Fred Digby – Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame
New Orleans Item/Sugar Bowl
Fred Digby, considered the “Father of the Sugar Bowl,” first came up with the idea for a New Year’s Day football classic in 1927, along with Colonel James M. Thompson, the New Orleans Item publisher. Every fall, Digby called for action and in early 1934, a proposal came to fruition with the New Orleans Mid-Winter Sports Association formally organized on February 15, 1934. That idea resulted in the Sugar Bowl Football Classic which has remained at the pinnacle of the college football postseason since its inception.
Digby, who was born on January 26, 1893, began a long career in sports reporting with the New Orleans Item in 1912. In 1923, he was named sports editor and served until November of 1947.
After his retirement from the newspaper, he served as the general manager of the Mid-Winter Sports Association (the Sugar Bowl) until his death on November 3, 1958 at the age of 65.
The Sugar Bowl began recognizing the game’s Most Outstanding Player in 1948 and named the honor the Miller Award, after Warren Miller, the first president of the Mid-Winter Sports Association and considered the co-found of the game with Digby. Following Digby’s death, the award was re-named as the Miller-Digby Award.
In March of 2018, Digby and Miller were honored with the Legacy Award from the Football Bowl Association, now known as Bowl Season.