Louisiana Athletics 2021 Hall of Fame Class is as Special as it Gets
Louisiana Ragin' Cajun athletics has a rich and storied history.
One glance through all the Hall of Famers and any long-time supporter of Louisiana athletics will become nostalgic, while casual sports fans will recognize plenty of names on the list.
The Board of Directors of the Ragin’ Cajuns Letterman Club announced the 2021 Hall of Fame Class this week. All classes are special, and this year is particularly so.
The four-person Hall of Fame class personifies greatness, headlined by the late great Tony Robichaux, All-American softball pitcher Ashley Brignac, All-American baseball pitcher Phil Devey, and All-Sun Belt catcher and 12-year major leaguer Paul Bako.
Robichaux, July 3, 2019, at the age of 57 following a heart attack suffered ten days prior.
He earned 1,173 career victories, including more than 900 at Louisiana.
He was a head coach for 32 years, including 25 at UL, and 7 more at McNeese St.
Robe also pitched for both schools as a student-athlete.
Affectionately known by many as "Coach Robe", Robichaux left an indelible positive mark on the entire Ragin' Cajun athletic program, and so many other individuals he came across in his life.
Including Devey, a 1999 All-American pitcher who began his walk-on in 1997 and finished his collegiate career as the Ragin’ Cajuns all-time leader in victories (24), innings pitched (314.0), and strikeouts (352).
A Canadian native who grew up in Lachute, Quebec has spoken publicly for years about the positive impact Robe had on his life.
Devey led the effort to raise nearly $200,000 from former Ragin' Cajun baseball players to erect a statue of Robe outside of Russo Park.
While Devey eventually made Lafayette home, Bako grew up here, playing high school ball at Lafayette High.
Before attending UL, Bako was drafted by the Cleveland Indians out of high school, but chose not to sign.
The left-handed hitting catcher was an All-Sun Belt player at Louisiana before being drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 5th round of the 1993 Major League Baseball draft.
Bako would go on to play a dozen seasons in Major League Baseball, from 1998-2009, becoming the seventh person born in Lafayette to appear in the big leagues.
Bako was a favorite of Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddox, once dubbed by a Chicago sportswriter as Maddox's "secret weapon".
Speaking of elite pitching, Ashley Brignac personified it.
A highly regarded recruit in 2008, Brignac joined Louisiana's softball team in 2008 and immediately established herself as one of the best in the sport.
She was named the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the year three times, including her freshman season, and was a major piece for a Louisiana team that defeated #1 seed Florida in the first game of the 2008 Women's College World Series.
Brignac ranks third in program history in no-hitters with seven, and in the top five of multiple categories, including games pitched (133), games started (116), wins (94), shutouts (35), strikeouts (862), strikeouts per seven innings (8.37), and innings pitched (721.0).
The heralded 2021 Louisiana Athletics Hall of Fame class were be honored and officially inducted during Homecoming weekend (October 29th-30th).
The Best Robe-isms