Home » NSU announces N-Club Hall of Fame Class of 2024

NSU announces N-Club Hall of Fame Class of 2024

by Russell Hedges

By Jason Pugh, Northwestern State Assistant Athletic Director for External Relations; featured graphic by Brad Welborn, NSU Sports Information

NATCHITOCHES – One of the largest classes in the Northwestern State N-Club Hall of Fame’s history will enter the school’s athletic shrine in October.

The Hall will welcome 16 total inductees – two of whom could not make their initial ceremony – into its Class of 2024 during its 9 a.m. Oct. 26 induction ceremony ahead of the Homecoming football game against Lamar.

Entering the Hall are a pair of track and field All-Americans, a two-time All-American linebacker and a handful of Southland Conference champions across a smattering of sports.

Linebacker Jamall Johnson is the seventh of nine Demon football players to earn multiple All-American honors, doing so in 2003 and 2004. He is joined in the induction class by fellow linebacker Kurt Rodriguez, who owns the school freshman record in tackles (111) and topped the 400-tackle mark in a three-time All-Southland Conference career.

Sprinter Edgar Cooper helped lead Northwestern State to a pair of conference championships and earned All-American honors in 1987 as part of NSU’s 4×100 meter relay team. He is one of two track and field All-Americans entering the hall, joined by javelin standout Samantha Ford Hatten, a 2003 All-American who twice qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Inductees who captured Southland Conference team championships during their NSU careers are tennis’ Olga Bazhanova Moore, football wide receiver Nathan Black, men’s basketball’s Michael Byars-Dawson, women’s basketball’s Diamond Cosby, soccer’s Hillarie Marshall Coleman, softball’s Shannon Straty and baseball’s Troy Conkle and Brad Hanson. High jumper Janice Miller Moore, an individual Southland champion in her signature event, rounds out the 2024 competitive-ballot inductees.

That group will be joined by Distinguished Service Award winner Carlos Treadway, a standout football tight end, in the 2024 class. Joining them for the induction are 2023 electees Gene Tennison (football) and Matt Donner (baseball).

Johnson made the most of his two-year Northwestern State career after transferring from Delta State. He earned consecutive All-American honors in 2003 and 2004, collecting Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year accolades as a senior in 2004 when the Demons captured the conference championship.

Johnson notched 217 tackles in two seasons after winning a national championship at the Division II level with Delta State in 2002. A member of the Top 100 Demons of All-Time selected in 2007, Johnson played 10 seasons in the Canadian Football League after signing a free-agent contract with the Cleveland Browns in 2005. 

He had 600 career tackles in the CFL, including a pair of 100-plus tackle seasons, won a Grey Cup with the BC Lions and was a 2009 CFL All-Star and a two-time CFL East Division All-Star.

Johnson’s career followed that of Rodriguez, who will be inducted posthumously.

A four-year letterman who made started all 46 of his career games from 1999-2002, Rodriguez is the program’s third-leading tackler with 408 career stops and earned All-Southland Conference and All-Louisiana honors six times in his career.

A member of two FCS Playoff teams in 2001 and 2002, Rodriguez was named to the Top 100 Demon Players of All-Time roster in 2007. His 111 tackles as a freshman were the most of legendary coach Sam Goodwin’s 17-year tenure. Rodriguez’ impact lives on as the namesake of the Kurt Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship.

Rodriguez’ teammate, Nathan Black, gives the football program a third member of the Class of 2024.

Black helped the Demons reach the FCS Playoff semifinals in 1998 and another playoff berth in 2001 while leaving as the school’s leader in career receptions with 109, a mark that remains sixth in program history. His 944 receiving yards during his senior year of 2001 stood as a school record for 17 years.

A two-time All-Southland Conference selection, Black tied the school record with 13 catches and 222 yards in a 2001 FCS Playoff loss to eventual national champion Montana. Like Johnson and Rodriguez, Black was selected to the Top 100 Demons of All-Time roster in 2007.

Cooper and Hatten tie together the legacy of All-American track and field athletes at Northwestern State across different eras and different disciplines.

Cooper was a four-time all-conference sprinter who helped the Demon 4×100 relay team earn All-American honors in 1987. He also helped the Demons capture the 1985 Gulf Star Conference and 1987 Southland Conference team championships.

A two-time team captain, Cooper was a Dean’s List student and a member of the Blue Key National Honor Society.

Hatten added to the lore of NSU throwers by qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championships on two occasions in the javelin, earning All-American honors in 2003. That season was a busy, decorated one for the-then Samantha Ford as she won the Southland Conference javelin title and competed in the Pan-American Games that same year.

Hatten saved her best throw for when it mattered most, throwing a personal-best 162-7 at the NCAA meet, a mark that was second-best in school history at the time and still ranks fourth. She also competed in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, finishing 11th in her signature event and owns the Leon Johnson NSU Invitational record with a throw of 170-10, set in 2009 as an unattached competitor.

Competing between that All-American pair, the then-Janice Miller was a decorated high jumper who nabbed the 1992 Southland Conference Outdoor high jump championship after a pair of runner-up finishes in 1989 and 1991.

Her 5-8¾ clearance at the 1991 SLC Outdoors stood as the NSU school record for seven years and surpassed the school mark of 5-8 she set as a freshman in 1989. A versatile athlete, Moore also had NSU’s best times in the 100 (12.65) and 200 (24.9) as a junior in 1991. She and fellow N-Club Hall of Famer Peggy Lewis were the inaugural inductees on the Lady Demon Wall of Honor, launched by then-coach and eventual NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio.

Bazhanova Moore was a dominant piece of the NSU tennis program, captaining the team as a senior in 2012.

A two-time All-Southland doubles player, Moore and her partner Adna Curukovic helped lead the Lady Demons to the 2010 Southland Conference regular-season and tournament championships and the first NCAA Tournament berth in program history. The pair’s success led them to a No. 64 ITA Collegiate ranking while on the singles side, her win at No. 1 clinched the SLC Tournament crown to send NSU to its first NCAA Tournament.

Competing as Olga Bazhanova, she earned a pair of Southland Conference All-Academic team accolades and finished her carer 64-20 in doubles – the third-most wins in program history – and 47-31 in singles, the 11th-most wins in program history. Those marks stand sixth and tied for 16th currently. During her career, NSU posted a 67-21 dual-match record, including a 35-10 mark in SLC play.

Conkle and Hanson played nearly a decade apart in Natchitoches but share the distinction of being two-time, first-team All-Southland Conference selections.

Conkle did so in 1992 and 1993, hitting .343 with 11 doubles and 41 RBIs as the Demons captured the 1993 Southland Conference crown as part of a 40-14 season. Starting 108 of his 109 career games, Conkle completed his NSU career with a .338 batting average. Primarily a shortstop, Conkle also pitched, going 1-1 with a save in seven career appearances. He combined with Steve Smith on a no-hitter against Baptist Christian in 1992.

Eight years after Conkle’s career concluded, Hanson took over as the Demons’ back-to-back, first-team all-conference pick.

A career .374 hitter, which ranks second in school history, Hanson earned consecutive all-conference selections as an outfielder who also ranks fifth in school history with a .591 slugging percentage. After hitting .381 as a junior, Hanson batted .368 with seven home runs and 46 RBIs as a senior, helping NSU win the 2002 Southland Conference regular-season title.

In his two seasons, Hanson helped the Demons produce an 81-34 mark with a 33-18 Southland Conference record.

Like the Demon baseball duo, Byars-Dawson played a pivotal role at Northwestern State after starting his career elsewhere.

A transfer from the University of Miami, Byars-Dawson earned All-Southland Conference honors in each of his two seasons at Northwestern State and was a leader on the 2000-01 Demon team that earned the school’s first NCAA Tournament berth.

The Southland Conference Tournament MVP that year, Byars-Dawson led the Demons in scoring in both of his seasons, including a 15.8 points per game average in 2000-021. A 38-percent 3-point shooter for his career, his two free throws with 10 seconds remaining provided the winning margin in the SLC Tournament title game against McNeese, a 72-71 NSU win. Byars-Dawson was part of the “Fab 50” Division I-era (1977-present) group selected as part of the All-Century Team chosen in 2012-13.

Cosby was a two-time All-Southland selection, nabbing first-team honors in 2004-05, following a second-team berth for the 2003-04 league champions.

A prolific shooter who remains seventh in program history with 174 career 3-pointers, Cosby left as NSU’s all-time leader in free-throw percentage (82.3) – a mark that was sixth in SLC history and remains seventh currently. Cosby ranked second in the SLC in scoring at 16.2 points per game in 2003-04 as the Lady Demons reached the NCAA Tournament, and she led NSU with 17 points in the NCAA Tournament loss at Duke.

A year later, Cosby averaged 15.4 points per game overall – 17.6 ppg in league games – to earn first-team all-league honors. She remains 23rd in program history with 1,231 points – averaging 12.4 points per game.

Coleman was a four-time All-Southland Conference selection, including three straight first-team nods to start her career. As a freshman, Coleman earned all-tournament honors as Northwestern State won the event and clinched its first NCAA Tournament berth.

A first-team All-Louisiana and All-Southland pick as a sophomore in 2001, Coleman also helped NSU to another SLC Tournament crown and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2002. A defender, Coleman helped NSU post a 42-32-9 overall record and a 27-13-8 SLC mark in her career.

A versatile defender who finished with 50 career points (20 goals, 10 assists), Coleman led the 2001 NSU squad with six goals, including a pair of game winners.

Straty was the backstop and backbone of three straight Southland Conference softball championship teams in her final three seasons at NSU.

A three-time All-Southland pick – first-team in 1999 – Straty batted .302 for her career, which placed her fourth in school history at the end of her career. Her nine career triples were second in program history, her 94 RBIs fourth and her 265 total bases were fifth in school history at the end of her Hall of Fame career.

Treadway will be the first Distinguished Service Award winner enshrined since 2020. A two-time All-Southland Conference tight end, Treadway has carried the NSU brand worldwide in his position as the Executive Vice President of Ford Credit and CEO of Ford Credit Europe.

A 2022 Long Purple Line inductee, Treadway earned first-team All-Southland Conference and All-Louisiana honors as a senior and played seven games as a true freshman for the 1988 Southland Conference champions.

An involved member of both the NSU Alumni Association and Demons Unlimited Foundation board, Treadway caught 44 passes for 575 yards and four touchdowns in 39 career games and was named one of the 13 honorary captains on the 2007 Northwestern State All-Century Team. 

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