Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity alumnus Doug Ireland is now enshrined in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame for distinguished service in sports journalism. On Saturday, the longtime Beta Omicron Chapter Advisor was inducted with the Class of 2021 Hall of Fame in recognition of his career as storyteller who shined a light on others for close to four decades.
The 62nd annual induction ceremony brought together Louisiana’s sports legends at the Natchitoches Events Center, capping a weekend of celebrations and activities.
Chairman of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame since April 1990, just over a year after he left the Alexandria Town Talk sports staff and launched a 30-year run as the acclaimed, innovative sports information director at Northwestern State.
Ireland spearheaded efforts leading to construction and the 2013 opening of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum in Natchitoches. Ireland managed all aspects of the annual Hall of Fame selections and inductions from 1990-2010, and since has continued to coordinate elections while collaborating with LSHOF Foundation leaders to stage the Induction Celebration each year. Ireland ended his SID career in the summer of 2019. His 1992 Demon football media guide won Best in the Nation for Division I-AA from the College Sports Information Directors of America, and a 1997 historical feature marking Demon great Joe Delaney’s induction in the College Football Hall of Fame was second in a national CoSIDA contest.
In 18 months (1987-89) as a sportswriter for the Alexandria Town Talk, Ireland captured 15 top three finishes in the annual LSWA writing contest, including records of nine overall awards including six first places in the 1987-88 competition while he covered state colleges, high schools and did general assignment reporting. He picked up six more awards, two firsts, in the 1988-89 contest despite leaving the LSU beat in January 1989 to accept the SID post at his alma mater. Ireland added dozens of LSWA awards for writing and publications in 30-plus years as the Demons’ SID, including 33 since 2000. In 2016, he won the LSWA’s Story of the Year award as a correspondent for the Natchitoches Metro Leader. In February 2008, he was presented the “Distinguished American Award” by the S.M. McNaughton Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. Ireland was named the Alexandria Town Talk’s Cenla Sportsman of the Year for 2012, an acknowledgement of his dual roles with the Hall of Fame and NSU Athletics He was the recipient of the Southland Conference’s 2016 Louis Bonnette Sports Media Award for impact in the NCAA Division I league.
Ireland launched his career at age 14 as a sportswriter and columnist at the weekly Jackson Independent, and broadcasting for the local radio station while playing two sports at Jonesboro-Hodge High School. While earning his journalism degree at NSU, he was a news reporter for the Shreveport Times for two years, running the Times Natchitoches Bureau in 1981-82. He spent the next three years as the first-ever assistant SID at UL-Lafayette, then was an award-winning sports editor of the Natchitoches Times before joining the Town Talk sports staff in 1987.
The induction class includes LSU track and field coach Pat Henry, LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, LSU basketball guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, New Orleans Saints receiver Marques Colston, Southern second baseman Rickie Weeks, Nicholls and Southern Miss softball pitcher Courtney Blades Rogers and noted fisherman Bo Dowden.
Other honorees include NFL official Terry McAulay (Dave Dixon Sports Leadership Award) and a trio of Distinguished Service Award honorees in NSU Sports Information Director Doug Ireland, WDSU broadcaster Ro Brown and The Baton Rouge Advocate sportswriter Sheldon Mickles.
Ireland becomes the second Beta Omicron Chapter initiate to be enshrined in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. In 1995, NSU’s first All-America football player and legendary coaching figure Walter Ledet was selected for induction into the hall.