Colleagues and former athletes are mourning the death of longtime track coach James “Mac” McCall.
McCall is best known for his years as head coach at Woodlawn High, where he won a state title in the 1970s. He was 73.
“Mac was a great coach, and his kids loved him,” said Wayne Messina, who coached with McCall at Woodlawn. “I never heard him say a cross word to an athlete. He always found ways to get the most out of the athletes he had. The year Woodkawn won state, I think only five or six athletes qualified for state.”
Dutchtown coach John Talley was among McCall’s former athletes. McCall, a 1961 Plaquemine graduate, also coached at Central and White Castle.
Stanford honors Johnston
Shelly Ripple Johnston is part of eight-member induction class for the Stanford Hall of Fame. The former Parkview Baptist swimmer was a 17-time All-American for the Cardinal and will be honored at halftime of Stanford’s football game with Southern Cal on Sept. 16.
Johnston was a high school All-American for PBS before starring at Stanford from 1998-2002.
Johnson was an 11-time PAC-10 champion who won the 200 butterfly with a then record time of 1:53.23 at the NCAA championships as a senior. She also was the 100 butterfly runner-up at the NCAA meet that year.
During her collegiate career, Johnston was part of 200 and 400 medley relay teams that set American records. She won the 200 butterfly, 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley at the PAC-10 championships as a senior.
Edens excels again
Former St. Michael baseball standout Austin Edens of Samford had an impressive sophomore season. Edens batted .310 with 19 home runs and 59 RBIs.
Edens’ home run total was the eighth highest in the nation and three higher than his freshman season in which he earned freshman All-America honors. He was first-team All-Southern Conference as a first baseman/designated hitter, made the Rawlings all-region first team and was picked as a second-team All-America by the National College Baseball Writers Association.
All-Academic honors and Player of the Month honors for April were other Southern Conference honors for Edens.
The only thing Edens didn’t get to do was compete in the College World Series Home Run Derby. He has recovered from postseason back surgery that kept him from competing in the CWS event.
They’re kicking it
Two local standouts who made their mark at different schools are part of preseason college watch lists.
Former Woodlawn kicker Jonathan Barnes of Louisiana Tech is on the Lou Groza award preseason watch list for the nation’s top kickers. Ex-Dutchtown High punter Tyler Sarrazin of Southern Miss is on the Ray Guy award preseason list for the nation’s top punters.
Zachary’s Brady Bennett was the runner-up at the 59th LGA Junior Championship with a three-round total of 210 at Alexandria’s Links on the Bayou course last week.
Nick Daniel of Covington won the tourney with a 209 total. Catholic High’s Parker Johnson finished in a tie for third at 211.