Three former Ragin’ Cajuns, Lewis Cook, Jerry Simmons and Brandon Stokley, are among the class of 2018 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductees.
Cook’s legacy as one of the best high school football coaches in Louisiana is officially cemented. The consistent success of each team he has coached is astounding. In 33 seasons as a high school head coach for Rayne, Crowley and Notre Dame, he has won 24 district titles and reached the state playoffs 30 times.
In 11 trips to the state championship game, Cook has lead his teams to four state titles. In his career, he has won six state Coach of the Year awards. Cook’s 344-83 record as a head coach ranks him in the top five all-time in the state of Louisiana.
While Cook’s dominance at the high school level is indisputable, he also excelled at the college level. In two different four-year stints from 1981-84 and 1992-95, Cook was an assistant coach for the Ragin’ Cajuns. In his second stint, Cook was an offensive coordinator for a Louisiana team that featured Stokley and Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame member Jake Delhomme.
In 35 games over four seasons as a college football player with the Ragin’ Cajuns, Stokley recorded 241 receptions for 3,702 yards and 25 touchdowns. Stokley’s record-breaking collegiate career included becoming the first Division I player to average over 100 yards per game in three different seasons.
Stokley’s success as a Ragin’ Cajun translated well into the NFL. In his 15 seasons as a professional, Stokley played for five different franchises, winning Superbowl XXXV with the Baltimore Ravens and Superbowl XLI with the Indianapolis Colts.
Stokley’s standout season in the NFL was in 2004 with the Colts when he recorded 1,077 and 10 touchdowns on 68 receptions. That season was the first time that an NFL team had three receivers record at least 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in the same season. By the time he retired from professional football, Stokley had 392 receptions in 152 games with a total of 5,339 yards and 39 touchdowns.
With a career record of 492-197-2 over 26 seasons for UL Lafayette and Louisiana State University as a college Tennis Head Coach, Simmons holds many titles, including the most wins in UL Lafayette’s history, LSU’s history and the state of Louisiana’s history.
In his 11 seasons with the Ragin’ Cajuns, Simmons compiled a record of 214-92-2, boasting a winning percentage of .695 with the team. After his tenure with the Ragin’ Cajuns, he moved onto LSU where he earned eight Louisiana Coach of the Year awards over his 15 seasons there. In those 15 seasons, LSU finished top 10 in the country 13 times, and he finished his career with a 278-105 record at LSU.
Simmons proved that he was ahead of his time at USL, now UL Lafayette, by being the first tennis coach in the country to gain corporate sponsorship for a tennis collegiate event: the 1977 USL Rolex Tennis Classic.
In 1998, Simmons made history by becoming the youngest coach in history to be inducted into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Hall of Fame.