LA Tech names press rows In honor of Prince, Hilburn

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RUSTON – Keith Prince and Wiley Hilburn were two mainstays in the old Louisiana Tech press box during their working days at the University.

In honor of their contributions to Louisiana Tech and its athletic programs, Louisiana Tech Athletics Director Tommy McClelland announced today that the press rows in the Buddy Davis Press Room of the new facility at Joe Aillet Stadium will be named in honor of Prince and Hilburn.

“We wanted to do something to honor both of these men, who meant so much to this University and the athletic department over the years,” said McClelland. “Keith spent 24 years working in the press box of Joe Aillet Stadium and served the University and the local and regional media all of those years. Although Wiley ran the University’s News Bureau for decades, his relationship with the media benefited everyone at Tech. We are proud to remember the loyalty and hard work of both men in this special way.”

Prince served as the University’s sports information director for almost a quarter of a century (1969-1993), leading the publicity charge for some of the greatest teams, coaches and student-athletes to ever don the Louisiana Tech colors. Hired by then Athletics Director Joe Aillet in 1969, Prince’s first year included the national coverage for the eventual No. 1 pick in the 1970 NFL Draft Terry Bradshaw.

“I am truly honored by this generous and thoughtful act,” said Prince. “As Tech’s sports information director, I always felt fortunate to have the opportunity to help serve the media while they covered our Bulldogs at Joe Ailliet Stadium. We all had great fun together, saw a lot of terrific players perform and witnessed many historic events in the “old” press box. I was proud to be there then but now I am equally proud that Louisiana Tech has a new state-of-the-art press box to serve the media.”

His tenure also included the Golden Era of Bulldog football in the early 1970s when Maxie Lambright and Co. captured multiple national championships, the Lady Techster basketball dynasty under Sonja Hogg and Leon Barmore that included three national titles, the Karl Malone-Dunkin’ Dogs era of the 80s, Pat Patterson and the Bulldog baseball team and the Lady Techster softball teams run to three Women’s College World Series. Prince was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 and will be enshrined into the Louisiana Tech Athletics Hall of Fame in September.

Hilburn spent more than four decades (1968-2009) at the University serving in a variety of roles while primarily chairing the Journalism Department. He was hired in 1968 by then Tech President F. Jay Taylor in order “to liberate the (college) newspaper”, the Tech Talk. In addition to his duties with the news bureau, Hilburn served on the Louisiana Tech Administrative Planning Council and on the Tech Athletic Council. He was as passionate about the university sports teams as he was his own journalism students.

“Wiley loved the Dogs, and through the years if he wasn’t present at the stadium, he was huddled up with his little transistor radio on the couch,” said Kate Hilburn, Wiley’s widow. “In his last years, sitting in the press box was his great joy, among his friends, watching his team play.”

In 1989, he received “Special Recognition” from the Louisiana Governor for “Twenty Years of Dedication to Louisiana Tech University”. In 1993, he received the Louisiana Tech Alumni Foundation Award for Outstanding Teacher. In 2009, on his retirement from Louisiana Tech, he was named “professor-emeritus.” In 2010, he was named “Distinguished Alumnus” of the Louisiana Tech College of Liberal Arts. He passed away Jan. 16, 2014.

Details will be made available soon through the University Foundation for anyone interested in making a gift towards the Joe Aillet Stadium Press Box project in the honor of Prince or Hilburn.

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