31 Jul 2016

CHS Announces 2016 Grizzly Great Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees

UPDATE: 8.12.16
Due to inclement weather, the Grizzly Greats Athletic Hall of Fame induction banquet has been rescheduled to Friday, Aug. 19. The venue and program time will remain the same. 

Currently this event is closed to the general public. If you have already RSVP’d for the event but will no longer be able to attend on Aug. 19, please contact Samantha Murray at smurray@catholichigh.org by Tuesday, Aug. 16.

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This year, the Catholic High School Grizzly Greats Athletic Hall of Fame will induct four new members into its ranks. The late Warren Virgets ’48, Dr. Michael Blanchard ’90, Wesley Salmon ’91 and Jonathan Pixley ’92 will be introduced as the newest members on Friday, Aug. 12, at a banquet held at De La Ronde Hall in Baton Rouge.

A 1948 graduate of Catholic High, the late Mr. Warren Nicholas Virgets was a three-sport standout earning Varsity letters in baseball, football and basketball. As a member of the Catholic High School varsity football team his junior and senior years, Virgets lead the Bears in receiving yards and was selected to the All-City football team both in 1946 and 1947. His performance on the field in 1947 further garnered selection to the All-State team, and he was invited to play in the Louisiana High School All-Star game. Virgets was also a member of the Catholic High School Basketball team that earned a City Runner-Up and an appearance in the State Semifinals during the 1947-1948 season. Following his career at Catholic High School, he accepted a scholarship offer from Louisiana State University to play football and led LSU in receiving yards in 1950 and 1951. He also held the LSU record for most receiving yards and most receiving touchdowns in a game for 17 years. His accomplishments in football at LSU earned him a spot on the Preseason All-Southeastern Conference team, an All-American Honorable Mention, and an invitation to the Blue-Gray College All-Star game in 1951. Despite having numerous invitations to play professional football, Virgets chose to enter the Air Force after college where he earned the rank of second lieutenant. Away from the field of play, Virgets served the Catholic High School community, both as a student and alumnus, in various capacities. As a student, he was a member of the Senior Sodality Organization, a Catholic fraternal organization dedicated to service, and attended a Student Military Training Camp which would aid in his military career some years later. As an alumnus, Virgets was a member of the CHS Men’s Club and was selected Men’s Club President in 1978. Virgets celebrated 58 years of marriage with Sonya Leblanc Virgets before his passing in 2013. Virgets’ Catholic High School legacy includes his brother, three sons and five grandsons; all graduates of Catholic High School.

Dr. Michael Blanchard graduated from Catholic High School in 1990 following a high school career replete with both athletic and academic accomplishments. A four-year member of both the football and track and field teams, Blanchard earned varsity letters in 1987-1988, 1988-1989 and 1989-1990.  At his senior year Honors Convocation, Michael was named Student Athlete of the Year, a Catholic High School Man of the Year, Co-Valedictorian and the Outstanding Graduate of the 1990 class. Blanchard attended Louisiana State University where he was a member of the Football Team. At LSU, he was named to the SEC Honor Roll four times between 1991 and 1994, second team Academic All-American in 1993, and First Team Academic All-American in 1994. In 1994, Blanchard was also named the Southeastern Conference H. Boyd McWhorter Male Scholar Athlete of the Year. Following his college football career, Blanchard attended Medical School at Louisiana State University and now practices as an Orthopedist in Baton Rouge. Blanchard and his wife, Tricia, have three children:  Annie (14), Joey (12) and Tommy (11).

A 1991 graduate, Wesley Salmon was a stand-out athlete in football, track and field, and weightlifting during his tenure at Catholic High School. As a member of the CHS football team, Salmon was a two-year letterman and helped lead the Bears football program to its first playoff win in nine years in 1989. As a senior, Salmon led the Bears to a State Runner-Up finish, compiling an overall record of 13-2 and winning the District Championship. That year, he was named to the All-District, All-Metro and All-State teams and was awarded Best Offensive Linemen at the CHS Sports Convocation. Salmon also won District, Regional and State team championships as a member of the Catholic High School track and field team in 1991. At the Catholic High School Honors Convocation in 1991, Salmon was named the Student Athlete of the Year and a CHS Man of the Year. Due to his football accomplishments, Salmon earned an athletic scholarship to Tulane University where he was a member of the Green Wave Football team between 1991-1993. Wesley came back to his alma mater as Head Coach of the CHS freshmen football team where he compiled a record of 87-12 over the course of 13 years. Salmon and his wife, Jen Woods Salmon, have two children: Grace (14) and Michael (12).

Jonathan Pixley was a starter and three-year varsity letterman for the Catholic High School basketball Team before graduating from CHS in 1992. Under his leadership, the 1991-1992 CHS basketball team finished the regular season 29-0 winning the District title and making a run to the Final Four. Pixley earned All-District, All-Parish and All-State honors in 1992 and received an athletic scholarship to play basketball for Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. While at Samford, he was named to the Freshman All-Conference team in 1994, the All-Conference team in 1995 and first team All-Conference in 1996 and 1997. At the close of his collegiate career, Pixley was the all-time leader in three-point field goals made, third in field goal percentage and sixth in total scoring in the Trans-American Athletic Conference. Pixley was invited to try out for the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers in 1997 just prior to suffering a career-ending knee injury. He is the current head basketball coach for the Dunham School where he has won four District Titles and complied over 300 wins. Pixley and his wife, Donna, live in Baton Rouge and have two daughters: Hannah (14) and Caylin (10).

The CHS Grizzly Greats Hall of Fame honors any person who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to the athletic program, selfless sacrifice of time and effort, leadership and whose actions portray characteristics which further the mission of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart and whose life and accomplishments can be an inspiration to the athletes of Catholic High.