In terms of Halls of Fame, it’s been a great year for Lionel Washington.
In the same summer in which Washington, the former Tulane football standout who spent 15 seasons as an NFL cornerback, was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, he also will be one of five persons entering the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame on Aug. 2.
“I’m blessed,” said Washington, now the defensive coordinator at his alma mater. “I never thought this would happen.”
Also being that night in a ceremony at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome are basketball figures Avery Jonson, Kerry Kittles and
Hal Cervini, along with all-around athlete Anna Koll, who will be inducted posthumously.
The evening also will feature the winners of the Corbett Award, which goes to the state’s outstanding amateur athletes as well as honorees in seven other categories.
Washington grew up in Lutcher, where he was an outstanding all-around athlete, capping his career with a four-interception performance in the 1979 All-Star game.
At Tulane he started for three years at cornerback racking up 192 tackles and eight interceptions.
A fourth-round draft pick of the then-St. Louis Cardinals in 1983, Washington had one of the longest careers of a player at his position. Spending time with the Cardinals, Los Angeles and Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos, he played in 205 games with 165 starts and 37 interceptions.
He also coached for 12 years in the NFL before coming to Tulane in 2012.
As it turns out, the induction is the night before the Green Wave players report.
“I’ll be there,” Washington said of the ceremony. “Even if we were working, I’d find a way to be there.”
Johnson first made his mark in 1983 when he led St. Augustine to an undefeated state championship.
At Southern he led the nation with 13.3 assists per game as senior.
Despite being undrafted, Johnson went on to a 16-year NBA career — 10 of them in San Antonio, where he became known as the “The Little General.”
Johnson has been head coach at Dallas and with the Brooklyn Nets. He also works as an NBA analyst with ESPN.
Kittles, who also prepped at St. Aug before going on to Villanova where he was Big East Player of the Year as junior in 1995 and a first-team All-America in 1996.
The No. 8 pick in the draft by the Nets, Kittles played eight seasons and was part of two teams that reached the NBA finals. Kittles averaged 13.6 points-per-game before injuries forced him to retire.
Cervini was a three-year All-State selection at St. Aloysius (1949-51) before moving on to Tulane where he was a team captain and All-SEC in 1954 and 1955.
Being drafted into the Army curtailed any NBA ambitions. But Cervini did play on several service teams and later spent 26 years as a basketball and baseball coach with NORD.
Described as New Orleans’ “Greatest All-Around Girl Athlete” in the 1930s, Koll won the Southern women’s tennis championship twice, the Louisiana women’s title several times and state titles in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.
She set Southern AAU records in the 80-meter high hurdles (13.0) and the broad jump (15-11) along with the 50-yard dash and 120-yard hurdles. She was part of the New Orleans team which won the Southern AAU championship for four straight years (1926-29) and in each year she competed, she won at least one individual title.
She helped the Wiltz gymnasium win the AAU indoor baseball title three straight years, leading the league in batting each season. She also played on the Wiltz basketball team and made the All-Star Team three straight years.
Considered a Louisiana version of versatile female Olympian Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Koll died in 1988 at the age of 83.