Otis Washington, Avery Johnson named to La. Sports Hall of Fame
St. Augustine friends and family received some good news on Tuesday, which may temporarily soothe some of the sting the Catholic League’s defending football champion was feeling from an Oct. 11 loss to Gentilly rival Brother Martin.
On the field, the Crusaders avenged back-to-back routs by the then-Leonard Fournette-led Purple Knights by scoring a resounding 41-29 victory.
The lopsided win by the 6-0 ‘Saders was a grand turnaround from the 59-7 and 49-21 whippings imposed by the Knights in 2012 and 2013.
St. Aug fans, who were getting used to football victories again, have watched their teenage heroes defeat football factory John Curtis, 15-13. That changed when they lost to Martin a week later.
And it doesn’t get any easier for the reigning Catholic League champion.
Beginning with an Oct. 18 date with Archbishop Rummel, ranked No. 1 in Class 5A, and ending on Nov. 7 with a game against No. 6 and 5-1 Jesuit, the remainder of the Purple Knights’ opponents have a combined record of 19 wins, 5 losses.
But enough doom and gloom. There is great news on A.P. Tureaud Avenue.
The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame announced on Oct. 14 that St. Augustine’s legendary football coach, Otis Washington, and the basketball team’s “Little General” of 1988-89, Avery Johnson, will be among the 2015 induction class.
Washington and Johnson will join thoroughbred trainer Frank Brothers, former UL-Monroe head football coach Pat Collins, ex-USL and Saints quarterback Jake Delhomme, former LSU running back Kevin Faulk, pro defensive back Leonard Smith and softball coach Yvette Girouard in the Class of 2015.
The induction ceremony will be held during the summer in Natchitoches.
Otis, the legend
Washington left such a legacy as the Knights’ head football coach from 1969-79, that he is still considered the measuring rod for his successors.
His state championships in 1975, 1978 and 1979 and seven district titles in 10 years set the bar so high that even the school’s most successful coach, Tony Biagas (131 wins, 57 losses), did not get the notoriety he deserved.
In his short decade calling the shots on the Knights’ sideline, Otis accrued a record of 106-26-1, which would have been greater had his 1972 team not been forced to forfeit seven wins because of an ineligible player he was not aware of.
But the last three games of the season were victories that counted, including a 17-7 win over 1971 champion Brother Martin, who was awarded the ’72 district title by default.
Johnson was a gifted, play-making guard who had a career in the NBA that lasted 16 years. He played for six teams, most notably the San Antonio Spurs from 1994-2001, which he helped win the 1998-99 league championship.
Although undrafted out of Southern University, Johnson went on to play in 1,054 regular-season NBA games (starting in 637) and 90 playoff games. He also had success as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets.
He earned NBA Coach of the Year honors in 2005-06 when Dallas went to the finals.