It will be business as usual this coming Thursday, August 26th through Saturday, August 28th when a large throng of visitors will descend on Natchitoches, LA for the annual induction ceremonies of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame (LSHOF). That is except for one person.
For thirty one (31) years Doug Ireland has been the Chairman of the LSHOF and the one who has orchestrated the on-goings. This year, the 1978 Jonesboro-Hodge High School graduate will be in the unique position of finally getting to sit back and enjoy the ceremonies as he will be inducted as a member of the Class of 2021. With his induction Ireland becomes only the third Jackson Parish native to be enshrined in the elite hall, along with former Jonesboro residents Bob Hopkins and Dan McDonald.
Ireland launched a 30-year run as the acclaimed, innovative sports information director at Northwestern
State. During his tenure he 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 Sports Information Director post at his alma mater.
As SID at NSU Ireland added dozens of LSWA awards for writing and publications in 30-plus years, 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.
Additionally, 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 also 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. He also was a broadcaster for the local radio station (KTOC) all while playing two sports at Jonesboro-Hodge High School, where he was a member of the 1977 Class 2A state runner-up team and an All-District baseball player.
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.
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