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|Winnsboro High Girls coach inducted into hall of fame|
Many Franklin Parish residents have reason to remember Carrice Russell, the soon-to-be famed girls basketball coach at Winnsboro High School for 26 years.
Another event which will stir those memories is the induction of Carrice Russell Baker into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches on June 25.
A large group of her former players, including many of the members of her four Winnsboro state championship teams, are expected to attend the installation banquet.
Emma Bozeman of Winnsboro will be one of the speakers introducing Baker at the induction ceremonies.
Tickets for the event can be obtained from the Hall of Fame office at 318 238-4255.
When reserving tickets, patrons should indicate the inductee (Mrs. Baker) they are supporting in order to be seated close to the coach's table.
A total of eight new members of the hall are to be inducted this season.
The former Winnsboro coach won over 1,000 games during a 39-year career and is the winningest girls coach in Louisiana history to date.
Those wins produced eight state championships, including four at Winnsboro High School when girls teams played with three players each on two ends of the court.
Baker came to Winnsboro straight out of Louisiana Tech in 1946 and stayed until the 1972 season when she moved to Jena where she finished her coaching career. At Jena, her teams won another four state titles. Along the way, her girls won second in the state another four times.
Another astounding record was the 11 district titles and 20 playoff appearances while coaching Winnsboro players.
To prove that Franklin Parish was once a major power in schoolgirl basketball, the 1952-53 team, coached by Baker (Russell at that time), stopped the nation-leading, 218-game winning streak boasted by Baskin, coached by now Hall of Famer Edna Tarbutton.
That streak-ending team was the first to reach the state finals with state titles following in 1954, 1955, 1958 and 1960.
Baker returned to her native Jena in 1972, the first year girls basketball played full court with five players—the only major change in women's basketball competition since its inception.
Jena's Lady Giants had a similar experience under Baker. They won state titles in 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1979 and had runner up positions in 1976, 1980 and in the coach's final year, 1985.
Combined, Baker had records of 972-191 at Winnsboro and 384-53 at Jena with official records missing for three of her coaching years.
Several former players have assisted in the construction of mailing addresses of ex-students who may be interested in attending the Hall of Fame event.
Organizers are mailing invitations this month, but anyone interested in attending is welcome by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, which sponsors the annual event.