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|Big evening planned to honor pro athletes|
A host of celebrated Louisiana athletes will headline the Northeast Louisiana Pro-Athlete Sports Gallery and Banquet.
The banquet will be held Tuesday, April 29, at the Monroe Civic Center. A reception will begin at 6 p.m., with dinner following at 6:30 p.m.
Featured speaker will be Jerry Stovall. Stovall is a West Monroe High School graduate, an All-American running back and former head football coach for LSU. He also played defensive back in the NFL for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Other confirmed guests include Karl Malone, Stan Humphries, Elaine Powell, Chelsea Newton and Mitch Thomas.
"We are delighted to be able to have this opportunity to recognize the outstanding athletes from our area," said Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo. "We invite everyone to come enjoy the evening and help us show our appreciation to these amazing athletes."
Honorees will be presented plaques at the banquet, recognizing their career accomplishments, and they will have their photograph and credentials displayed in a gallery at the Civic Center.
Monroe's director of community affairs, Johnny Riley said, "Our team has put together an evening that not only shows our appreciation for an extraordinary group of athletes but allows us to show the community the improvements made to the Civic Center complex."
"This gallery is another part of this progress," Riley said.
Riley said the banquet also will provide an opportunity for children to meet professional athletes.
"In addition, this event may serve as an incentive to our community's youth that through hard work and determination, success can be achieved," he said.
After graduation from West Monroe High School, Stovall attended LSU where he starred for the Bayou Bengals in the early 1960s. He received his undergraduate degree from Missouri Baptist College.
After completing his playing days at LSU, Stovall was selected as the No. 1 draft choice by the Cardinals. He retired from the NFL in 1971.
Upon retirement from professional football, Stovall went to work as assistant coach to Paul Dietzel at the University of South Carolina. Like Stovall, Dietzel had ties to LSU as well; he guided the Tigers to their first National Championship in 1958.
From South Carolina, Stovall moved to Baton Rouge to serve as assistant coach to Charles McClendon at his alma mater, LSU.
In 1980, Stovall was promoted head football coach at LSU. During his four-year tenure as head coach he was named SEC Coach of the Year in 1982, guiding the Tigers to a birth in Orange Bowl.
Stovall currently serves in a leadership role at the Baton Rouge Area Sports Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to assist in securing and staging sporting competitions and special events for the Greater Baton Rouge Area.
Sponsorship information for the banquet may be obtained by calling Myra Gatling, special events and festivals manager for the city of Monroe, at 329-4947 or email Gatling at email@example.com.