Former McNeese quarterback standout Kerry Joseph slipped on the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame sports coat at the 2024 kick-off celebration and press conference about as smooth as a quarterback dropping in a perfect touchdown lob to his favorite receiver.

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Joseph and the rest of the 2024 Induction Class were presented in person for the first time at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum to kick off the hall of fame weekend which culminated with induction ceremony at the Natchitoches Events Center.

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The New Iberia native joined 11 others at the Natchitoches Events Center to officially be inducted into the Hall. The remaining class includes former Southland Conference Commissioner Tom Burnett, who inducted Joseph into the SLC Hall of Honor in 2012; New Orleans Saints great and Super Bowl winning quarterback Drew Brees; LSU and WNBA standout and Olympic Gold Medal winner Seimone Augustus; UFC champion Daniel Cormier; high school coaching legend Frank Monica; LSU and Olympic wrestler Kevin Jackson; horse racing jockey champion Ray Sibille; Grambling baseball coaching legend Wilbert Ellis; Tulane basketball coaching great Perry Clark; and award-winning Louisiana sports writers Bobby Ardoin and Ron Higgins.

“This means a lot,” said Joseph who quarterbacked the Cowboys from 1992-95 and helped the team collect two Southland Conference championships with four playoff appearances, including a 1995 semifinal showing. “I remember sitting in Seattle getting the call. Was sitting at brunch with my wife, Courtney, and my mother-in-law. It was just a special moment. Growing up in New Iberia. I was just a country kid raised by my mom and dad and thinking about that competitive environment that I grew up with with my brothers, my cousins. This is special. It’s special to represent Louisiana. To represent home. To be a part of an organization (LaSHOF) of a lot of great athletes that have come before me, and just have this opportunity to look back on my career and my journey, and the impact people have had on me, as far as coaches, teammates, friends, family. It’s a special moment.”

Joseph becomes the 10th inductee to represent McNeese in the Louisiana Hall.

His path to McNeese was carved after getting noticed at a Cowboys summer camp when then head coach Bobby Keasler and offensive coordinator Mike Santiago noticed immediately his special talents as a passing quarterback. But he also had a knack as a great high school punter. McNeese and ULL (then USL) were his only offers. The Cajuns, however, wanted him to punt. He punted that idea and headed to McNeese to play quarterback, which he took over the reins in week three of his redshirt freshman season.

The rest, as they say, was history.

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He lived his dream of playing in the NFL, first with the Cincinnati Bengals as a quarterback, then a slot back, then running back. He then spent four years with the Seattle Seahawks as a safety and is still, to this day, one of only a handful of NFL professionals to have played on both sides of the ball in the modern era.

That drive to be a quarterback never wavered, however. After a stint in the World League, where he won a world title, he headed to Canada where he spent the final 12 years.

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“I just kept pushing myself and kept being determined, persevering, and whatever life threw at me, I was able to overcome. I was just able to find a way,” said Joseph. “It goes back to the way mom and dad raised us. How hard he was. When I really think about that journey, I think about as an 11-year-old kid being on the basketball court and my dad just pushing me to the point where I walked off the court crying. Mom wasn’t very happy about that, but what he was doing was building that perseverance and that character.

“I took that on my journey as a professional athlete, so when I had to switch positions, I just kept working to be the very best that I could be. I had a chance to go to Canada and make a career in the CFL. I pushed for that. And every time someone told me that I couldn’t do it, and people told me that I hadn’t played quarterback in seven years, how are you going to go to Canada and be a quarterback, I pushed myself to say I’m going to show you and I’m going to prove you wrong. And it turned into a 12-year career, a Grey Cup, and a CFL Most Valuable Player. I never said I couldn’t do something and never let anyone tell me that I couldn’t do it. It just kind of continued and turned me into the man I am today, and I take it on this journey as a coach now.”

McNeese fans (Getty Images)
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After he hung up his cleats, he took to the sideline as a coach, where today, is the quarterback’s coach for the Chicago Bears where he mentors and trains the 2024 NFL Draft’s No. 1 pick in Caleb Williams.

“It’s a target on my back to be coaching the No. 1 draft pick, but it’s been great,” commented Joseph. “You get an opportunity to coach a great athlete. You get an opportunity to coach a great young man with a great personality and great work ethic. When I look at him, I see a little bit of myself. But he’s more talented that I was, I can tell you that much. It’s going to have its ups and downs, but I’m going to be able to look back on my journey and be able to pour some of that into that young man and be able to help him on his journey.

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“I represent a lot. I represent the Joseph name. I represent New Iberia. I represent McNeese. The family, the friends, the coaches, the teammates. I don’t take it for granite and I’m very grateful. Everything I’m bringing to the Chicago Bears to help them to win and help them to the Super Bowl, Kerry Joseph is going to represent the state of Louisiana. It’s great to be a part of this.”

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Gallery Credit: Sydney DuCharme