Junior Lee Hedges, known as ‘Coach’ to most who knew him, passed away on July 9, 2023, in Shreveport. A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 15, at Norris Ferry Community Church, 10509 Norris Ferry Road. Officiating will be Pastor Denny Duron of the Shreveport Community Church. Interment will follow at Forest Park West Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4:30-7 p.m. Friday, July 14, at Norris Ferry Community Church.
Coach Hedges was born on Nov. 2, 1929, in Fifty-Six, Ark. His parents were Ova and Nona Hedges. His family eventually settled in Shreveport. After much success playing football and baseball at Fair Park, Coach Hedges attended LSU and played both sports there. As a running back, he helped the Tigers’ 1949 “Cinderella team” reach the 1950 Sugar Bowl. He played two years of professional baseball with the Baton Rouge Red Sticks in 1952-53.
After serving in the U.S. Army, Coach Hedges began a career of 30 years coaching and teaching in Caddo Parish as an assistant at Fair Park in 1955. He became the head coach at Byrd the next season at 26 and his first team reached the state title game. After four years at Byrd, he became the first head coach at Woodlawn in 1960. His second team went 9-2. In 1965, with Terry Bradshaw at quarterback, Woodlawn reached the state championship game.
After spending one year as an assistant at Louisiana Tech, Coach Hedges became the first head coach at Captain Shreve in 1967. In 1973, the Gators went 14-0 and won the Class AAAA state title. In 18 seasons at Shreve, Coach Hedges’ teams went 146-52-4 and won eight district titles. He finished his career in 1985 with 217 wins, still the most in Shreveport-Bossier City history. He also coached Captain Shreve tennis teams to multiple state titles. He loved tennis and spent much of his retirement years teaching the sport and watching it on TV.
In 2010, Coach Hedges was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame, the City Tennis Tournament Hall of Fame and the Captain Shreve Wall of Honor. Coach Hedges took great joy in the accomplishments of his three grandchildren. Like his late wife Nell, he had a soft spot in his heart for stray cats, including his sweet Kitty, which he brought into his home a few years ago. He also had a great love of country music and enjoyed country dancing with his wife.
Coach Hedges was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Nell; his parents Ova and Nona; his brother, Gene; his sister, Ruth; his brother-in-laws Claude Franklin and Larry Toland; and his sister-in-laws Elizabeth Franklin and Bobbie Toland. He is survived by his sons Russell and Doug Hedges; his daughter-in-law Lisa Hedges (Doug’s wife); his grandsons Austin (wife Rachel) and Jared Hedges; his granddaughter Katelyn Roan (husband Cody); his great grandson Hoyt Lee Roan; and nine nieces and nephews.
Pallbearers will be Austin Hedges, Jared Hedges, Cody Roan, A.L. Williams, Alden Reeves and Doug Robinson. The family wishes to thank the doctors and nurses at Christus Schumpert Highland Hospital and The Glen for their care. In lieu of flowers, the family recommends donations be made to the Captain Shreve Alumni Association or to a charity of the donor’s choice.