NATCHITOCHES – New Orleans native Elmo Adolph, a world-renowned boxing official, and Billy Montgomery, who as a highly-regarded state legislator championed sports causes including construction of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame museum, are the 2011 recipients of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award.
Adolph, the only man to officiate both a professional world championship bout and an Olympic gold medal boxing match, and Montgomery, a Natchitoches Parish native who was a two-time state championship prep basketball coach at Haughton, will be among the 11 honorees at the 2011 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and Ceremonies on Saturday evening, June 25, at the Natchitoches Events Center.
The Induction Dinner and Ceremonies are the culmination of the 2011 Induction Celebration beginning Thursday afternoon and evening, June 23, with the La Capitol/Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Press Conference and Kickoff Reception.
New Orleans Saints stars Morten Andersen, Vaughan Johnson and Buford Jordan, along with LSU All-American and 12-year major league baseball infielder Todd Walker and NBA standout Donald “Slick” Watts, are among the eight 2011 inductees who will enter the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
High school football coaching great Don Shows, Louisiana-Lafayette softball All-America pitcher Kyla Hall and innovative LSU athletic director Thomas P. “Skipper” Heard complete the Hall’s 2011 induction class. Heard will be honored posthumously.
Also honored will be two recipients of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, New Orleans-based sportswriter Ron Brocato and longtime Southeastern Louisiana University sports information director Larry Hymel.
Construction on the 27,500-square foot Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame museum in Natchitoches is on pace for a grand opening next summer. It will be a two-story showcase of state sports history managed by the Louisiana State Museums system.
The Dave Dixon Award is presented annually by the LSWA’s 30-member Hall of Fame selection committee to an individual who has played a decisive role as a sports leader or administrator benefiting Louisiana and/or bringing credit to Louisiana on the national and international level.
It is named in honor of Hall of Famer Dave Dixon, the driving force behind bringing the NFL to Louisiana with the creation of the New Orleans Saints franchise. Dixon, who passed away last fall, is also considered the “father” of the Louisiana Superdome, developing the concept for the innovative domed structure and pushing state officials for its construction in the late 1960s.
Adolph built an amazing career as a referee from 1964-2005. The New Orleans native officiated an estimated 23,000 amateur bouts, including in the 1988 Olympic Games. He became a professional referee in 1992, working another 1,000 bouts, 32 of those being world championship fights.
In amateur boxing, he refereed AAU, military service and regional and national championships around the nation, and joined the ranks of international officials in 1975, overseeing more than 1,600 international bouts while traveling abroad on 26 occasions to many countries, the likes of Cuba, Germany, Russia, Korea and many more.
Among the fighters he officiated were many of the great names of his era: Mike Tyson, Roy Jones, Jr., Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, Larry Holmes, Tommy Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard, Lennox Lewis, and Hector Camacho.
Adolph also officiated Louisiana High School Athletic Association football games for nearly 30 years, including state title games in the Superdome Classic, and was the game clock operator for the NBA’s New Orleans Jazz in the 1970s when the team played in the Superdome. He is still involved in prep officiating by teaching and training officials in the River Parishes Football Association.
He is already enshrined in the Greater New Orleans/Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame, Louisiana American Italian Sports Hall of Fame, Warren Easton Hall of Fame, Southern AAU Officials Hall of Fame and the USA Southern Boxing Hall of Fame.
Jose Sulaiman, president of the World Boxing Council, is among those touting Adolph’s candidacy for the Boxing Hall of Fame. Rusty Rubin, managing editor of ringsports.com with more than 50 years of covering the sport, calls Adolph “a future Boxing Hall of Fame referee.”
Montgomery was regarded as an exceptional tactician and teacher during his 10-year basketball coaching term and has been a mentor to many coaches and educators since then. He is also known statewide for serving 20 years in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1988-2008.
Montgomery was the leading legislative advocate for the Louisiana High School Athletic Association, was a proponent for the horse racing industry and was a pivotal figure in obtaining funding for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame museum in Natchitoches. He remains in public service working for the Bossier Parish Police Jury.
As basketball coach at Haughton High School from 1960-69 and at Lafayette High School in 1969-70, Montgomery posted a 305-68 (81.8 percent) record, reaching the state playoffs all 10 seasons, winning two state titles, finishing second another time, reaching the “Top 20” state tournament in five seasons and compiling a 102-9 mark in district competition.
One of the elite coaches in the game’s history has the highest regard for Montgomery’s coaching abilities. Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame member Leon Barmore, enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for his incredible career as the mastermind of the Louisiana Tech women’s program, was previously a highly successful boys coach at his alma mater, Ruston High School, a north Louisiana rival of Haughton’s.
“In nearly 40 years of coaching basketball, the two coaches I faced who had their teams prepared the best were (Tennessee Lady Volunteers coach) Pat Head Summitt, and Billy Montgomery,” said Barmore.
“One of the most valuable lessons that I ever learned was watching his practice and seeing the importance that he placed on valuing every possession. Taking care of the basketball was of the utmost importance. He was one of the best, bar none, at coaching the game,” said Barmore, “and it helped me tremendously to see how he imparted that knowledge to his players.
Montgomery was chosen as “Mr. Louisiana Basketball” in 2009 by the Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches.
He already has been enshrined in the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 and has been honored by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association both as state basketball coach of the year (1967 and 1968) and for his pivotal role in advancing the Hall of Fame construction project.
Haughton High School named its basketball court in his honor. Montgomery spent 18 years after coaching as a school administrator (assistant principal and then principal) at Haughton before running for public office. He based his political campaigns on his coaching identity and is humbled that friends and colleagues from all walks of life still refer to him as “Coach Montgomery.”
He was raised in rural Natchitoches Parish and played at now-defunct Provencal High School, and then was on the freshman team at nearby Northwestern State, his college alma mater.
Eight men have previously been presented the Dixon Award since its inception in 2005. The first winner was Randy Gregson, a New Orleans native/resident and former president of the United States Tennis Association. In 2006 the winner was Emmanuel “Boozy” Bourgeois, president of Louisiana Special Olympics since 1972.
The 2007 recipients were Don Landry, a longtime collegiate administrator, and Doug Thornton, the executive director of the Louisiana Superdome.
In 2008, the Dixon Award went to world renowned orthopaedic Dr. James Andrews, a Homer native, LSU graduate and SEC champion pole vaulter.
The 2009 recipients were George Dement, a Bossier City boxing and youth sports activist; and “Mr. Softball” Benny Turcan, a New Orleans native and long-time state ASA softball commissioner.
Last year’s Dixon Award winner was Gerald Boudreaux, the longtime City of Lafayette recreation director best known as one of the country’s top college basketball referees in the last three decades.
The Dixon Award winners will be recognized in a display in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame museum. A hard-hat tour of the museum will be held during this summer’s Induction Celebration.