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Louisiana Athletics Announces 2022 Hall of Fame Class

Seven-member class to be recognized during the 2022 Homecoming Game on Oct. 1
Posted at 5:57 PM, Aug 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-24 19:35:17-04

LAFAYETTE – The winningest coach in Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Football history, the only consensus Baseball All-American in school history, and a two-time Softball All-American are among the seven-member class selected to the 2022 Louisiana Athletics Hall of Fame, the Board of Directors of the Ragin' Cajuns Letterman Club announced on Wednesday.

The late Russ Faulkinberry (Lifetime Achievement), Jace Conrad (Baseball), and Christi Orgeron (Softball) are part of a 2022 class which also features Ladarius Green (Football), Mike Heinen (Golf) and two additional posthumous selections – Lisa Merritt (Women’s Basketball) and legendary equipment manager Lynn Williams (Lifetime Achievement).

The 2022 class will officially be inducted into the Louisiana Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday, Sept. 30, and will be recognized during halftime of the 2022 Homecoming football game against South Alabama on Saturday, Oct. 1 at Cajun Field.

The University's Hall of Fame recognizes men and women who distinguished themselves as student-athletes and have made significant contributions to their professions and their communities. They are nominated and selected through a process that is overseen by the board of directors of the Ragin' Cajuns Lettermen Club, an organization of former student-athletes who have lettered in their sport.

In 2015, new eligibility criteria for the Hall of Fame were adopted to allow the nomination of coaches and administrators, as well as alumni whose collegiate careers were shortened by the chance to pursue professional sports.

RUSS FAULKINBERRY (Football – Lifetime Achievement) 

Faulkinberry served as head football coach for 13 seasons from 1961-73, compiling an overall record of 66-63-2, still the most career wins in school history.

His teams won three Gulf States Conference championships in 1965, 1968, and 1970, with the 1970 team invited to play in the Grantland Rice Bowl in Baton Rouge after compiling a 9-2 regular-season record.

That mark was the best in the history of USL football at the time and included a seven-game win streak with its only losses during the regular season coming against Southern Mississippi and Tampa.

In that second-ever bowl appearance, his team lost to highly-regarded Tennessee State, 26-25, trailing 14-0 early but taking a 25-14 lead in the second half before Tennessee State scored twice in a 2:50 span in the fourth quarter.

Faulkinberry was named both the GSC and Louisiana Coach of the Year in 1970 and oversaw the program’s transition from the Gulf States Conference to the Southland Conference in 1971, and its move into Cajun Field to start the 1971 season.

Another part of his legacy involved a change in the school’s moniker as he helped oversee the change in mascots of the University’s athletic programs from Bulldogs to Ragin’ Cajuns in the late 1960s.

Faulkinberry, who passed away in 2005 at the age of 77, also served for one year as an assistant coach for the Jacksonville Sharks of the World Football League. Later, after 15 years of working in the medical field as an administrator for hospital drug and alcohol programs, he served as a private football coach for several notable individual players including Jake Delhomme and Brandon Stokley, both of whom are members in the Louisiana Athletics Hall of Fame and went on to lengthy and successful NFL careers.

JACE CONRAD (Baseball) 

The unquestioned leader of the best offensive baseball team in Ragin’ Cajuns history, Conrad helped Louisiana to a school-record 58 wins in 2014, setting a school record for the best winning percentage (.853) and the school’s first consensus No. 1-ranking in program history.

Louisiana, which never lost more than two games in a row until the final two games of NCAA Super Regional against Ole Miss at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field, went 26-4 for the second-best record in Sun Belt Conference history, winning both the league regular-season and tournament titles.

Conrad, who hit a team-high .381 during the season, was named the NCAA Regional tournament Most Valuable Player and was named a consensus first-team All-America at second base by all five major A-A selections: ABCA/Rawlings, National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, Louisville Slugger, Baseball America and Perfect Game, something no other UL player has achieved.

The former Lafayette High product also claimed All-South Region honors that season and won both Sun Belt Conference and state of Louisiana Player of the Year honors, along with first-team All-Sun Belt and All-Louisiana.

A two-time Sun Belt All-Tournament pick in 2013 and 2014, Conrad also led the team with 96 hits, 20 doubles, 65 runs batted in, and 22 stolen bases. In his final two seasons on the roster, Louisiana won 101 games, the most successful back-to-back seasons in school history, and compiled 124-50 record in his three playing seasons.

A three-time Sun Belt Academic Honor Roll selection (2012, 2013, and 2014), Conrad was drafted in the 13th round of the 2014 MLB Draft by Tampa Bay and bypassed his senior year to turn pro.


Orgeron, a two-time All-America on the softball field, earned First-team All-America honors as a senior in 2012 after making second-team All-America as a junior in 2011. A three-time All-South Region selection, Orgeron was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year in both 2011 and 2012 and was a three-time all-conference selection.

Named the Sun Belt’s Freshman of the Year in 2009, Orgeron was twice named the Sun Belt’s Female Student-Athlete of the Year in 2011 and 2012. She was a four-time All-Louisiana selection and two-time LSWA Hitter of the Year, after earning the state’s Freshman of the Year honors in 2009.

The New Orleans native won the 2011-12 Corbett Award as the state of Louisiana’s top female athlete. Orgeron was a 10-time selection as Sun Belt Player of the Week during her playing career and was chosen in 2012 as a USA Softball National Player of the Week once.

Orgeron was named all four years to the Sun Belt’s academic award list, twice earning a spot on the SBC Honor Roll (3.0 or greater) before named to the Commissioner’s List (3.5 or greater) her final two years.

Orgeron set an NCAA record with six grand slams in a season and was part of a team which compiled a 194-48 record in her four-year career, including 77-18 record in Sun Belt play and 10-4 record in NCAA Regional play.

She was part of a Ragin’ Cajuns team which won two regional titles (2010 in Baton Rouge and 2012 in Lafayette) and reached the regional finals in two other seasons. She still holds UL records for extra-base hits in a season (48) and career (141), doubles in a game (3, 2010 vs. South Alabama), grand slams in a season (six, 2012) and career (nine), and RBI in a season (101) and career (288) – a total that currently ranks eighth in NCAA history.

Her final two seasons remain the biggest RBI totals in school history (1st with 101 in 2011, second with 94 in 2012). After her UL career was completed, Orgeron participated as part of the USA Softball National Team.


Green became the most productive tight end in Ragin’ Cajuns history during a four-year career from 2008-11 and was part of a team that rebounded from a 3-9 record as a junior in 2010 to 9-4 and winning the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, UL’s first-ever as an NCAA Division I entry.

The Pensacola, Fla., native, currently ranks sixth on UL’s all-time receiving list with 149 catches, fifth all-time in receiving yards with 2,201 and second all-time in receiving touchdowns with 22, trailing only Brandon Stokley’s career record of 25 TD catches.

In his final home game of his career, Green caught 13 passes for 136 yards – both UL records for a tight end – and scored two touchdowns along with recovering an onside kick in the final two minutes to help Cajuns rally from 35-24 deficit in final three minutes in a 36-35 win over ULM that put them into their first-ever bowl game.

Green had over 20 catches and over 250 yards in each of his four seasons, including a career-high 51 catches for 606 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior in 2011. He had a career-best yardage season as a junior with 794 yards on 44 catches and seven scores and his eight touchdowns as a senior tied him for second nationally among all FBS tight ends behind only Coby Fleener of Stanford (10). Green was twice a top-eight semifinalist for the John Mackey Award presented to the nation’s top tight end and was also on the Fred Biletnikoff Award watch list for the nation’s top receiver as a senior.

A three-time All-Sun Belt Conference selection, Green was a first-team pick his final two seasons for the Ragin’ Cajuns and was named a preseason first-team All-America pick by, second-team preseason All-America by Athlon, third-team preseason All-America by and fourth-team preseason All-America by Phil Steele services going into his senior season.

Drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the fourth round in the 2012 NFL Draft, Green played five seasons in the league from 2012-16 with both San Diego and Pittsburgh and had a career 95 catches for 1,391 yards and eight touchdowns. He had his best season in his final year in San Diego in 2015 when he played 13 games, starting 11, and recording 37 catches for 429 yards (11.6 yards per catch) and four touchdowns.


A four-year letterman from 1985-89, Heinen helped lead the Ragin’ Cajuns to their first-ever NCAA Division I regional appearance as a senior in 1989, where the team was tied for ninth and advanced to the NCAA National Championships where they finished 15th.

As an individual, Heinen finished 12th in the NCAA National Championships, the second-highest-ever by a Cajun golfer in Division I. That same season, Cajuns won the first of three straight American South Conference team championships, their first conference title in 13 years.

In his final two years, Heinen was a first-team All-American South Conference selection including earning medalist honors as the top individual finish in the American South Tournament as a senior in 1989.

Heinen was named honorable mention All-America in 1988 and third-team All-America in 1989 by the Golf Coaches Association of America.

As a member of the PGA Tour, Heinen would become one of only two Ragin’ Cajuns ever to win a PGA Tour event, capturing the 1994 Shell Houston Open in only his 10th start on the “big” tour. Heinen had three top-10 finishes in his rookie season and nearly $400,000 in earnings. He had two runner-up finishes along with three top-10 and six top-25 finishes and earned $350,920 on the PGA Tour the following year, including tying for first at the Freeport-McMoran Classic (now the Zurich Classic of New Orleans).

Heinen split time between the PGA Tour and the Nationwide Tour during a 17-year professional career, making 180 career cuts and $2.3 million in official earnings.

LISA MERRITT (Women’s Basketball) 

A four-year letterwinner for the Ragin’ Cajuns from 1980-84, Merritt’s 1,747 points scored in her career is still the second-highest total in Cajun history behind Kim Perrot (2,157 points). Her career scoring average of 16.8 is still the fifth-highest in school history (1,747 points in 104 games).

Her 723 career rebounds is also still the fifth-highest in school history and she ranks third in school history in career steals (261) and tenth all-time in career assists (245).

Merritt, a two-time All-Southland Conference selection in 1983 and 1984, is the only player in Cajun history to rank in the career top 10 in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. Her 571 points in the 1982-83 season is still the fourth-highest single-season total in UL history, and her 20.3 scoring average that season is the third-highest ever.

Her 114 steals in 1983-84 remains the second-highest single-season total in school history and she led the Cajuns in scoring in both her sophomore and junior years before finishing second in her senior year in 1984.

Merritt was an integral part of a pair of Ragin’ Cajuns teams which posted records of 18-10 and 22-6 in her junior and senior seasons, the first-ever winning seasons for the program at the NCAA Division I level.

She joined the Dallas Diamonds of the Women’s American Basketball Association out of college, but the league folded that same year in 1984. Merritt eventually enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served 20 years in that service before retiring. She passed away in June of 2018 at age 55.

LYNN WILLIAMS (Equipment Manager – Lifetime Achievement) 

Williams, a Lafayette native and Northside High product, served as equipment manager for 35 years, and became one of the most beloved figures in the history of Cajun sports.

After joining the then-USL staff in 1980 as a student manager, he was elevated to a full-time position upon his graduation from the University in 1985, and served in positions as head equipment manager and supervisor of equipment until his death in March of 2019.

Williams won the 2009 Glenn Sharp Award presented by the National Athletic Equipment Managers Association to the Equipment Manager of the Year and was named the NAEMA Equipment Manager of the Year in District 4 three times (2002, 2005 and 2009).

He was named as the then-USL athletic department’s “MVP” award winner for the 1990-91 athletic year.

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