Feb 17, 2014 10:38 PM by Release
NATCHITOCHES -- The public is invited free of charge Tuesday evening to visit the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum for a 6 p.m. program titled "The Legacy of Beryl Shipley," a dynamic figure in state sports history who is being enshrined this summer as part of the Hall of Fame's 2014 induction class.
Filmmaker Douglas Domingue will preview and discuss his forthcoming documentary, "Lights Out in Blackham," a film profiling Shipley and telling the story of his at-times controversial coaching career at (then known as) the University of Southwestern Louisiana.
Shipley made history in 1966 as the first college coach "to integrate a major sports team at a large public university in the Deep South," wrote John Ed Bradley in "Sports Illustrated" magazine.
Several years later, the Ragin' Cajuns developed into one of the country's best college division (now Division II) teams in 1970-71, then transitioned to major college (now Division I) basketball and were a Top 10 program featured on the cover of "Sports Illustrated."
Led by Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame 1985 inductee Dwight "Bo" Lamar, a guard who led the nation in scoring for two years and averaged 31.3 a game in his career, Shipley's teams played a spectacular style that packed their home arena, Blackham Coliseum, and filled opponents' venues across the state and region. The Cajuns were ranked in the major college top 10 in 1971-72 and 1972-73, reaching the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen both seasons.
Domingue's film explores Shipley's legacy, including his contentious relationship with the NCAA. The film includes extensive game footage and interviews with coaches and players from that era.
Shipley will be among 11 state sports figures inducted in the Hall of Fame on June 21 in Natchitoches.
The Hall of Fame Museum is open from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and from 1-5 p.m. on Sundays. Adult admission is $5, with seniors, students and active-duty military personnel discounted to $4 and children 12 and under admitted free. School group tours are free of charge when booked in advance by calling the museum at 318-357-2492.
Tuesday evening's program has no admission charge.