Five Individual Annual Awards to be Presented at New Orleans Hall of Fame Banquet
NEW ORLEANS (July 24, 2018) – Four high school representatives and one college coach will be recognized as the best in the local region at the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday, August 4, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, selects annual award winners in a variety of categories; it also selects Amateur Athletes of the Month and each year’s Hall of Fame class. Overall, 23 individuals and three teams will be honored at the banquet. This year’s Hall of Fame class was announced over the last four days while the Corbett Awards, which recognize the top male and female amateur athletes in the state, will be released later this week.
Aleia Hobbs, the national champion sprinter from LSU, will be honored as the Greater New Orleans Female Amateur Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive year and Hahnville High football star Anthony “Pooka” Williams will be recognized as the Greater New Orleans Male Amateur Athlete of the Year.
Jeff Curtis, the head coach of the John Curtis Christian School baseball team, will be honored as the Greater New Orleans Boys’ Prep Coach of the Year, while Danny Tullis, the head coach of the Pope John Paul II High School volleyball squad, will be presented with the Greater New Orleans Girls’ Prep Coach of the Year honor. Both of their teams will also be recognized at the event as the top high school teams in the region.
Finally, Nicholls State football coach Tim Rebowe was selected as the Outstanding College Coach for the State of Louisiana.
Hobbs, a graduate of McMain High School, won the 100-meter dash at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships while also keying LSU’s 4×100 relay victory; those outdoor wins followed up on a 60-meter dash championship at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in March (with the sixth fastest time in the world this year). Prior to the NCAA Outdoor title, she set a meet record in 100 and won the NCAA East Regional Championships with a time of 10.90 – the second-fastest in the world in 2018.
Williams, who was named Mr. Football for Louisiana by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, the Offensive Player of the Year for The New Orleans Advocate’s All-Metro Team for Large Schools and the Offensive Player of the Year on USA Today’s All-Louisiana team, finished the season with 3,128 yards and 37 rushing touchdowns in leading the Tigers to the Class 5A state championship game. He also caught eight passes for 169 yards and a touchdown, returned six kickoffs for 333 yards and a touchdown and returned three punts for 64 yards and a TD. In five playoff games, Williams rushed for 1,403 yards and 14 touchdowns. The 5-9, 165-pound running back signed to play with Kansas for the fall of 2018. “He’s run for almost seven miles,” Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio told Nola.com. “That’s a pretty good four years labor. He’ll go down as one of the very greatest players in the history of prep football.”
Curtis directed his team to a 26-4 regular season record and went undefeated (14-0) in district play to win the Catholic League by a four-game margin. Thus John Curtis won its third straight district title, all in Jeff Curtis’ first three years as head coach. Two of the Patriots’ four losses were in extra innings against some of the best teams in the nation at the USA Baseball National High School Invitational Prep Classic at Carey, N.C. (Curtis finished 2-2 in the tournament). In the 14-game district season, only one team came within one run of the Patriots (Curtis defeated Jesuit, 1-0, in extra innings).
Tullis directed Pope John Paul to its fourth straight Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Division IV state championship. His top-seeded Jaguars swept past second-seeded Notre Dame, 25-15, 25-17, 25-22 in the championship match. Pope John Paul II, who posted a 37-5 record for the year, closed the year as the highest ranked team in the state. Their wins included two victories over Division I state champion Mount Carmel Academy and another over Division III champion Vandebilt Catholic. Only two of those losses came against in-state opponents – one to Division II state champion Teurlings Catholic and one to Archbishop Hannan – that loss was avenged in the Division IV semifinals.
Rebowe, who completed his third season at the helm of the Nicholls State program in 2017, directed the Colonels to a program-record seven Southland Conference victories and earned a spot in the FCS playoffs for the first time in 12 years. They finished 8-4 and were ranked in both final FCS polls. While the turnaround has been quick (Nicholls had lost 18 straight games before Rebowe’s arrival in 2015), Rebowe has built the foundation of the program by recruiting locally. Rebowe and his staff have signed 68 Louisiana natives out of 74 recruits, including all 10 in the recent signing period. With the majority of the student-athletes hailing from the river parishes, New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas, Nicholls had the most Louisiana players on its roster in Division I football. Nicholls graduated only 16 seniors from the 2017 FCS playoff team, which was ranked as high as No. 17. All 10 All-Southland honorees were juniors and sophomores.
The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee began in 1957 when James Collins spearheaded a group of sports journalists to form a sports awards committee to immortalize local sports history. For 13 years, the committee honored local athletes each month. In 1970, the Sugar Bowl stepped in to sponsor and revitalize the committee, leading to the creation of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame in 1971, honoring 10 legends from the Crescent City in its first induction class. While adding the responsibility of selecting Hall of Famers, the committee has continued to recognize the top amateur athlete in the Greater New Orleans area each month – the honors enter their 62nd year in 2018. To be eligible, an athlete must be a native of the greater New Orleans area or must compete for a team in the metropolitan region.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 93 Hall of Fame players, 49 Hall of Fame coaches and 18 Heisman Trophy winners in its 84-year history. The 85th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, featuring top teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, will be played on January 1, 2019. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors nearly 100,000 student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.5 billion into the local economy in the last decade.