Peyton gets Manning family in exclusive Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame group
NATCHITOCHES – As a 12-year-old, Peyton Manning came to this historic city in northwest Louisiana as his father, Archie, was part of a star-studded 1988 induction class of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Thirty-one years later, Peyton will join his father as hall of famers when he is inducted Saturday night.
“I remember being here in Natchitoches that night,” Peyton Manning said Friday. “Terry Bradshaw was inducted, Elvin Hayes I think was a part of that class.”
There were more superstars as well, like J.R. Richard, LSU national championship coach Paul Dietzel and Olympic track standout Willie Davenport.
Archie earned his spot in the hall based on 12 seasons with the Saints. Peyton earned his spot because Archie was with the Saints … and then stayed in New Orleans.
“You’re only from one state,” Peyton said. “I’ve always been proud to be from Louisiana. I’ve always been proud to be a New Orleans kid, to take that with me on my journey. I’ve always had a great bond with the other Louisiana teammates I competed against.”
Archie and Peyton will become only the third father-son combination – along with Dub and Bert Jones and Glenn and Billy Hardin – to be enshrined in the hall.
Peyton Manning has special memories of the 1991 season, his sophomore year at Isidore Newman, when he teamed with his older brother Cooper.
“It seems like I competed 120 passes that year, and 90 of them went to my brother,” he said. “I was smart enough to figure out good things happened when I threw my brother the ball.
“Coach (Tony) Reginelli, he couldn’t have been more of a supportive coach. He always had my back and so many players loved him.”
Manning would become the nation’s No. 1 recruit and chose Tennessee. One of the coaches who recruited him through the process was an assistant at Michigan named Les Miles, who is also part of Saturday night’s induction class.
“I enjoyed the recruiting process,” Manning said. “My mom somewhere has saved all of those recruiting letters.
“The truth is, I wanted to go to all of those schools. But you can only pick one place to go, and I had a great visit in Knoxville.”
As to Peyton Manning’s football future?
“I guess I don’t have a one-word job description, like coach, executive or broadcaster,” he said, adding that he spent Thursday in Chicago working on a project for the NFL’s 100th anniversary. “I’ve stayed involved and stayed close to it, but I’m also protected some free time.”
Part of that will be seeing his son play flag football on Sunday, much like Archie did the day after his induction 31 years ago, when the Manning family rushed back to New Orleans for a baseball game for Eli.
This will be the first of consecutive weekends of hall of fame inductions for Peyton, who will join the Tennessee Hall of Fame next weekend.
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Lenny has been involved in college athletics since the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…