Former BPT Sports Editor Jerry Byrd passed away April 21 at the age of 80.
Byrd was the sports editor at the Press-Tribune from 1993-2012. He continued to write his column after current BPT Sports Editor Russell Hedges took over the position.
Byrd’s love of sports began as a youth growing up in Shreveport and Bossier City. He attended Bossier High as a freshman and C.E. Byrd as a sophomore before transferring to Fair Park. That’s where he began writing about sports for the school newspaper.
He began his career in sports journalism at the Journal in 1957 immediately after graduating from from what was then known as Northwestern State College. He stayed there for 37 years until the paper shut down in 1991.
After that, he had a short stint writing for a weekly community-oriented section of The Shreveport Times. Soon after he was hired to cover sports for the Minden Press-Herald. In 1993, he became sports editor of The Press-Tribune.
Byrd won dozens of awards, including many at The Press-Tribune. In 1996, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. In 2001, he was inducted into the Louisiana High School Athletic Association/Louisiana High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame. In 2012, he was inducted into the Ark-La-Tex Sports Museum of Champions.
No one knows more about sports — and especially its history — in Northwest Louisiana. He published six books on the subject. Many of Byrd’s columns were devoted to athletes who set school, parish or even national records.
Haughton principal Gene Couvillion, a longtime baseball coach at Haughton, called Byrd a “walking encyclopedia” of sports.
Bossier High principal David Thrash said, “There will never be another Jerry Byrd, ever.”
Longtime parish coach and administrator Mitch Downey, now the principal at Benton High School, called Byrd an “icon.”