Just being inducted into the Bossier High School Alumni Association Sport and Spirit Hall of Fame was special for Jim Gatlin.
But there was something that made it even more special.
“Everybody that was up there (on stage) was either somebody I looked up to, somebody I played with or somebody I coached,” said Gatlin, a member of the Class of 1979. “That’s what was special to me.”
The 2019 Hall of Fame class was inducted during a ceremony in the school’s auditorium on April 6.
Gatlin’s fellow inductees were Charlie Lewis (Class of 1976), Weldon Brown (2005), Dr. Brian Tony Mays (1979), Demondray Robinson (2005) and Angel Villa Martin (1979).
The 1983 wrestling team was also inducted.
Gatlin was a standout in football and track and field at Bossier. His specialty in track and field was the sprints but he also competed in the shot put.
Gatlin was also an assistant coach at Bossier for 18 years, serving as football defensive coordinator and head track and field coach.
During his tenure, Bossier won the 1999 Class 3A state outdoor championship. The Bearkats also won a state indoor title and had runner-up finishes in the indoor and outdoor meets.
Bossier also had a double-digit string of boys district championship teams. The football program also had a long run of playoff appearances.
Gatlin spent 10 years as the head football coach at Parkway. After he left there, he spent a year helping coach the football tams at Cope Middle School.
In 2011, he accepted the head coaching position at Northwood. Last season, the Falcons went 10-0 in the regular season and won their third District 1-4A title under Gatlin.
Gatlin was a freshman when Lewis was a senior at Bossier. Lewis was a standout in football and track, but he is most remembered for his moves on the football field at running back.
“He was the big running back, the star athlete and everything there, him and (linebacker) Jimmy Blackshire and those guys,” Gatlin said. “When you are a freshman, those are the guys you look up to. It was good to have watched him and go in with him.”
After making All-State in 1975, Lewis went on to play football at Louisiana Tech. He scored a touchdown in the Bulldogs’ 24-14 victory over Louisville in the 1977 Independence Bowl.
Brown was a football and basketball standout. He excelled both as a running back and defensive back.
He lettered three years under head coach Billy Don McHalffey, leading Bossier to three straight state playoff berths. As a senior, he rushed for a school-record 1,875 yards and scored 27 touchdowns despite missing two games with an injury. He was named the District 2-4A MVP.
Brown was a star cornerback at Louisiana Tech. He was the Defensive MVP in the Bulldogs’ 2008 17-10 Independence Bowl victory over Northern Illinois, recording 14 tackles, intercepting a pass and forcing a fumble.
Brown went on to enjoy a successful career in the Canadian Football League.
Mays graduated from Bossier the same year as Gatlin. He was a standout receiver in football and outfielder in baseball.
“I cannot say how appreciative I am of receiving such an honor,” Mays wrote in a post on his Facebook page. “Thank you to all the Bearkat ’79 class and Bearkat Nation family who came out and shared this event.”
Mays, who lives in Matteson, Ill., and Bossier High principal David Thrash were teammates on the baseball team at Northwestern State.
After getting his B.A. at NSU, Mays earned a doctorate in education at Jacksonville Theological Seminary. He is the athletic director and an assistant principal at Colin Powell Middle School.
Robinson was a four-year letterman in football and basketball. He also played baseball for one season.
While Robinson made all-district in football, basketball is where he made his mark. He was a two-time first-team All-District selection.
In his senior season, he helped the Bearkats reach the Class 4A state championship game. He was named All-State and The Times’ All-City MVP.
Robinson played basketball at LSUS, where he excelled.
Martin was a standout in the pole vault. She went on to have a successful career at Northwestern State and is No. 3 on Lady Demons’ all-time list in the pole vault with a vault of 10 feet, 11¾ inches.
The 1983 wrestling team included Randy Conklin, who was Bossier’s first divisional state champion. He won the 112-pound class.
Conklin was also one of eight regional champions on the team. The others were Chris McPherson (98 pounds), Michael Thomas (105), Gary Washington (126), Mike Vetkoetter (167), Howard West (185), Richard Jones (210) and Ron Dean (heavyweight).
Eddie Conrad (119) and Roy Smith (155) were regional runners-up. Other team members who placed at regionals were Rick Myers (fourth, 132), Jeff Graham (fourth, 138) and Galen Smith (third, 145).
Other team members were juniors Chuck Stigall and Bob Horne; sophomores Greg Shepherd, Mark Hughes, Greg Home, Wilson Rivers, David Haynes, John Marsalis and Chris McKinney; and freshmen Lane Graham and John Reeves.
Patricia Abbey, Bridget Presley, Michelle Lambert and Julie Colby served as Mat Kats.
Coaches were Ricky Griffin, Dominic Salinas and Rodney Washington.