Two transformational and highly-decorated figures in the state’s sports journalism field, Lafayette writer and editor Bruce Brown and longtime New Orleans Times-Picayune prep writer Lori Lyons, have been selected for the 2022 Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.
The duo will be inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame next July 29, LSWA president Raymond Partsch III and Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland announced Wednesday.
Brown, whose journalism career is nearing 50 years, is an acclaimed writer whose 20 years as sports editor of the Lafayette Daily Advertiser saw the paper earn well over 100 LSWA honors as the industry, and the Advertiser, went through radical changes.
Lyons, a Houma native, rose through the ranks from starting as a sports agate clerk to winning LSWA Prep Writer of the Year honors twice and becoming the second-ever woman president of the state sports writers’ association.
Both have authored books and branched out into other aspects of journalism, with Brown contributing to online publications and being a regular panelist on an award-winning sports talk show, and Lyons also dabbling in broadcasting and continuing as a correspondent for various publications as she is now teaching the vocation to high school students.
The DSA honor, to be made official next summer in Natchitoches, means Brown and Lyons will be among an elite 12-person Class of 2023 being inducted in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. They were selected from a 29-person pool of outstanding nominees for the state’s top sports journalism honor.
The Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism recipients are chosen by the 40-member Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame selection committee based on nominees’ professional accomplishments in local, state, regional and even national circles, with leadership in the LSWA as a beneficial factor and three decades of work in the profession as a requirement.
Distinguished Service Award winners are enshrined in the Hall of Fame along with the 467 current athletes, sports journalists, coaches and administrators chosen since 1959. Just 71 leading figures in the state’s sports media have been honored with the Distinguished Service Award since its inception 39 years ago in 1982.
Brown and Lyons will be among the 2023 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class to be spotlighted in the annual Induction Ceremony on Saturday evening, July 29, at the Natchitoches Events Center. The Induction Ceremony culminates the 2023 Induction Celebration beginning Thursday afternoon, July 27, with a press conference followed by a public kickoff reception in the Hall of Fame museum at 800 Front Street in Natchitoches.
Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning Joins four-time WNBA All-Star Alana Beard and College World Series champion LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri in a star-studded 10-member group of 2023 competitive ballot inductees announced in September.
The LSHOF Class of 2023 also includes New Orleans native Ron Washington, who managed the Texas Rangers to a pair of World Series appearances and last year helped the Atlanta Braves win the world’s championship; two-time LSU track and field USA Olympian and world champion Walter Davis; and Slidell native, Tulane great and Chicago Bears two-time Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte.
Also elected for induction next summer are All-American LSU pitcher Paul Byrd, a 14-year Major League Baseball veteran who made the 1999 All-Star Game; Shreveport native Wendell Davis, who shattered LSU football receiving records before heading to the NFL; multiple national champion and world class weightlifter Walter Imahara, a UL-Lafayette legend; and retired Baton Rouge-Parkview Baptist baseball coach M.L. Woodruff, whose teams claimed 11 state championships.
The 2023 inductees will be showcased in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum, operated by the Louisiana State Museum system in a partnership with the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The striking $23 million, two-story, 27,500-square foot structure faces Cane River Lake in the National Historic Landmark District of Natchitoches and has garnered worldwide architectural acclaim and rave reviews for its contents since its grand opening during the 2013 Hall of Fame induction weekend.
“Lori Lyons and Bruce Brown are the epitome of ‘service’ when it comes to sports journalism in Louisiana,” said Partsch, the LSWA president. “Yes, you could easily cite the plethora of award-winning work Lori was responsible for during her time working at The Times-Picayune. But what stands out to me is what she has done behind the scenes for the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. Bruce was one of the most respected scribes in our state but what stands out to me is the journalists he helped mentor and develop at The Daily Advertiser.
“We are extremely fortunate to have both Lori and Bruce help tell Louisiana’s storied sports history. I can’t think of a better way to honor them, and their tireless work over the years, than having them inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.”
Brown served on the sports staff of the Lafayette Daily Advertiser for 21 years, and worked for 37 years overall as part of the Advertiser editorial staff. Most of that time – 20 years – he served as sports editor and helped guide the Advertiser through radical changes in both that newspaper and in the industry.
During that time, the Advertiser sports department won more than 100 LSWA awards for writing, layout and photography, as well as numerous Louisiana Press Association honors. The Advertiser also won a coveted national Best of Gannett award in 2005 for its coverage of Lafayette’s team in the Little League World Series.
Brown began his career as a part-timer in January of 1975, covering a prep basketball game between Pecan Island and Meaux as his first assignment. He joined the Advertiser staff full-time in August of 1975 under then-editor Bob Tompkins, and one year later he took over as sports editor, serving in that capacity for two decades. In 1995 he left that role to concentrate on writing and covered prep, college and pro sports as well as military, faith and values and non-profit organizations for the Advertiser. He moved back fulltime to sports coverage in 2011 before retiring in 2012.
In 1980, Brown wrote “Prides of Acadiana,” a book about legendary UL sports standouts including Hall of Famers Walter Imahara (a fellow 2023 inductee), Ron Guidry, Bo Lamar, Harold Porter and Chris Cagle. He served two years as LSWA vice president and another two as secretary, and has been a member of the Hall of Fame selection committee for two decades. In retirement, he has been a freelance writer for the UL Athletic Network, for Quick Slants and Tiger Rag magazines, the Crowley Post-Signal and the Abbeville Meridional, and still contributes pieces to the Baton Rouge/Acadiana Advocate and the UL Athletic Network.
Lyons started her newspaper career as the assistant society editor at the Houma Courier while still in high school. She was a member of The Mirror staff at Terrebonne High School and, later, The Maroon while majoring in English and journalism at Loyola University in New Orleans. She began as a sports agate clerk at The Times-Picayune in 1986 and rose to become the president of the LSWA (the second woman in that role) with an impressive collection of writing awards.
Climbing a steep hill at a time when women sports journalists were uncommon in Louisiana, she became the high school reporter for the T-P’s River Parishes Bureau in 1991, remaining there until 2012. She continued to cover the River Parishes as a freelancer until she became the sports editor at L’Observateur in LaPlace, winning an Louisiana Press Association writing award as well as an award for Best Photo. After leaving L’Observateur in 2017, she continued to freelance for multiple outlets.
Lyons was twice chosen by out-of-state judges as the LSWA Prep Writer of the Year, was honored by the Louisiana High School Athletic Assocation as its Prep Writer of the Year in 2008 and won the LSWA’s prestigious Mac Russo Award that year for contributing to the ideals and progress of the organization.
She was president of the LSWA from 2012-2014, helping to oversee the opening of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum in Natchitoches. Lyons created, launched and continues to maintain the LSWA’s website (lswa.info) and Facebook page.
She is a longstanding member of the LSHOF selection committee, and for 25 years served on the Allstate Sugar Bowl Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame selection panel.
An occasional mom blogger, Lyons also authored Adoption in America: The Diary of a Mom-in-Waiting, an account of her and husband Marty Luquet’s quest to adopt a baby. Their daughter is now a senior at Northwestern State University and the editor of The Current Sauce, the century-old student newspaper.
Lyons is now teaching high school journalism, creative writing and multimedia at Riverside Academy in Reserve and is the advisor for the Rebel Express student news website. She is also the social media manager and content provider for the Baton Rouge Rougaroo summer collegiate league baseball team.
The 2023 Induction Celebration will kick off Thursday, July 27, with a press conference and reception. The three-day festivities include two receptions, a youth sports clinic, a bowling party, and a Friday night riverbank concert in Natchitoches. Tickets for the Saturday night, July 29 Induction Ceremony, along with congratulatory advertising and sponsorship opportunities, are available through the LaSportsHall.com website.
Anyone can receive quarterly e-mails about the 2023 Induction Celebration and other Hall of Fame news by signing up on the LaSportsHall.com website.