Call it a doubleheader for a hall of fame.
The American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) announced Tuesday the eight honorees for its Hall of Fame in January.
And two are from Louisiana.
Roger Cador, who built Southern University into a powerhouse among historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), and the late Tony Robichaux, who made the University of Louisiana at Lafayette a team to be reckoned with in the Sun Belt Conference, will be inducted.
“This is something for a young man from Pointe Coupee Parish,” growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, Cador said. “As the son of a sharecropper, you grew up to be a sharecropper.”
He had to convince his father to let him go to high school, Cador said, which led to an athletic scholarship to Southern University and a career as a coach, mentor and teacher.
“Look at all the good things that a young man from Pointe Coupee Parish could accomplish,” Cador said, that education could provide.
Cador gave credit to his first coach, Roosevelt Collins, who cut him the first day of basketball tryouts at Rosenwald.
Collins gave him a ride home that day to Ventress, Cador said, with little said between them.
The next day, Cador was back. And Collins began to work with him.
Cador said he provided similar encouragement to his athletes.
“It didn’t cost me anything, just a few kind words.” He said.
Sometimes those encouraging words may not have been kind, he added, but they were what was needed to bring a player down to Earth.
Other inductees will be: Bill Anderson, Occidental College (Calif.); Hal Baird, Auburn University; Sammy Dunn, Vestavia Hills (Ala.) High School; Wayne Graham, Rice University; George Horton, Cal State-Fullerton/Oregon; and Don Sneddon, Santa Ana College (Calif.)
The induction ceremony will be held during the 77th annual ABCA Convention in January in Washington, D.C.
This week’s announcement is one in a series of recent honors for the Ventress native.
Cador was honored by the Southwestern Athletic Conference as a 2018 SWAC Hall of Fame inductee and was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.
When Cador retired from coaching in 2017, he had a career record of 913-597-1, a .604 winning percentage, and 12-30-win seasons.
In 33 seasons, Cador’s teams won HBCU national championships in 2003 and 2005, 14 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championships and made 11 NCAA regional appearances.
Cador was named SWAC Coach of the Year 13 times and coached 10 players to All-America honors.
Major League teams drafted 62 Southern players, including 2003 Golden Spikes Award winner Rickie Weeks.
Cador also holds the distinction of leading first HBCU team to a win in an NCAA regional, upsetting No. 2 Cal State Fullerton, 1-0, in 1987.
He helped organize the Urban Baseball Invitational, now known as the Andre Dawson Classic, which has featured HBCU schools in national telecasts on ESPN and the MLB Network from Los Angeles, Houston and New Orleans.
Cador also works with Major League Baseball and its diversity task force to bring baseball back to inner-city communities.
Next week, Cador will be joined Hall of Famer Harold Baines for an MLB-sponsored discussion online on increasing the number African-American kids in baseball.
Fewer are playing in high school and college, which ultimately is reflected in the professional ranks.
The Society for Baseball Research reports that in 1981, African Americans made up 18.7 percent of Major League players, while Hispanics were 11.1 percent.
In 2016, the last year numbers were posted on its website, African-Americans were only 6.7 percent, compared to 27.4 percent for Hispanics.
Cador was a standout baseball player for the Jaguars from 1970-73, leading the team with a .393 batting average in 1972.
He played professionally in the Atlanta Braves organization from 1973-77, advancing to the Class AAA Richmond Braves before returning to Southern as an assistant baseball coach and basketball assistant coach.
Tony Robichaux spent 25 seasons at the helm of the Ragin’ Cajuns and 33 seasons overall as a coach.
Robichaux guided ULL to 12 NCAA regional appearances, four NCAA super regional appearances and the 2000 College World Series.
His teams won seven Sun Belt Conference crowns and four tournament titles.
In 2015, Robichaux became the 51st coach in NCAA Division I history to post 1,000 career wins.
He posted a career record of 1,177-767-2, a .605 winning percentage.