NATCHITOCHES – Bobby Dower (top) and Glenn Quebedeaux (in a suit jacket!), whose innovation and leadership helped shape the modern era of sports coverage around the state, are the recipients of the 2015 Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.
Dower was a writer and editor for the Lake Charles American Press for 43 years. Quebedeaux had a 33-year newspaper career in Acadiana. Both have been cornerstone figures in the LSWA, including terms as president of the organization and roles on the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame selection committee, for five decades.
Close friends, they each resided in Crowley until Dower’s sudden, unexpected passing from cancer last July. Dower was elected by acclamation and presented the award shortly before his death. Quebedeaux was recently selected from a 16-person pool of outstanding nominees.
The Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism is the most prestigious honor offered to sports media in the state. Recipients are chosen by the 35-member Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame selection committee based on their professional accomplishments in local, state, regional and even national arenas, with leadership in the LSWA a contributing factor and three decades of work in the profession as a requirement.
Distinguished Service Award winners are enshrined in the Hall of Fame along with the 378 current athletes, sports journalists, coaches and administrators chosen since 1959. Only 54 leading figures in the state’s sports media have been honored with the Distinguished Service Award since its inception 32 years ago, in 1982.
Dower and Quebedeaux will be among the 2015 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class to be spotlighted in the annual Induction Dinner and Ceremonies on Saturday evening, June 27, at the Natchitoches Events Center. The Induction Dinner and Ceremonies are the culmination of the 2015 Induction Celebration beginning Thursday afternoon, June 25, with a press conference at the Hall of Fame museum at 800 Front Street in Natchitoches.
LSU’s all-time leading rusher, three-time Super Bowl champion Kevin Faulk, joins UL-Lafayette great and Super Bowl quarterback Jake Delhomme, former NBA champion point guard and Coach of the Year Avery Johnson, along with coaching legends Pat Collins, Yvette Girouard and Otis Washington, among eight greats chosen for the 2015 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class. College Football Hall of Fame member Leonard Smith and championship Thoroughbred racing trainer Frank Brothers are also in the Class of 2015 announced by the Hall of Fame and LSWA last October.
Also honored with enshrinement will be the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award winner, to be announced Wednesday.
The 2015 Induction Class will be showcased in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum, operated by the Louisiana State Museum system in a partnership with the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The striking $23 million, two-story, 27,500-square foot structure faces Cane River Lake in the National Historic Landmark District of Natchitoches and has garnered worldwide architectural acclaim and rave reviews for its contents since its grand opening during the 2013 Hall of Fame induction weekend.
The selection of Dower and Quebedeaux was jointly announced by Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland and LSWA president Brent St. Germain.
Dower began his career as a freshman at McNeese State when he walked into the American Press sports department asking for a part-time job. At the age of 25, he was named sports editor in 1976, then in 1993 took over as the paper’s news editor, later moving to editor-in-chief and managing editor roles, along with serving as chairman of the newspaper’s editorial board.
Best known for his personal and insightful coverage of McNeese athletics, Dower greatly expanded the American Press’ overall scope of coverage, adamant through his various positions that the paper could exceed the range of a typical small-town daily. He added new emphasis on local reporting on LSU and the New Orleans Saints while raising the bar on coverage of area high school and amateur sports.
A winner of numerous LSWA and Associated Press awards for writing and editing, including the inaugural LSWA Columnist of the Year Award, Dower’s ability to hire and mentor talented sports staffers was remarkable, and resulted in the American Press collecting hundreds of honors for its sports coverage during his career.
Quebedeaux started in 1975 at the Abbeville Meridional and two years later started a 15-year run as sports editor at the New Iberia Daily Iberian, where he was an innovator and acclaimed writer and editor. After entering private business, he continued as a sportswriter until 2005 as a correspondent for the Baton Rouge Advocate and other publications, primarily with UL Lafayette coverage.
His service to the LSWA has included managing the organization’s expansive writing contest annually since 1993. Before taking on that role, he won more than 50 awards in categories such as deadline writing, columns, spot news, headlines, makeup, section design, special section design and the LSWA’s Prep Writer of the Year honor in 12 years from 1980-92. One page design win in the LSWA contest came in a year when entries from all state papers, large and small, were combined into one category.
Quebedeaux’s Daily Iberian sports section, an afternoon paper, was a trendsetter. It was the state’s first to feature a full agate page, regarded as absurd by some colleagues at larger dailies. The coverage included hockey results at the dawn of its regional interest; racing entries with morning odds for two Louisiana tracks (Evangeline and Delta Downs), believed to be a first by any state daily; and morning betting lines on pro and college sports, not acceptable at the time at many papers. Quebedeaux also was one of the early trailblazers in state recruiting coverage.
In his term as LSWA president, Quebeaux reached out to smaller dailies and weekly papers, teamed with vice president Dan McDonald to produce a monthly newsletter before the internet, and membership reached an all-time high of 165.
The 2015 Induction Celebration will kick off Thursday, June 25 with the press conference and reception. It includes three receptions, a youth sports clinic, and a Friday, June 26 celebrity pro-am golf scramble at Oak Wing Golf Course in Alexandria. Tickets for the Induction Dinner and Ceremonies, and golf entries, are on sale this spring through the LaSportsHall.com website.
Adding to the 310 sports competitors currently enshrined, 14 previous winners of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership award and 54 prior recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, there are 378 members of the Hall of Fame prior to this summer’s ceremonies.
The 2015 Induction Celebration weekend will be hosted by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the support organization for the Hall of Fame. The LSHOF Foundation was established as a 501 c 3 non-profit entity in 1975 and is governed by a statewide board of directors. For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Foundation President/CEO Lisa Babin at 318-458-0166 or lisababin@LaSportsHall.com. Standard and customized sponsorships are available.