The Eddie Robinson Award
Eddie Robinson’s memory lives on in a dozen halls of fame, all honors befitting a man who coached his 57 teams to a stunning 408 victories, one of the top three such win totals in college football history. He was the epitome of the very best in college athletics, and so it is in this spirit the Allstate Sugar Bowl will present annually an award to an athlete, coach, team or athletic administrator in the state of Louisiana who has demonstrated the qualities most closely associated with Coach Robinson: outstanding achievement in athletics, academics, sportsmanship, and citizenship by maximizing the use of limited resources.
2018 – St. Katharine Drexel Department of Athletics
2017 – Mark Slessinger, UNO Men’s Basketball
2016 – Joe Scheuermann, Delgado Community College
2015 – Broderick Fobbs, Grambling State Football
2014 – Donnie Russell, Edna Karr High School Baseball
2013 – Ron Gearing, Orleans Parish Public Schools
2012 – Holy Rosary High School Track
2011 – Wayne Reese, New Orleans
2010 – Eddie Flint, New Orleans
2009 – Brian Bordainick, Carver High School
Five years ago, the school almost closed down its doors for good. St. Katharine Drexel Prep, called Xavier Prep at the time, was struggling financially. But former students raised the money and revived the school under its new name.
Fast forward to the 2017-’18 school year, where the all-girl school’s athletic program captured two LHSAA state championships. One in basketball. The other in track.
“For us to do what we have been able to do under the circumstances, it says a lot,” said St. Katharine Drexel Prep athletic director Terry Wilson. “From almost closing the doors to doing this, I don’t think there’s a better story around here.”
For its accomplishments, St. Katharine Drexel Prep has been named recipient of the Eddie Robinson Award. The award is presented by the Sports Awards Committee of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame. The award is presented annually to an athlete, coach, team or athletic administrator in Louisiana who demonstrates the qualities most associated with Grambling legend Eddie Robinson: outstanding achievement in athletics, academics, sportsmanship and citizenship by maximizing the use of limited resources.
At St. Katharine Drexel Prep, the resources have indeed been limited.
The school’s gymnasium is too small to meet the LHSAA requirements to host playoff games, so the team played their home playoff game at McMain High School.
The track team doesn’t have a track, so it practices at facilities around the city.
“It was tough,” Wilson said. “We got through it because we put in the time, the hard work. We had a plan. We stuck with it. It was hard work, but it was smart work.”
Wilson also serves as the coach of the basketball team, while Don McGhee coaches the track team. But Wilson is quick to point out that the accomplishments were a group effort.
“We had people around us like the owners, the administrators, the principals, everybody,” Wilson said. “Everybody deserves some of the credit. It means a lot for the school so we can continue to push our name and keep the doors open and to keep the Prep dream alive.”
Making the basketball season even more special is that the championship victory over rival St. Mary’s came on March 3. That date is the feast day to observe St. Katharine Drexel, who died on that date in 1955.
“It’s like it was meant to be,” Wilson said.
And for Wilson, the award means even more considering he has ties to Robinson, the late legendary football coach at Grambling. Wilson’s brother Gregory played football at Grambling under Robinson. And Wilson has his master’s degree from Grambling.
But Wilson says there is much more to come from the school that was almost no longer around. “We’ve only scratched the surface,” Wilson said. “It’s something the former Preppers and the new Preppers can be proud of.”
Story submitted by Rod Walker of the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee.
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