achilles tendon.

"Not only athletically were my dreams challenged, but financially I was challenged," Conway said. "It challenged every aspect of me. I learned there's more inside me than the ability to be a one-hit wonder."

So, he searched within and found another passion - motivational speaking. He has his own company, Overcoming Obstacles Inc., and travels the country talking to students and corporate executives.

He shared his background growing up as a kid in Shreveport in poverty with family members who used drugs and sisters who had children while still in high school.

"I had every conceivable circumstance not to do anything with my life ... but the thing is, I made different choices. ... What you have to accomplish is bigger than your circumstances," Conway said.

It was an attempt to get a girlfriend that led him to become an athlete. He couldn't make the cut for the football team and nearly made the basketball team. He said his first jump over the bar for the high jump landed him out of the pit and onto the ground.

"The coach had to bring me home," he said. "There was no evidence that I would be anything."

However, slowly, practice after practice, the bar rose higher.

"By the time I got to USL, I was jumping seven feet, six inches, my freshmen year."

While at UL, Conway was a six-time All-American. He won the silver in high jump at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 while he was still a student and in 1992, won the bronze in Barcelona.

At UL, Conway was an athletic coordinator for students and taught athletes academic skills. On Friday, several student athletes attended Conway's presentation.

It wasn't the first time that Luke Aubrey, a freshman on UL's football team, heard Conway speak.

"I respect the man for everything he did," said Aubrey, a freshman majoring in finance. Last year, Conway spoke at Aubrey's high school, Teurlings Catholic. The Olympic athlete left an impression.

"I remember being impressed with his work ethic and his having a desire for what he does," Aubrey said.

Many athletes taking a study skills attended the presentation by the Olympic athlete.

"We felt it would be good for them to listen to a former student athelte who's accomplished so much," said Lane Luneau, academic counselor in the Student Athlete Academic Center.

The academic center has a "wall of fame" reserved for Conway, said student worker, Danica McKeever.

"He's a great man, and I'm proud to be able to attach his accomplishments to UL," said McKeever, a senior majoring in secondary education.

Originally published October 29, 2005

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Excerpts taken from Dan McDonald's June 27, 2004 story entitled, "Conway Tops Prestigious Hall Class" are as follows:

Hollis Conway's life has always been about takeoffs and landings, a fact that both he and former coach Dick Booth talked about here Saturday night.

"Who would have thought that skinny kid from Shreveport would ever be world-class at anything," Booth told an audience of over 500 at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet. "But that wasn't luck and it wasn't a fluke."

It was not a fluke that Conway became a two-time Olympic medalist and a six-time NCAA All-American in the high jump, and it wasn't luck that landed him in this year's seven-man class of inductees to the state's sports shrine.

Of the 229 Hall of Famers, Conway might have had the biggest banquet impact of any on a pound-for-pound basis. The self-proclaimed "skinny, nappy-headed kid" who now works for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes was the first in recent years to draw revival-type response from the audience during his acceptance speech.

"Literally, my life has been a series of takeoffs and landings," he said. "From my parents, to the friends I have and the FCA, they helped build me up for a takeoff and helped me land a life of character and moral structure.

Conway was a hall selection in his first year of eligibility due to his athletic prowess, including a career-best 7 foot-10 1/2inch lead that is still an American Indoor Record. Booth, for one, wasn't surprised at that success after seeing Conway's work ethic.

"He was, without question, the hardest worker I've ever seen," Booth said in his introduction. "He was always making sure that nobody was gaining on him."

"We had trouble find a hill to work out on in Lafayette, until we discovered the Tunnel of Love," Booth said of the tunnel that led from the UL Athletic Complex to the Cajun Field playing surface. We found out if you ran up, it was good for you, if you hopped up it on one foot it was better, if you did that carrying weights it was a lot better, and if you did that pulling a cart of weights behind you it was really good for you."

But Conway made an impact on Booth and his taammates in more ways than clearing ever-higher crossbars.

"Hollis had nothing but friends," Booth said. He proved you can be a ferocious competitor but still be friendly. In 38 years of coaching, Hollis Conway is at the top of my blessings, not just because of his athletic skills, but because of his life skills."

Conway began naive
Dan McDonald

August 11, 2004

Former UL Lafayette high jumper Hollis Conway participated in two Olympic Games.Hollis Conway doesn�t remember much of the pomp and pageantry that surrounds the Olympic Games.

But ask him about the high jump action at either of his Olympic journeys, and he can conjure up virtually every detail.

�I went there with the purpose of winning a medal, and not getting caught up in what was going on around me,� said Conway, the only American in history to win two Olympic high jump medals. �I remember the competition at both places ... every jump.�

Conway was only a sophomore in college at UL Lafayette when he qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team for the Games of the XXIV Olympiad in Seoul, Korea. That was before he began his streak of being ranked first in the U.S. in the high jump for seven straight years.

With no expectations, he jumped a personal-best 7-8 3/4 in Seoul to win the silver medal. Four years later, he added a bronze medal to his collection when he cleared 7-8 in Barcelona, Spain in the XXV Olympiad.

�I didn�t realize what was going on at the time,� Conway said. �I didn�t know how important it was. I was just out there jumping and having fun. I had no idea what the Olympics meant or what winning a medal meant.�

The six-time All-American at then-USL was an international neophyte when he won the U.S. Trials in 1988, and found himself suddenly thrust into the world�s track and field spotlight. And, while most of the world�s athletes had tunnel-vision for their events, Conway made the rounds in Seoul throughout the Games.

�I had two or three meets in Europe in 1987, and that was about it,� he said. �There were so many good jumpers in the U.S. then. I won at the Trials when I wasn�t expected to, and I went to Seoul and had a great time.

�I went to watch the gymnastics and seeing all the girls that looked like they were five or six years old. Brad Gilbert gave me some tickets and I went and watched him play tennis.�

One excursion was to a barbecue open to members of the U.S. team, one held at the military base near the demilitarized zone that separated North and South Korea.

�We were in all the nice facilities and buildings in Seoul,� Conway said, �but when you traveled to the base you saw the people out in the rice fields, the extreme poverty there was. It was an awakening for me. You start realizing that you pay a price for everything. As athletes, we get caught up in another world, and we forget about the real world.�

He also vividly remembers his walks into Olympic Stadium, the first for the Opening Ceremonies and the others coming more than a week for the high jump competition. And he said he needed the time in between to recover.

�The Opening Ceremonies are so tiring,� he said. �What happens is that you line up by country, so we�re way in the back (with the U.S.). We�re standing out behind the stadium in 100 degrees in slacks and blazers for two or three hours. All those beautiful ceremonies that people are watching on TV, we�re not seeing because we�re not in the stadium yet.

�By the time you get into the stadium, you walk around the track and stand in the middle of the field until it�s over. You�re on your feet at least five hours. It�s wonderful to be a part of, but it doesn�t help you get ready to compete.�

When it became time for the competition, that�s when the Olympic experience started hitting home for the Shreveport native.

�When you march out with the other jumpers, you start hearing people call your name and yelling �U-S-A�,� he said. �That�s a very exciting moment. That�s when you realize that you�re representing this country and all those people, and that�s an awesome task. It�s something I never took lightly. Most Americans don�t get to experience that.�

Conway was more than representative of his country, setting a U.S. collegiate record with his silver-medal jump that was bested only by Russia�s Guennadi Avdeenko (7-9 3/4).

�The reason Hollis was able to do that was his work ethic,� said former Cajun track coach Dick Booth, now associate head coach at Arkansas. �He wasn�t going to be outworked by anybody. If anything, he might have worked too hard and it took a toll on his body.�

Four years after his Seoul experience, he equaled the best mark in the competition in Barcelona, finishing third on misses in winning the bronze medal. But the circumstances were very different.

Only one day before the start of the 1992 Games, Conway�s wife gave birth to their first daughter Tarvia. He flew out the next day, and was driving from the Barcelona airport to the Olympic Village during the Opening Ceremonies. The schedule also had the high jump qualifying the very next day � much earlier in the schedule than four years previous.

�I had just had a root canal, and I slept at the hospital right after she (Tarvia) was born,� he said. �I had dry socket on the airplane from the root canal. And we had qualifying the next day. The timing ... I had a lot going on, but I was young and when you�re young you think you�re Superman.�

His 7-8 was the same height as that cleared by winner Javier Sotomayor of Cuba and silver medalist Patrik Sjoberg of Sweden, and he had three misses at a 7-9 1/4 clearance that would have given him the gold medal.

�I had jumped that height four or five times that summer,� Conway said, �and I had the opportunity of a lifetime staring me in the face. But I wasn�t as technically sound in 1992. I had gotten stronger and faster, but I had also gotten into a lot of bad habits.�

Conway narrowly missed a third Olympic appearance, missing out for the 1996 Games in Atlanta when two other U.S. jumpers posted career bests in the final round after it appeared he had a team spot locked up.

It�s worth mentioning that a 7-5 clearance qualified for the U.S. Team for the Athens Games that begin this week. That height would not even have made the finals in most of Conway�s international appearances during his career.

�And they�re making a lot more money than I did,� Conway said. �But that�s the time period I came up in. You just have to be happy for the guys that are doing it now. Jamie Nieto (who won the U.S. Trials this summer) has already called me to talk about the Games and to get some advice.

�I try to give them mental tips, let them know things that we did, tell them how we were able to compete hard and still be friends with your competitors. That�s part of what athletics and the Olympics is all about.�

�The Lafayette Daily Advertiser
August 11, 2004

Ex-Cajun Conway enters state Hall of Fame

June 26, 2004 -
Bruce Brown

June 26, 2004

Editor's Note: This is the last in a series of stories on this year's inductees into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Induction ceremonies are today in Natchitoches. See page 6B for more on today's ceremonies.

NATCHITOCHES � It is entirely fitting that Hollis Conway should be inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in an Olympic year, since the Olympics did so much to shape his record-setting high jump career.

Conway, a six-time All-American while competing for USL, won a silver medal in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, a bronze in the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Spain, and came back from a career-threatening injury to barely miss a third spot on the U.S. Olympic Team that would have sent him to Atlanta in 1996.

�The first thing that pops into my mind is the (1988) Olympic Trials," Conway said. �Looking back on it, I was naive. I didn't know what the Olympics meant.

�I remember Jimmy Howard was jumping good at the time, and that at least 10 American jumpers had cleared 7-8. There was never any guarantee you were going to be on any team, it was so competitive when I jumped. There was no comfort zone.

�I won the Trials (at 7-8 1/2), but I didn't know what that meant. I went to Seoul and had a great time. I went to the different events, did the ceremonies. There was no pressure. It was fun. Wherever I ended up was where I ended up."

Conway, then a USL sophomore, ended up with the silver by producing a U.S. collegiate record 7-8 3/4. Only the USSR's Guennadi Avdeenko jumped higher, at 7-9 3/4.

�We had Jimmy (Howard), Brian Stanton and myself, and people were missing all over the place," Conway said. �I jumped a personal-best 7-8 3/4, so I was excited, but there were five others who were jumping extremely high.

�Then Jimmy came over to me and said, �I think you just got silver.' I literally went, jumped, and they told me I got second."

While the 1988 Olympics was pressure-free, the 1992 Barcelona Olympics experience was far different.

Conway had used the Seoul performance to blossom in 1989, twice setting the American record in the high jump, winning the NCAA Outdoor Championships at 7-9 3/4 and the U.S. Olympic Festival at 7-10.

He had seven jumps of 7-8 or better, swept the U.S. Indoor and Outdoor titles and Goodwill Games and entered 1990 ranked No. 1 in the world.

On the way to six NCAA All-America honors, Conway began 1991 by winning the World Indoor Championships in Seville, Spain, with an American indoor record 7-10 1/2. He defended his U.S. Outdoor title, won the 1991 World University Games and placed third in the Pan American Games and World Outdoor Championships.

�I grew up at a time when it was so competitive," Conway said. �I had a lot of challenges, but it was a wonderful time. I had no idea until I was finished competing.

�It showed in the next Olympics. By then I knew the money and the fame involved. That made me try just a little bit harder. I was No. 1 in the world and picked to win. That made it a different experience."

At Barcelona, Cuba's Javier Sotomayor was the winner, but his 7-8 clearance was matched by runner-up Patrick Sjoberg of Sweden as well as bronze medalists Artur Partyka of Poland, Timothy Forsythe of Australia and Conway.

�The bar went to 7-9 1/4, and I was jumping somewhere near the end," Conway recalled. �The others missed, and I had the opportunity of a lifetime staring me in the face. I knew it. I came in pumped up and out of control, and missed.

�I had to sit in agony and watch, and pray that they would miss. My insides were eating at me. Then I got up again and had to transfer that fear, anxiety and nerves into energy. I missed, and my heart dropped again.

�They all missed their third attempt, and I missed. I was crying. I had to go through that dejection. Then, I go to check out and they told me I had tied. I was excited because I got a medal, but going into the ceremony I knew I'd blown an opportunity to be the Olympic champion.

�The opportunity was right there, but because of the way I was thinking I tried too hard. I had jumped that height at least five times that year. I was prepared and ready, but I walked away disappointed a little bit."

The Olympics were staged in Atlanta in 1996, and Conway could have performed in his home country, but barely missed another chance at glory in the Olympic Trials.

�A lot was happening in my life in 1996," Conway said. �I blew my knee out in 1995, and then my first meet in 1996 I jumped second-highest in the world. But I hurt my patella tendon. I'm already skinny. I don't need to atrophy further.

�My Achilles tendon hurt in Atlanta (at the Trials) because I had pushed to get back. We had 18-19 jumpers in the finals, which is just crazy. Going into my last jump, I was second at 7-6 1/2 and the only one left was Charles Austin.

�Then on the last jump I was knocked off the team by two guys who weren't even expected to be in the finals."

Conway tore his Achilles on the same leg in Paris and missed 1996 and 1997, but despite two major injuries he came back to a world-class 7-5 1/2 level in 1998.

He retired at the 2000 Drake Relays, ranking as the only American to win two medals in Olympic high jump competition.

A midget by world-class high jump standards, the six-foot Conway still holds the distinction of ranking second in track and field history for jumping over his own height, with his best of 22 1/2 inches trailing only Franklin Jacobs' 23 1/4-inch mark.

He was No. 1 in the U.S. for seven straight years from 1988-94. His 1989 NCAA Outdoor record (7-9 3/4) and Indoor record (7-9 1/4) still stand, 15 years later. His 1991 7-10 1/2 at the World Indoors remains the best American indoor jump in history and is tied for the best American leap indoors or outdoors. He was ranked No. 1 in the world in 1991, and No. 3 in 1992 and 1993.

And, in retrospect, it was Conway's Olympic experience that framed his remarkable career.

�The Olympic experience was a wonderful experience," Conway said. �I never wanted to settle for less than the best. I missed a chance to be an Olympic champion in 1992, and I never went back.

�When I speak to people now, I tell them to be sure you do all you can do. If I had just had confidence, I probably would have won the gold. But it's all for a purpose."

Conway spends plenty of time speaking to people. He is a regional coordinator, living in Monroe, for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also operates a motivational speaking business.

Not bad for an athlete who, when he wasn't high jumping at Shreveport's Fair Park High School, paraded the sidelines of football games as the Indians' mascot, in full uniform, including a fake head.

Then, Conway was flying under the radar. Not long after, he flew with the best in the world.

�The Lafayette Daily Advertiser
June 26, 2004

Seven stars get inducted today

June 26, 2004 -
Dan McDonald

June 26, 2004

NATCHITOCHES -- For 46 years it's been an annual rite of summer, and that tradition continues tonight when the Louisiana Sports Writers Association holds its annual Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.

Seven of the state's all-time athletic figures will join exclusive company at the 6 p.m. banquet at Prather Coliseum on the Northwestern State campus, a facility which also serves as home for the Hall of Fame.

The group includes former UL Lafayette track and field All-American and two-time Olympic medalist Hollis Conway, major league baseball standout Will Clark, ex-Louisiana Tech women's basketball coach Leon Barmore, NFL football stars Neil Smith and Albert Lewis, Tulane football great Tony Sardisco and record-setting Haynesville High football coach �Red" Franklin.

The seven bring the total membership in the Hall of Fame to 229, of which 188 have been honored since the Hall of Fame was opened in Natchitoches.

And the seven, to a man, said during Thursday and Friday Hall of Fame activities that they were honored by their selection.

�When I got the phone call, and they started reading off the names of this class," said Franklin, who won 11 state championships in his 34-year career, �I started thinking what in the world am I doing with this bunch. I did what I did out of love for the youngsters."

Conway, who still shares the American record in the high jump (7-10 1/2), also talked about the importance of his selection as it relates to the state's youth.

�Kids will listen to people that have done great things," said Conway, who works both for the state's Fellowship of Christian Athletes and also as a motivational speaker. �Maybe I didn't realize what I accomplished at the time, but now I can tell the kids I talk to that they can accomplish great things, too."

Barmore's accomplishments include 576 wins and a career .869 win percentage with the Lady Techsters before his retirement in 2002.

�If you read the history of these guys, and the people that have been inducted in the past, it'll blow you away," Barmore said. �It's very special to me as a person who never left Louisiana, who barely ever left Ruston. I read somewhere that Louisiana is ranked 49th among places to live. Well, they didn't ask me."

Sardisco turned down the chance to play at Notre Dame, remaining in his home state on the way to becoming Tulane's first All-SEC lineman before moving to the professional ranks.

�I was a raw-boned guy," he said, �and it would have taken a lot to go to Notre Dame. I knew that I still had to work harder than a lot of guys to accomplish something even at Tulane."

Lewis and Smith both had to leave the state for professional football careers, Lewis going from Grambling to four straight Pro Bowl honors with Kansas City and Oakland and New Orleans native Smith redefining the defensive end position with Kansas City, Denver and San Diego.

Lewis credited Grambling coach and fellow Hall of Famer Eddie Robinson for putting his football career on track.

�Coach Rob taught us football, but he also taught us about life," he said. �He instilled a level of pride in all his players, and I've carried that with me."

Clark, also a native of New Orleans, hit .303 in a career that included stops in San Francisco, St. Louis and Texas, and helped those teams to five postseason appearances.

�If I was going to work my tail off to get to the playoffs," Clark said, �I was going to work even harder once I was there to win. A lot of guys, when the lights got bright, they wanted to get out of the light. I wanted to be in that batter's box."

LAGNIAPPE: The seven new Hall of Fame inductees took part in a reading program with Natchitoches area children Friday morning before the annual Hall of Fame golf tournament at Oak Wing Golf Club in Alexandria.

Current and past Hall inductees served as team captains, with the squad captained by 2002 inductee and long-time Ferriday High football coach Johnny �Red" Robertson won the scramble event with a 15-under-par 57. The team captained by Keith Prince, winner of the LSWA's Distinguished Service Award which will also be presented tonight, finished second with the same score, and the unit captained by 1990 honoree Leo Sanford was third with a 58.

Hall members will hold the annual Hall of Fame Sports Clinic at 9:30 a.m. on the NSU campus, providing youths age 5-17 free sport-specific instruction. As many as 800 youths are scheduled to take part in the clinic.

Each Hall inductee will be introduced by a person of their choice during the banquet. Conway will be introduced by former Ragin' Cajun track and field coach Dick Booth, now assistant track and field coach at Arkansas.

�The Lafayette Daily Advertiser
June 26, 2004

June 20, 2004
Conway deserving Hall of Fame honoree
Bruce Brown

Hollis Conway won a silver medal in the high jump at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.

He captured a bronze at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Spain, with his top jump actually equal to the best achieved by the winner and runner-up.

Conway came up short of qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Team in 1996, missing the opportunity to perform in Atlanta, and he never got another shot at the top step of the Olympic victory stand.

When it comes to life, though, it would be hard to find anyone who would deny Conway a gold medal.

Nowhere will you find someone more humble, or gracious, than Conway.

He was that way when he got to USL in 1985 from Fair Park High School in Shreveport, he was that way as a six-time Ragin� Cajun All-American, he was that way when he was No. 1 in the world and he�s that way today.

Trouble is, that self-depreciation cost Conway dearly at a time when he could have built on fame.

�I had no identification,� said Conway, who will be inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame next weekend in Natchitoches. �Whenever I accomplished something, I was always looking forward. I lost who I was.

�I kept telling people that I was no one special. I had no idea what I�d accomplished.�

That worksheet included a national collegiate record 7-9 3/4, an NCAA indoor record 7-9 1/4 and a 7-10 1/2 world indoor-winning mark that remains the best-ever indoor mark by an American as well as tied for the best American effort, indoors or outdoors.

The slender 6-footer jumped 22 1/2 inches � nearly two feet � over his height.

That�s quite a lot considering humble beginnings.

�The first time I jumped in high school as a 5-5 freshman, I missed the pit and knocked the breath out of myself when I landed,� Conway said. �I recently did a name search for myself on Google, and I had done things that people only dream of doing. And I started to research the things I�d had to overcome.�

Conway remained a world-class performer despite tearing his Achilles tendon and his patellar tendon in separate injuries that cost him most of 1996 and 1997. He was back at 7-5 1/2 in 1998.

He has also righted his life after enduring vexing financial problems.

�I�ve really been blown away by some of the things I accomplished,� said Conway, who retired in 2000. �Why me, a baby of 7 children, should be able to do those things? I did not appreciate it until just recently. It just shows you can do supernatural things.

�Now, it helps when I go speak to kids or corporations or churches. You can�t tell people to have hope if you�ve never struggled. I can do that. When I speak, it�s with passion and sincerity.

�This is great timing, the Hall of Fame, because it can be used to impact a lot of people.�

Conway, who has written an autobiographical children�s book entitled �Grasshopper� and plans other writing projects, is growing into a role as a motivational speaker after moving from Lafayette to Monroe.

�When I was jumping well and winning medals, they were having parades for me,� Conway said. �I couldn�t buy a meal (in Lafayette). But when I was down the most, everybody left me. I loved living in Lafayette, but I had to get out.

�At one point I had no clue about who I was or where I was going. It was no big deal. I took away from it by diminishing it. I learned that everything that happened to me was not (just) for me.

�God equipped me to do those things. I�m starting to understand my purpose. I�m looking for answers. I can give people hope, and that gives me a better feeling than being on the Olympic stand.

�That�s why it�s important to realize the purpose of your life. It�s a tremendous rush to be a world-class athlete. It�s very hard to match that after having it for so long. It�s been a wonderful process. I�m much more than just an athlete.�

He always has been.

�The Lafayette Daily Advertiser
June 20, 2004

Administration:  2018, 2019
Cross Country, Track & Field - (M&W):  1986, 1987, 1988, 1989