Veteran Northwestern State sports information director Doug Ireland will be presented the “Distinguished American Award” by the S.M. McNaughton Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame during the group’s annual Scholar-Athlete Banquet Thursday night at East Ridge Country Club.
The Distinguished American Award is given to an outstanding person who has maintained and made a significant contribution to the betterment of amateur football. A few of the chapter’s past Distinguished American Award recipients include CBS Sports announcer Tim Brando, northwest Louisiana chapter namesake Milton McNaughton, longtime LSU SID Paul Manasseh and northwest Louisiana Fellowship of Christian Athletes leader Terry Slack.
New Demons football coach Bradley Dale Peveto will introduce Ireland, who is an assistant athletic director at NSU and has been SID since January 1989. Ireland also serves in the volunteer capacity as chairman of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, a post he has held since April 1991. The Hall of Fame is partnering with the Louisiana State Museum system on an $18 million construction project in downtown Natchitoches with a 27,500-square foot building projected for completion late next year, housing the Hall of Fame and the existing Old Courthouse Museum in Natchitoches.
Ireland has won dozens of awards from the College Sports Information Directors of America and the Louisiana Sports Writers Association for his work, including a national first-place award for the Demons’ 1992 football media guide and a national second-place writing honor for a 1997 profile of legendary Demons’ two-sport All-American Joe Delaney.
He engineered a 1994 campaign that resulted in Demons’ offensive tackle Marcus Spears becoming one of 10 semifinalists for the Outland Trophy, awarded to college football’s top lineman. Spears also became only the second player from Division I-AA (now the Division I Football Championship Subdivision), along with Jerry Rice in 1986, to make the 24-man All-America team chosen by the Football Writers Association of America, a distinction that continues to stand.
Among those who have worked under Ireland are Southland Conference associate commissioner Bruce Ludlow, Kansas State SID Kenny Lannou, Association of Tennis Professionals media relations director Greg Sharko, Sports Business Daily media relations manager Bill Magrath, NSU assistant athletic director for compliance Dustin Eubanks, Lamar assistant athletic director Daucy Crizer, Henderson State SID Troy Mitchell, former Southeastern Louisiana SID Dart Volz, former LSU assistant SID Melissa Foley, former Baylor assistant SID Dr. Thomas Newsom, now president of the Art Institute of Austin; former Lamar assistant SID Erik Cox, Mike Morrison, co-editor of the ESPN Information Please Almanac, and current NSU associate SID Matthew Bonnette.
Ireland played high school football for a Class AA state finalist team coached by Don Shows in 1977 at Jonesboro-Hodge High School, where he was student body president and an all-district baseball player. He was editor of the NSU student newspaper “Current Sauce” and a student government senator during his undergraduate days at Northwestern, and also worked for The (Shreveport) Times, the Alexandria Town Talk, the Natchitoches Times and on SID staffs at Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe prior to returning to his alma mater in 1989.
Ireland is an alumnus of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and currently serves as Chapter Advisor for the Beta Omicron Chapter at Northwestern State University.
[News release courtesy NSUDemons.com]