James M. Collins – Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame
Collins was a leader of the Veterans of Foreign Wars John Dilbert Post 351 and a hard-working community contributor, who spearheaded an effort to bring recognition to the outstanding young athletes in the New Orleans area. He is credited with creating the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards and forming the awards committee in 1957.
The committee recognized Greater New Orleans Amateur Athletes of the Month starting in 1957 – a practice which continues to this day. In 1970, he was a critical part of bringing the Sugar Bowl on board in an effort to revitalize the committee. That effort led to the creation of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame which honored 10 local legends in its inaugural class in 1971.
He served as chairman of the awards committee for 20 years. In 2014, the committee voted to rename its Special Recognition Awards in recognition of Collins. While there are many different categories of awards presented by the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, some years the committee finds that there are people deserving of recognition who do not necessarily fit into one specific category – people like Collins who would not have fit into any of the group’s awards categories. For that reason, the Committee presents the Jimmy Collins Special Awards to outstanding individuals.