Finney Sr. in Loyola Hall of Fame
At one time, when New Orleans was considered the sports capital of the South, Peter Finney was there to chronicle the events in his column written for the New Orleans States.
He was there in the heyday of boxing in New Orleans. Curley’s Neutral Corner was a bar on the corner of Poydras Street and St. Charles Avenue, around the corner from The Times-Picayune building which housed the States and later the States-Item. The centerpiece was a ring where customers would watch local boxers work out.
New Orleans was sports heaven for a young writer when Finney broke into the business out of Jesuit at age 17 in 1945. It was home of the minor league Pelicans, major league baseball exhibition games, the nation’s third-oldest race track, Tulane and Loyola athletics, and Finney embellished every event.
His written word today at age 85 still flows like a sonnet as he continues to produce a periodic column in the local newspaper for the 68th year.
Finney has covered numerous Super Bowls and Masters’ golf championships. He was there when Michael Jordan’s game-winning shot gave North Carolina the 1982 national title. He watched Muhammad Ali retain his world heavyweight title against Leon Spinks in 1978.
During the course of his career, Finney was named Louisiana’s Sportswriter of the Year 17 times. He is a recipient of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Distinguished Service Award. The Pro Football Hall of Fame has honored him with its highest accolade – the Dick McCann Memorial Award. He is in the Sugar Bowl’s New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
But on Jan. 19 Finney received an honor he never expected when he was inducted into the Loyola University Athletics Hall of Fame.
“I know this honor has nothing to do with my prowess on the basketball court,” the two-year letterman quipped.
Although he rarely talks about his playing days for the Wolfpack’s basketball team in 1948-49, the subsequent year he coached the Wolfpup freshmen and his time as the school’s sports information director, Finney expressed his joy and appreciation to the gathering at the Danna Center.
Also inducted into the Hall of Fame were volleyball standout Kelly Fridge (2002-06) and cross country champion Michael Gulotta (2000-04).