Eight Ragin’ Cajuns legends to enter school’s athletics hall of fame in 2023
Eight-member class to be inducted on October 20
LAFAYETTE – The all-time leading collegiate rusher in Louisiana sports history, a three-time All-American in softball, a pair of coaches who led their respective programs to considerable heights and a nationally-renowned publicist who covered the day-to-day operations of the athletic department for nearly 20 years are part of the 2023 UL Athletics Hall of Fame Class, the Board of Directors of the Ragin’ Cajuns Letterman Club announced on Thursday.
Entering the school’s Hall of Fame are Tyrell Fenroy (football), Lexie Elkins (softball), Tarek El-Sakka (men’s tennis), Blake Trahan (baseball), Windell Dobson (men’s track and field), Bob Bass (golf), Bobby Paschal (men’s basketball) and Dan McDonald (sports information).
The eight-member class will be formally inducted into the UL Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday, October 20 at Warehouse 535 (535 Garfield Street, Lafayette, LA 70501). The class will be recognized during the Ragin’ Cajuns Homecoming Game against Georgia State on Oct. 21.
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.
TYRELL FENROY (Football)
A New Orleans native, Fenroy became the first UL player in any sport and one of only a few in college football history to have his jersey retired before his final college game in 2008 … He became the seventh player in NCAA Division I history to rush for over 1,000 yards in four different seasons, joining a list which includes Tony Dorsett of Pitt, Amos Lawrence of North Carolina, Denvis Manns of New Mexico State, Ron Dayne of Wisconsin, Cedric Benson of Texas and DonTrell Moore of New Mexico as only four-time 1,000-yard rushers … The all-time leading rusher in UL, Sun Belt Conference and State of Louisiana history, Fenroy rushed for 4,646 yards in his Ragin’ Cajuns career and ranks second all-time in Sun Belt in rushing touchdowns … Fenroy earned Sun Belt Player of the Year honors in 2008 and was a three-time All-Sun Belt first-team selection (2006-08) after being second-team and Sun Belt Freshman of the Year in 2005 … Fenroy was named the State of Louisiana Player of the Year in 2008 and was a three-time All-Louisiana selection … He set the UL single-game rushing record with 297 yards on only 20 carries vs. ULM (10/4/08), the third highest total in Sun Belt history.
TAREK EL-SAKKA (Men’s Tennis)
Generally regarded as top tennis player in UL history, 39 years after his final collegiate season in the spring of 1984, remains the winningest singles player and winningest player in combined singles and doubles wins in UL history along with being the only player ever with four 20-win seasons in singles … Led then-USL to the most successful four-year run record-wise in school history at 89-37 from 1981-84 (24-5 in 1981, 24-7 in 1982, 13-14 in 1983 and 28-11 in 1984) … The 28 wins in 1984 remains the most team victories in a season in school history, and the 24 wins in both 1981 and 1982 are tied for the second most wins (1983 was the year USL left the Southland Conference and played what amounted to a national schedule against many of the country’s top teams as an independent) … Team won the Southland Conference title in 1981 and 1982 before leaving the league, and El Sakka won the SLC’s No. 1 singles title both seasons … Went 21-5 in 1981, 25-9 in 1982, 23-7 in 1983 and 23-15 in 1984, the latter two years against an independent schedule against several national powers instead of the SLC competition he comminated in his first two years … Career 92-36 singles record is the most in school history, as is his winning percentage (.719) among those with 50 career matches … Also had a 79-29 record in doubles, tied for second for most career doubles victories … His 171 total wins (singles and doubles combined) is the most in school history … Advanced to play in the NCAA national tournament three of his four years, his first as a sophomore in 1982 where he was eventually eliminated by No. 5-ranked Robbie Venter of UCLA … Also qualified for NCAA doubles with Boyd Bryan that year … Represented his native Egypt in Davis Cup competition, and believed to be the only former Ragin’ Cajun ever to participate in the world’s premier team event.
BLAKE TRAHAN (Baseball)
A three-year starter at shortstop and named to All-America teams three straight years for UL, including named as first-team shortstop on the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings All-America team as a sophomore in 2014 … Also A-A second team by both Baseball America and Perfect Game in 2014 and third-team A-A by ABCA/Rawlings and Louisville Slugger in junior year in 2015 … On Louisville Slugger and Perfect Game’s Freshman A-A team in 2013 … First-team ABCA All-South Central Region in both 2014 and 2015 … First-team All-Sun Belt Conference shortstop in 2014 and 2015 after second-team selection as a freshman in 2013 when he was the league’s Freshman of the Year, and named Sun Belt Player of the Year in 2015 … Three-time All-Louisiana pick, once first-team and twice second-team (a guy named Alex Bregman won All-Louisiana those two years) … Upon completion of his career ranked in top five in UL history in games played (194, third), runs (155, fifth), hits (239, third), walks (112, third) and sacrifice hits (23, fifth) … His 23-game hitting streak in 2015 (Feb. 28-April 11) is still tied for the best in UL history … Part of likely the best offensive team in UL history in 2014 as a sophomore when team claimed the only No. 1 national poll ranking in school history in the last third of the season … That team finished 58-10 and never lost two straight games prior to two losses in the NCAA Super Regional against Ole Miss, one win away from College World Series … Hit .355 and OPS .920 that year with 91 hits, 12 doubles, 49 RBI and 15 stolen bases while only committing 10 errors at shortstop … Hit .315 with 80 hits, 15 doubles and more walks (38) than strikeouts (32) along with 17 stolen bases as junior in 2015 … Team went 43-20, 58-10 and 42-23 his three years, won one Sun Belt regular-season title and two tournament titles while playing in NCAA Regionals all three years … Considered a potential first round draft pick prior to the 2015 MLB Draft, the Cincinnati Reds selected Trahan in the third round, with the 84th overall selection.
LEXIE ELKINS (Softball)
Twice a first-team All-America selection and an All-America pick in all of her three Cajun seasons, and one of the most decorated athletes in the history of a nationally-prominent program … Two-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association Catcher of the Year along with the three All-America honors including first-team selection in both 2015 and 2016 … Still holds UL’s school record for career batting average (.430), one of only two players to hit over .400 for a career and 28 points better than the second-place listing in career average … Slugged .989 in her career, also UL’s all-time best career mark and nearly 200 points higher than the second-place listing … Hit a remarkable .509 as a senior in 2016, the highest batting average in UL history by 62 points … 83 RBI and 167 total bases in 2015 rank third and fourth in school history for a single season … Fifth in NCAA history in home runs in a season (32 in 2015) and third in NCAA history in home runs per game (0.59 in 2015), and in top 25 in NCAA history in career home runs … Ninth in NCAA history in slugging percentage with an .859 mark which includes her first collegiate season at Texas Tech in 2013 – notably, she would be the NCAA’s all-time career leader in slugging percentage (.989, the NCAA all-time leader is Jocelyn Alo of Oklahoma, .987) if only her years at UL were considered … NCAA national home run champion in 2015 as a junior … Has two of the top four home-run seasons in UL history – 32 in 2015 (1st) and 24 in 2014 (4th) – and has the top two slugging percentage seasons in school history – 1.130 in 2016 and 1.077 in 2015 … Two-time winner of the James J. Corbett Award as Louisiana’s top female amateur athlete … Was the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year in all three of her UL seasons along with first-team All-Sun Belt pick each year and league Newcomer of the Year in 2014 … Three-time All-Louisiana selection including Newcomer of the Year in 2014 and Hitter of the Year in 2014 and 2016 … Led Cajuns to records of 49-10, 42-12 and 46-9 in her three seasons including a Women’s College World Series berth in 2014, three straight NCAA Regional titles and two other trips to the NCAA Super Regionals … The No. 1 draft pick by the National Pro Fastpitch League after her senior year in 2016 by the Pennsylvania Rebellion and played one year in that league, recording a home run in her first professional at-bat and leading her team in home runs, before serving as a graduate assistant coach for UL in 2018.
WINDELL DOBSON (Track and Field)
A 1994 graduate and native of Spanishtown, Jamaica, was an All-American as part of the 4×100-meter relay team in his first year in 1991 with a 39.60 time, still the third-best time ever for a UL team in that event … Won five individual conference titles and two more in relay competition during three-year career despite missing all of his junior outdoor season in 1992 with an injury … Six-time all-conference selection and helped lead Cajuns to six straight team titles, sweeping the indoor and outdoor titles in all three of his seasons in 1991 (American South), 1992 and 1993 (Sun Belt) … Never competed on a USL team that finished lower than first in conference competition … Named to Sun Belt Conference’s 30-year anniversary all-time track and field team in 2006, more than a dozen years after his final competition and one of only five Cajun track athletes so honored … Thirty years later, still ranks in the top five in four different events in Cajun history — fourth-best 200-meter time (20.67) and fifth-best long jump (25-2) individually, and second-best sprint medley relay time (3:16.86) and third-best 4×100-meter relay time (39.60) … Won three events in the American South outdoor championships in first year in 1991, winning the long jump (25-1 ¼), the 200-meter dash (20.72) and on the 4×100-meter relay (39.64), after winning the ASC long jump title indoors earlier that year.
BOB BASS (Golf – Lifetime Achievement)
Led UL’s golf team to 10 NCAA Tournament appearances and four conference championships in his 18 years (1991-2008) as head coach, along with his team winning 18 tournament titles against a strong schedule that was one of his hallmarks … Named the all-time men’s golf coach in Sun Belt Conference history when the league selected its all-time teams in 2006 (the league’s 30th anniversary), the only UL coach ever to be so honored … Coached two All-America selections (UL Athletic Hall of Fame member Trey Coker in 1992 and Hall of Fame nominee Richard Ainley in 2000), 31 all-conference players and 35 All-Louisiana players, including two LSWA Players of the Year and one Newcomer of the Year … Won three Coach of the Year honors including the Sun Belt honor in 1993 and 1997 … Coached 12 Academic All-Americans including two-time honorees George Cestia, Morgan Landry and Michael Smith … In first season, led then-USL to the 1991 American South title, its third straight league title and Bass’ first Coach of the Year honor, before following that with three Sun Belt Conference titles in 1993, 1997 and 2007 in his next-to-last season … Team made its first appearance in the Sun Belt in 1992 and finished second in the league tournament while earning an NCAA at-large berth … Following year in 1993, won Sun Belt title by a 25-stroke margin, at the time the second-biggest margin of victory in league history, thanks to the Cajuns having the top three individual finishers in the league tournament … Also won back-to-back titles in its lone home event, the Louisiana Classics in 1993 and 1994 … Has remained active in Cajun golf as well as in the Golf Coaches Association of America, which honored him with its highest award of service at its signature event that Bass has helped stage for years … Honored in 2019 at the Palmer Cup – college golf’s equivalent of the Ryder Cup – with the Arnold Palmer Cup Legacy Award for his service to college golf, becoming only the third-ever winner of that award … A 1965 UL graduate and a four-year golf letterman, serving as team captain as a senior and helping set the foundation for a Cajun squad that won the NAIA national title in 1967 along with a host of Gulf States Conference titles. He was also a two-year member of the football team … Past president of the Louisiana Golf Association and served as a board member at Oakbourne Country Club – now the site of UL’s golf facility – and as president of Acadian Hills Country Club and a member of the advisory board at Le Triomphe Golf Club. He was also one of the founders of the Bill Bass Open, UL’s homecoming tournament that honors his late father who served two stints as Cajun golf coach and as the first-ever UL alumni director.
BOBBY PASCHAL (Men’s Basketball – Lifetime Achievement)
The second-winningest coach in UL men’s basketball history percentage-wise, with a 153-85 record and a .643 winning percentage behind only Hall of Famer Beryl Shipley (.699) … Ranks fourth in total victories with those 153 wins … Led the Cajuns to five postseason appearances during an eight-year career (1978-86) as head coach, which followed four years (1974-78) as an assistant to Jim Hatfield when the two were the main cogs in the rebuilding of a program shut down for two years by NCAA sanctions … Led then-USL to the NIT Final Four in New York in the 1883-84 season before losing to Notre Dame in the NIT semifinals … Cajuns made two other NIT appearances during his career and won a first-round game in all three seasons, reaching the NIT quarterfinals in 1980 and the second round in 1985 … Led the Cajuns to two NCAA Tournament appearances, winning the Southland Conference title in 1982 in USL’s last year in that league to earn an NCAA berth before losing to Tennessee in Indianapolis, Ind., in the first round, and earning an NCAA berth as an independent one year later, falling to Rutgers in Hartford, Conn., in the first round … Was ranked in the top 30 nationally in career winning percentage when he left USL after the 1985-86 season to take the head job at South Florida … Won more than 20 games four times in his eight years including three straight seasons – 21-9 in 1979-80, 24-8 in 1981-82, 22-7 in 1982-83 and 23-10 in 1983-84 … Never had a losing season with the Cajuns … Made a splash nationally to start the 1982-83 season when a sophomore-laden team beat No. 1 ranked Georgetown (and Patrick Ewing), Washington State and Marquette in winning the Great Alaska Shootout … Also won the Sugar Bowl title in 1984 with wins over Florida and Kansas in New Orleans … After UL career, led South Florida to two NCAA and two NIT appearances along with a Sun Belt Conference title … Named to USF’s Hall of Fame in 2013 … Native of Enterprise, Ala.
DAN MCDONALD (Sports Information – Lifetime Achievement)
In a career dating to 1974, McDonald continues to pile up Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA) writing and broadcast awards and remains involved in sports media relations in the private sector. He stands alongside state sports information legends Louis Bonnette (McNeese), Paul Manasseh (LSU) and Ace Higgins (LSU) as inductees into the College Sports Information Directors of America’s Hall of Fame (June 2011) … McDonald was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame as the 2017 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism … In 26 years as an SID at Northwestern State (1975-80) and Louisiana (1980-99), McDonald became an industry leader in many aspects … Among those who benefited first hand from McDonald’s guidance include former assistants Herb Vincent, the associate commissioner of the Southeastern Conference; Greg Sharko, the media relations director for the Association of Tennis Professionals; Doug Ireland, the longtime SID at Northwestern State and current chairman of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches; and Pat Murphy, the head softball coach at the University of Alabama, who came to work as a graduate assistant SID for McDonald in Lafayette … After graduating in three years from Northwestern State, the Jonesboro, La., native spent one year as a sportswriter at the Alexandria Town Talk before Northwestern hired him – at 22 years old – to be the SID of what was about to become a Division I athletics department. In 1980, he moved south to Lafayette to handle the day-to-day operations of the then-USL Athletic program … McDonald won numerous CoSIDA awards for writing and media guides at both institutions, including national honors at NSU, and served two years on the CoSIDA Board of Directors … He was a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee media relations staff for two Olympic Games (Seoul, 1988 and Atlanta, 1996) and six U.S. Olympic Festivals … He also served two years as president, after a two-year term as vice president, of the LSWA and remains a key member of the LSWA Executive Committee and Hall of Fame Committee … McDonald retired from then-USL in 1999 to become the senior sports writer at the Lafayette Daily Advertiser and spent nine years in that role … Now a freelance journalist, he has won dozens of writing awards from the LSWA, including three ‘Writer of the Year’ awards in a five-year span, and was the 1999 recipient of the LSWA’s coveted Mac Russo Award recognizing members who remarkably represent the ideals of the organization … At the Advertiser, he captured a “Best of Gannett” national award for his coverage of the Little League World Series … McDonald has also done extensive broadcast and television work, including currently serving as a staff writer and television play-by-play announcer for Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics on ESPN+ … he has also anchored annual webcasts of Sun Belt Conference baseball, softball and golf tournaments and currently serves as the moderator at Sun Belt Conference Football Media Days … He and his wife, Mary Beth McDonald, operate the Lafayette-based McD Media marketing/public relations firm with an emphasis on sports PR.
- < PREV GCAC announces 2023 Volleyball All-Conference teams, preseason poll
- NEXT > Pelicans 2023-24 schedule announced