A.H.S. Hall of Fame

 

2005 Hall of Fame Inductees

 

Howard M. Landry Jr. & Latasha L. Mitchell

 

 

Howard M. Landry Jr.

 

 

On April 7th, 1967, Leanne Broussard Landry and Howard M. Landry Sr. became the proud parents of their third child, Howard Landry Jr.  The Landry’s already had two daughters, Susan & Paulette.

 

Howard’s athletic career began at the early age of 7 when he began playing minor league baseball in the Abbeville Youth program.  Like many other kids his first coach was the legendary Bradley Palombo.  He also participated in various athletic programs such as Biddy basketball and youth football.  Starting at age 7 Howard was selected to represent Abbeville as an All Star in each sport he participated in through the age of 15.  He attributes much of his early success to numerous coaches, which include Mr. Bradley Palombo, Tommy Picard and Tommy Frederick (Poach).  His youth career ended playing American Legion baseball with arguably the best group ever assembled in Vermilion Parish.

 

His high school career began in 1982.  His freshman year he participated in football and basketball but a hand injury caused him to miss most of the baseball season.

 

His sophomore year he rebounded from the injury to post a 3 – 0 record on the mound for the Wildcats and was named to the first team All – District team.

 

Howard’s junior year proved to be his breakout year in baseball, while also lettering in football.  He posted an 11 – 3 record as the Wildcats ace pitcher, which resulted in attracting the attention of numerous major college coaches including LSU, Oklahoma State, Texas and Miami along with major league scouts.  The Wildcats finished the season with a 25 – 8 record (8 – 0 district record) ultimately loosing to Pineville in the AAA State Championship game under coach Paul Trosclair.

 

Howard earned the following honors his junior year:

-         First team All – District (other All – District teammates included David Roy, Gerald Gaspard, Kevin Meyers and Ronnie Maihles).

-         Led district with a 5 – 0 record and a 0.24 ERA

-         First team All – Parish Co-MVP (with former AHS standout Kevin Meyers)

-         First team All – State

-         Season record 11 – 3, 130 strikeouts, 1.35 ERA and one no-hitter

 

His senior year started by being recruited once again by the college teams mentioned earlier plus many more.  Midway through his senior season (during NCAA early signing period) Howard elected to stay close to home and decided to accept a full scholarship to USL (now UL – Lafayette) along with teammate Kevin Meyers.  The 1985 Wildcats finished the season with a 19-4 record (7-0 district record) under coach Errol Trahan who led the Wildcats to a third straight district title with 17 consecutive district wins.

 

Howard earned the following honors his senior year

-         First team All – District (other All – District teammates included Ken & Kevin Meyers, Pat Landry, Roland Frederick, Donovan Campbell and Greg Duhon)

-         District MVP (4 –0 record, 0.81 ERA)

-         First team All – Parish

-         First team All – State

-         Season record 8 – 2, 90 strikeouts, 1.05 ERA and a no-hitter

-         Selected to play in the La. High School All-Star game at LSU’s Alex Box stadium

 

His high school career ended with a record of 22 – 5

 

The following year, 1986, Howard’s college career began at USL, as the Cajuns were extremely happy to nab, whom coaches called the most sought after pitcher to come out of the state of Louisiana.  Howard as a freshman, led the relief staff with a 2 – 0 record.

 

In 1987, wanting to pitch more innings, he chose to go the Junior college route and headed to West Texas to play for the Howard College Hawk in Big Springs, where he helped lead the Hawks to a 35 – 11 record and a berth in the State tournament throwing 102 innings and posting an 11 – 3 record.

 

Howard earned the following honors his sophomore year at Howard:

-         Set the school record with 104 strikeouts

-         Ranked third in the nation in strikeouts

-         First team All – Region

-         Inducted into the Howard College Hall of Fame in 1989

-         Drafted by the Oakland A’s in the 25th round in the Major League draft

 

After being drafted by Oakland, Howard and his parents decided it would be best for him to return to college for his junior year and once again the Cajuns under Coach Mike Boulanger, were happy to have Howard back in Lafayette.

 

Just as former Abbeville High teammate Kevin Meyers would do, Howard chose his breakout year to be his junior year where the two (as one newspaper article called them the “Abbeville Connection”) would lead the Cajuns to a 41 – 23 record, a conference championship and it’s first ever NCAA post season appearance.

 

Howard earned the following honors his junior year at USL

-         First team All – Louisiana

-         All – Conference

-         All Conference tournament team

-         Twice named pitcher of the week

-         One week was runner-up for player of the week in the nation

-         Broke single season records with: 11 wins, 115 strikeouts, 123 innings

-         Tied record with 16 games started 

-         Ranked 2nd with 11 complete games

 

One week after the season ended his dream of one day playing professional baseball came true.  On June 1st, 1988 (the 1st day of the Major League draft) Howard received a phone call from the Boston Red Sox saying they had just chosen him in the 15th round.

 

He went on to play until a shoulder injury ended his career in 1992.  Howard’s best year was in 1989 when he won 12 games, ranked 1st in the Florida State League with 31 starts and 3rd in the league with 170 innings.

 

In 2000, he was selected as one of Vermilion Parish’s greatest athletes over the last 100 years.

 

Howard has been active serving his community with various involvement’s which included:

-         Organizer / Instructor of baseball clinics

-         Member of the Bay Area Bullpen Club which supports UL baseball and Vermilion parish youth organizations

-         Vermilion Youth baseball / basketball for the past 8 years

-         Coached the 1998 13 year old Babe Ruth All Stars

-         Manager of the 2003 10 year old Cal Ripken All Stars

 

Howard is married to the former Sandra Cormier of Mire.  He has 2 children and 2 step children,

Morgan – 16, Blair – 12, Shelby – 9, and Logan – 6

 

He is in the EMS field and has been employed by Acadian Ambulance Service for the past 13 years.

 

Howard would like to dedicate this special honor to his father, Howard Landry Sr. and his sister, Paulette Lattier, who are no longer with us.

 

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Latasha L. Mitchell

On September 14, 1975, one of sports greatest fans was born. Denise Mitchell
became the proud single parent of Latasha Lynette Mitchell.  As an only child the journey began.  Abbeville can be a tough place to grow up, especially for a little athletic tomboy. 

Sports have been in her blood as long as she could walk.  Nick named "Bird", Latasha never stood still.  Her relatives would say she moved in her sleep.  As an only child, the majority of her athletic experience came from racing relatives and neighbors.  Her first competitive race was against her all star cousins, who she looked up to as role models.  Latasha was not just an only child; she was the only girl on either side of her family for years.   Learning to compete became a part of her everyday life.

Latasha was talked out of being a manager by Coach Larry Winters. Pure raw talent was the reply of Latasha's first coach, Bridget Winters.  At J. H. Williams she tried out for the 7th grade basketball team and would not look back.  Her basketball became a perminant part of her wardrobe.  At her first track meet she set three school records, including the high jump, which she won first place without any practice. She became more than just a little tomboy; she was a record jumping track star. Abbeville High School here she comes.  During her freshman year she continued dribbling, shooting and racing.  Her number one idol was Michael Jordan, something everyone knew.  She admired his leadership ability as well as his efforts to go the extra mile.  Although basketball was her love it was track that put her on the boards at Abbeville High. As a freshman she was Outstanding Field Woman of the Year. After the award ceremony something happened that would become a driving force for Latasha.

 

A counselor called her into the office to find out who was misbehaving during the ceremony.  She told Latasha she was good in track and an all right basketball player but she would never make it to college. Those words stayed with her everyday.  Basketball was not going as great as track so during her sophomore year, she quit.  For about one long, long week she watched her teammates practice and scrimmage.  It was torture.  It was then that Coach Laura LeBeouf, would see something in this raw talent.  She helped develop what seemed like the impossible, a Leader. 

During her junior year she would become Abbeville High Female Athlete of the Year.  She would also make All Parish, All District in both basketball and track.  She would go on to win not one but two State Titles in the Long Jump and Triple Jump.  So not only did she become the best in the school but the best in the state and eventually earn a scholarship.  In 1993, Latasha signed with the Lady Cajun Basketball Team.  She became an honor student athlete her Freshmen Year. She received limited playing time due to an ACL injury suffered in high school.  During the first tournament of her sophomore year, she broke her nose and was out for the next 2 months.  Those events would land her on the sidelines. 

In 1995, Latasha found a promising new challenge at Vermilion Boys & Girls Club.  Mr. Thomas Falgout, then Unit Director, took over where Coach LeBeouf left off.  He taught her not only leadership skills but also how to become a Great Professional.  She was promoted from part time PE Instructor to Program Director to Branch Director of a new facility in Opelousas.  Boys & Girls Club though designed for youth, took her from an ex- athlete to an Outstanding Community Leader.  Just when it could not get any better, her long time dream would present itself.  She was offered an opportunity to become an Assistant Coach along side her mentor and idol, Coach Laura LeBeouf.  Together they took the Abbeville Lady Cats as far as the State Finals.  It was an experience of a lifetime.  In just a short while later, she would become Head Coach of her alma mater.  She would lead the Lady Cats to a Parish Championship and State Playoff appearance.  Coach Latasha Mitchell had reached her dream, however life is nothing without challenges.  Coach Mitchell resigned as Head Coach to continue educational obligations.  Before she did, she left a mark of Respect, Discipline, and Pride.  Those are the ingredients of a survivor, a champion and a real Lady Cat Soldier.  Nothing in life comes easy if it's worth it! You must be willing to work hard to get it and educate yourself to keep it.  Ms. Mitchell is back with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Acadiana and plans to continue her dream to create a multigenerational wealth of educated leaders for the future. 

This dream was made possible through sports and those who support our dreams.

To my mother, my coaches, my role models, family and friends, thank you!

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