Influential broadcaster Lanny James made widespread impact

LEGENDARY LANNY: Monroe-based TV and radio sportscaster
Lanny James did Lady Techster basketball play-by-play among his varied assignments, including Shreveport Steamer football and LSU sports. (Photo courtesy of Louisiana Tech Athletics)

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

A funeral service will be held Saturday for Lanny James, a Monroe-based television and radio broadcaster who did play-by-play work for the Shreveport Steamer football franchise, LSU, the New Orleans Saints, and Louisiana Tech’s Lady Techsters basketball powerhouse in the 1990s.

James, 82, died Feb. 2 in Houston. His funeral is in Monroe, at Mulhearn Funeral Home on Sterlington Road, at 2 p.m., with a visitation beginning an hour earlier.

James handled the Steamer broadcasts in 1975. His coverage of Grambling, ULM, Northwestern State and Tech athletics encompassed all 20 years (1969-89) he worked at KNOE-TV, the CBS affiliate in Monroe, and since then on local radio in
Monroe as a talk show host.

James developed the first Friday night high school football recap show in north Louisiana, Sportscope, which eventually extended outside football season to cover all sports. He hosted coach’s shows for Tech and ULM, and did LSU play-by-play on Tigervision in the 1980s, and handled some New Orleans Saints preseason contests.

He was an award-winning journalist in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association broadcasting division, and forged close friendships with area sports legends Leon Barmore, Maxie Lambright and Eddie Robinson, along with countless more athletes, coaches and administrators. The KNOE signal spanned all of north Louisiana until the early 1980s and the advent of cable TV systems.

“Lanny was a true sports legend in our part of the world,” former Louisiana Tech athletics director Jim Oakes told the Lincoln Parish Journal. “He played a vital role in covering the Lady Techsters, Tech football, and so many other championship teams. Channel 8 Sports was must-see-TV thanks to Lanny’s fantastic coverage of the area sports scene.”

Barmore, a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as the Lady Techsters coach, had great respect for and a firm friendship with James.

“There is about a 15- to 20-year span where he covered us, did our TV show, and we were golfing buddies,” Barmore told the LPJ. “We were really good friends. He was really, really good with what he did.

“I thought there were four people who were an integral part with helping the Lady Techsters get on the national scene in (Tech president) Dr. F. Jay Taylor, (Techster co-head coach) Sonja Hogg, (iconic Ruston sportswriter) Buddy Davis and Lanny James.

“Lanny was really good for the Lady Techsters and he was really good for me. I enjoyed him … he really got us off the ground along with Buddy Davis.”

Barmore noted that the Techsters and Tennessee’s Lady Volunteers were the first two women’s programs to have their own coach’s TV show, a key in building the Techsters’ national brand.

James served in the National Guard. His family suggested memorial gifts to the Wounded Warrior Project or the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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