NATCHITOCHES — Former LSU pitcher and longtime television sports broadcaster/executive Ronnie Rantz was named Thursday the CEO and president of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation.
Rantz, who has two decades of extensive business development experience around the state, was chosen from a lengthy list of candidates considered during a search process that lasted a little more than a month.
A Denham Springs resident, Rantz takes over from Lisa Babin, who served in the position from 2010 until resigning last month.
Rantz, an Alexandria native and left-handed pitcher on LSU’s national championship teams in 1991 and ’93, officially took over Thursday.
He emerged as the top candidate from more than three dozen applicants considered by the foundation's search committee. The hiring was approved Wednesday night during a foundation board of directors meeting in Lafayette.
“We were ecstatic at the high caliber of the candidates who pursued our position and could not be more pleased to complete the search by hiring Ronnie,” said board chair Brian Cheramie, a Cut Off businessman.
The Hall of Fame Foundation is the business arm of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, which was created in 1958 by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.
Along with providing financial support, marketing and management for the Hall of Fame induction celebration held each year in late June, the foundation supports and promotes the state-run Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum, which opened in Natchitoches in 2013.
“Ronnie’s long track record of successful marketing and promoting endeavors on various platforms translates perfectly to this position,” Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland said. “He has extensive experience working in Louisiana’s business community, brokering mutually beneficial partnerships and also assisting with charitable and community causes."
A standout athlete at Menard High School in the late 1980s, Rantz made the All-Southeastern Conference tournament team in 1992.
After helping the Tigers win the College World Series title in 1993, he played in the minor leagues in the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers organizations.
After an arm injury ended his pro career, Rantz moved into broadcasting in 1998 and is best known statewide, and beyond, for his role as producer and color analyst for Jumbo Sports Network television broadcasts of LSU baseball.
Rantz has been as a color analyst for football, basketball and baseball telecasts for regional networks covering the SEC and Southwestern Athletic Conference as well as the Sun Belt and Southland conferences — and high school contests.
He also has extensive experience in event management, including more than a year as general manager of the Lafayette Roughnecks arena league football team.
Rantz has been engaged in marketing and fundraising activities related to high school and college sports and the health care industry and has also had an association with L’Auberge Baton Rouge Casino.
Among his charitable activities are working with fundraising events such as golf tournaments to support the National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana and the Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation.
Rantz has generated more than $5 million in sports marketing sponsorships in the past 20 years.