PAUL CANDIES — The formidable drag racing partnership of Candies & Hughes began in 1964 when Leonard Hughes, who’d been racing Chevrolet stockers, wanted to go faster. The man to help him achieve that goal was Paul Candies, his long time friend. By 1968, they were part of the fledgling Funny Car class in the National Hot Rod Association and set the national record of 7.87 seconds in LaPlace. The next year, they had low e.t. and top speed at the U.S. Nationals with a national speed record and also won at the Winternationals. The Candies & Hughes team won 45 major events — including 28 NHRA titles in the Funny Car (18) and Top Fuel (10) classes between 1970 and 1994. The first two of those breakthrough wins came with Hughes at the wheel in the 1970 Gatornationals and 1971 Summernationals in the Funny Car class. They later became the first team to win NHRA and IHRA Winston championships in the same year. Candies went on to win five IHRA Championships, two NHRA titles and had nine top-five seasons. Both men were inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 1999. Candies, president of the des Allemands-based marine transportation company Otto Candies, was also a longtime supporter of the long-running Grand Isle International Tarpon Rodeo. As chairman of the annual summertime event, he was known as the “Granddaddy of the Tarpon Rodeo.” Candies, who died in 2013, was following in the footsteps of his father, Otto, who helped the tarpon rodeo — whose history dates to the 1930s — thrive in its early years and eventually become one of the premier fishing tournaments in the entire nation.
LEWIS COOK — Cook has led three different high schools to 30 state playoff appearances in 32 years as a head coach with 23 district and four state titles, three at Notre Dame of Crowley. At the outset of the 2017 season, Cook has a 333-81 career record, ranking him third in Louisiana history among active coaches and fifth all-time in the state with each of the coaches ahead of him already inducted into the LSHOF (J.T. Curtis, Jim Hightower, Red Franklin and Don Shows). His .804 winning percentage, which is fourth-best in state history, includes a playoff record of 73-26 with four state titles, 11 trips to the state championship game and 17 semifinal berths. His 1989 Crowley team won the 3A state title, and he followed with state crowns at Notre Dame in 2000 and 2009 in 3A and 2015 in 2A. Cook has won 23 district titles — including 10 in a row — and has been the state coach of the year six times in three different classes. He also was the head coach at Rayne High, his alma mater, from 1977-80. Cook spent eight seasons on the staff at UL-Lafayette (1981-84, 1992-95) and coached six eventual NFL players — including Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame member Jake Delhomme, and Brandon Stokley, also a 2018 inductee. Born 6-8-1951.
JACK HAINS — A crop-duster from Rayne, Hains was one of the early champions of competitive bass fishing. In 1975, he captured the fifth annual Bassmaster Classic (the Super Bowl of fishing tournaments) in Currituck Sound, North Carolina. Hains, a rookie angler on the circuit, caught 18 bass weighing 45 pounds, 4 ounces and collected a check for $15,950. He went on to qualify for seven Bassmaster Classic tournaments. Hains, who competed in the late 1990s on the Walmart Fishing League Worldwide Tour, has piled up earnings of $318,061.44 in 152 career tournaments. Hains finished in the Top 10 a total of 24 times and also had 35 top-20 showings.
JERRY SIMMONS – The winningest coach in LSU, Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana history (career record of 492-197-2 in 26 years), Simmons is the second winningest coach in SEC history behind only the legendary Dan Magill. He is one of the top 10 winningest NCAA Division I coaches of all-time. Simmons led LSU to 13 NCAA appearances, all of which were at least to the Round of 16, in 15 years. He was named National, Regional, SEC and Louisiana Coach of the Year in 1988, when he led LSU to a school-record 27 wins (only 2 losses) and to the National Championship match. LSU was ranked No. 1 in the nation for four weeks in 1988, a first in school history. He coached Donni Leaycraft to the 1989 NCAA Singles title, the first Grand Slam victory in school history. Simmons coached Johan Kjellesten to the 1989 Clay Court Singles title, the second Grand Slam victory at LSU. Tiger players earned 24 All-America honors and 34 All-SEC honors in 15 years under Jerry Simmons, and he had players earn 23 Academic All-SEC honors. His teams won 138 SEC dual matches in career, second in league history to Hall of Famer Dan Magill. In 1998, Simmons was the youngest coach ever inducted into the ITA Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame, and is in the Louisiana Tennis Hall of Fame. He was the first person to introduce corporate sponsorship to collegiate tennis with the USL Rolex Tennis Classic in 1977. Also had the nation’s first-ever college tennis corporate sponsored scoreboard. He organized ESPN’s first televised tennis match in 1979, served as tournament director of the Nokia Sugar Bowl 1994-98 and is tour director of Chanda Rubin’s American ITF. His record at LSU was 278-105 (15 years) and at Louisiana-Lafayette he was 214-92-2 (11 years). Along with the 1988 NCAA title match, his LSU teams advanced to the NCAA Final Eight in1987-89-91-92, the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1984-85-86-90-93-95-96-97 and made NCAA Appearances in 1984-85-86-87-88-89-90-91-92-93-95-96-97.
RUSS SPRINGER — A right-handed pitcher, Springer played 18 major league seasons – from 1992-2010 (minus 2002) with 10 different teams. He played for LSU from 1987-89, compiling a 19-10 career record with a 3.39 ERA and 313 career strikeouts in 252 innings pitched for the Tigers. A seventh-round pick of the New York Yankees in 1989, he made his big-league debut in 1992 with the Yankees and went on to appear in 740 games. He logged 755 strikeouts in the big leagues in a shade over 856 innings. Springer, mostly a reliever through his career, was 36-45 overall with a 4.52 ERA, but his best two seasons were late in his career – 2007 and ’08 with the St. Louis Cardinals, when he went 10-2 with an average ERA of 2.25 and registered 111 strikeouts. In 2007 (8-1, 2.18 ERA) he was given the Darryl Kile Good Guy Award, presented annually to the Cardinals (and Astros) player who best exemplifies Kile’s traits of “a good teammate, a great friend, a fine father and a humble man.” Of all the baseball players in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, only three — Baseball Hall of Famers Mel Ott (22 years), Ted Lyons (21 years) and Lou Brock (19 years) — played for more seasons in the major leagues. He played on three teams that went to the World Series – the 1999 Atlanta Braves, 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks and 2005 Houston Astros. He was the winning pitcher for Atlanta Game 6 of the 1999 NLDS against the Mets, which clinched the NL pennant. Only 73 pitchers in MLB history have more appearances than Springer (740), who also set an SEC strikeout-per-nine-innings record (14.5) as a freshman at LSU. Born 11-7-1968 in Alexandria.
BRANDON STOKLEY — A former Comeaux High and UL-Lafayette star, the 5-foot-11 dynamo played wide receiver for five NFL teams over a 15-year career, appearing in 152 games, and had 397 catches for 5,339 yards (13.4 yards per catch) and 39 TDs. His best season was in 2004 with the Colts, when he teamed with Peyton Manning for 68 receptions, 1,077 yards and 10 TDs. Stokley added 46 receptions for 647 yards and seven TDs in 15 postseason games, helping the Baltimore Ravens win Super Bowl XXXV. That night, he caught seven passes for 91 yards in a 34-7 rout of the New York Giants, scoring the first points of the game on a 38-yard TD grab from Trent Dilfer in the first quarter. Stokley was a record-setter at UL-Lafayette from 1995-98, becoming the first NCAA Division I player to average 100 receiving yards a game in three different seasons (101.9 in 1995, 105.5 in 1996 and 106.6 in 1998). As a freshman, his 1,121 receiving yards was an all-division NCAA record even though he didn’t start a game that year because coach Nelson Stokley (his dad) didn’t want to show favoritism. With the Ragin’ Cajuns, he had 241 catches for 3,702 yards and 25 TDs despite playing in only four games as a junior because of a torn ACL. At the end of his career, he ranked ninth all-time in Division I-A in career yardage (3,702) and 10th in catches (241). Only played one year of high school football, but made the Class 5A all-state team after leading the state with 80 receptions for 946 yards. Born 6-23-76 in Blacksburg, Va.
REGGIE WAYNE — The 30th overall pick in the first round of the 2001 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts, Wayne, a New Orleans native and former John Ehret High School star, went on to team with Peyton Manning and become one of the league’s most productive wide receivers — especially when it came to finding the end zone. Wayne, who had 82 touchdown catches in
his career, caught 69 of them from Manning from 2001-10. Wayne was a six-time Pro Bowl pick (making it five years in a row from 2006-10) and a one-time AP first-team All-Pro selection. For his career, he caught 1,070 passes for 14,345 yards (13.4 average) and 82 TDs despite sharing the ball for his first eight seasons with Hall of Fame wideout Marvin Harrison. Going into
the 2017 season, Wayne ranked 10th in NFL history in receptions and receiving yards after ranking seventh in catches and eighth in yards when he retired after the 2014 season. Wayne, who played in two Super Bowls (winning one in 2006 against the Chicago Bears and losing to the Saints in 2009), started 197 of 211 regular-season games. He caught at least 75 passes nine seasons in a row (2004-12) and had at least 100 receptions four times (104 in 2007, 100 in ’09, a career-high 111 in ’10 and 106 in ’12 at the age of 34). Wayne had at least 1,000 receiving yards in eight of 14 years in the league with career-high 1,510 in 2007 and topped the 1,300-yard mark four times. He had a career-best 12 TD catches in 2004 and recorded 10 in 2007 and ’09. Wayne added 93 catches for 1,254 yards and nine TDs in 21 career playoff games, catching a 53-yard TD for the Colts first score in a 29-17 win over the Bears in Super Bowl XLI in Miami where he attended college. He caught 173 passes for 2,510 yards and 20 TDs in four seasons with the Hurricanes. … Born 11-17-1978 in New Orleans.
LARRY WRIGHT – Wright was a prep and college standout in Louisiana and played six NBA seasons, and served as the head coach at Grambling State, his alma mater. He was a prep All-American at two schools, Richwood of Monroe and Western High School in the Washington, D.C. metro area, who was a two-time NCAA Small College All-American (1975-76) at Grambling. After being the SWAC Player of the Year as a junior, he declared for the NBA Draft and was a first-round NBA Draft pick of Washington. Wright helped Elvin Hayes and the Bullets win the 1978 NBA Championship. In four seasons with the Bullets, he scored 2,489 regular-season points in 297 games (8.4 points a game), averaging between 9.3 and 7.3 points a game each season. After playing a season for Detroit (7.4 ppg), Wright went on to play in Europe, leading Banco DiRoma to the Italian championship in 1982-83, winning Italian Player of the Year honors in 1983. One publication named him the European Player of the Year in 1983-84 when he led the team to the European title. He was a scout for Seattle, Washington and New Jersey before taking the coaching post at Grambling. In 1972, he led Richwood to the state Class 3A championship, averaging 28.9 ppg. A year later at Western HS, he led the team to the Inner City championship and the Knights of Columbus championship, earning a spot on the Parade Magazine Super 13 All-American team in 1973. He was the SWAC Player of the Year in 1976 with a 25.4 ppg average when he led Grambling to its only SWAC Tournament title.