Nicholls Athletics announces 2019 Hall of Fame Class

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THIBODAUX, La. – The Nicholls State University Department of Athletics announced Sunday the 2019 Hall of Fame Class – Leslie Bourgeois (women’s track and field, 2006-10), Matt Dinkle (baseball, 1970-1973), Reggie Jackson (men’s basketball, 1991-95), Cedric Robinson (men’s Basketball, 1982-86), and Cory Vavala (football 2004-06). The class will be inducted on Nov. 9.

The athletic department also added a special group of student-athletes to its Hall of Distinction. A total of 16 members of the inaugural 1971 football recruiting class finished out their eligibility and will be recognized as pioneers of the program. The list features Jeff Abreo, Jerry Barry, Larry Bland, Elmo Boudreaux, Alan Danos, Kenny Duke, Gary Fontenot, Randy Fontenot, Harold “Gator” Gardner, Walt Gaudet, Liege Hensley, Doug Love, Ted Murphy, Jerry Sanchez, Bobby Templet, and Mike Torres.

The Hall of Fame class will be inducted before the Colonel football game against HBU on Nov. 9. The ceremony will take place in the Danos Theater in Talbot Hall at 10 a.m. The group will also be recognized during the football game.

Bourgeois had a decorated career for the track program after originally coming to Nicholls on a softball scholarship. She set the school record in javelin at 161 feet, five inches and was a three-time Southland Conference champion in the event, taking the crown in 2007 before winning back-to-back titles in ’09 and ’10. The Raceland native is one of only 33 female student-athletes to win at least three outdoor championships in the same event. In her final season with the Colonels, Bourgeois became the first student-athlete to reach the national championship in consecutive seasons when she advanced to the 2010 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field National Championships. She was also a four-time qualifier for the NCAA Regional. A graduate of Central Lafourche, Bourgeois was a two-time all-academic honoree at Nicholls and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Dinkle was a four-year letterman for the Colonel baseball team and was a part of the 1970 Hall of Fame squad as a pitcher. He was named All-Gulf South Conference Western Division First Team in 1972 and ’73 and remains as the Nicholls all-time leader in strikeouts (304). Dinkle led the Colonels in ERA in ’71 (1.30) and ’73 (2.39) and struck out 109 batters in his senior campaign which is the third-best in school history. In his career, Dinkle tossed one-hitters against LSU, ULM, Loyola, and Southern Miss. He was later drafted in the 1973 MLB Draft by the Montreal Expos.

Jackson was not only one of the best basketball players to wear the Red and Gray but is just one of three players in Southland Conference history to be named first-team all four years. He was selected as the Southland’s 1990s Player of the Decade after earning player of the year in 1995 and freshman of the year in ’92. The Baker, Louisiana native led the Colonels to their first championship and appearance in the NCAA Tournament in ’95. That season, he led the conference in scoring with 21.6 points per game.

Jackson ranks second all-time in school history with 2,124 points, which places him 10th on the Southland’s scoring list. Along with averaging 19.3 points for his career, he remains as the Colonels’ all-time leader in rebounds (1,271/11.6 rpg) and field goal percentage (.581), which rank second and sixth, respectively, in the SLC.

Robinson also shined on the hardwood for the Colonels, leading the team in scoring in all four of his seasons and ranks seventh all-time in program history with 1,680 career points. The New Orleans native finished his career with a 16.6 point-per-game scoring average and his .560 field goal percentage is fifth-best in school history. Robinson, who was named All-Louisiana in each season, also left Nicholls as the all-time leader in blocked shots with 144, which was broken only a few years ago in 2016.

Vavala was one of the top defensive players for the 2005 championship football team, earning All-Southland First Team in ’05 and ’06 as a linebacker. In his three seasons, Vavala helped transform the Colonels into one of the best defensive teams as the unit led the SLC in total defense and rushing yards allowed in their championship season. With 235 career tackles, Vavala was the top tackler in each of his three campaigns and had a team-high four interceptions in ’05.

The purpose of the Nicholls Athletics Hall of Fame is to strengthen and perpetuate athletic tradition at Nicholls State University. Members in the Athletics Hall of Fame shall consist only of those outstanding persons whose dedication and performance merit the great honors that the University can bestow.

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