Marc Zeno – Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of FameFootball Player, 1979-87
Lutcher H.S./Tulane University
Marc Zeno never was one to stop and think about the things he accomplished as an athlete.
It’s only since his election into the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame that the Gramercy native has been somewhat pushed to take stock of his illustrious career.
“I was shocked when I first heard,” said Zeno, who now owns a trucking company in Minnesota. “It’s certainly an honor. I never put that much though into it. I’m not a guy who thinks about my career. People I meet, they know more about me than I do.”
He still might need some convincing. “I guess I had a pretty good career,” he said.
That would be an understatement.
A standout athlete at Lutcher High School, where he also was heavily recruited as a basketball player, Zeno went on to a stellar career as a wide receiver for the Green Wave.
After watching his first season from the sideline as a redshirt, Zeno started 44 consecutive regular season games from 1984-1987, establishing himself along the way as one of the most prolific receivers in Tulane history.
He would graduate with his name before every receiving record in Tulane’s book – 236 catches, 25 touchdowns and 17 100-yard receiving games. Most impressively, he departed Tulane as the NCAA’s all-time leading receiver with 3,725 yards. He recorded over 1,000 yards receiving in three straight years.
He formed a sensational dynamic duo with another Lutcher product, quarterback Terrence Jones, also a member of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame, leading the Green Wave to the 1987 Independence Bowl.
His record for receiving yardage still stands in the Green Wave annals and ranks 26th in NCAA history.
“I was known as a quiet guy at Tulane,” Zeno said. “But I always showed up on Saturdays. I probably was most known for my work ethic. I’m not a real rah-rah kind of guy.”
He was the best wide receiver I coached at the time,” said Lutcher coach Tim Detillier, who coached both Zeno and current Miami Dolphin Jarvis Landry. “You knew he’d be playing at the next level.”
But Zeno was pretty sure it would be in basketball.
“Football kind of came up late,” Zeno said. “I got my first recruiting letter from Loyola Marymount. I was just so excited. Then my sophomore year I had a great great spring game. After that, it was all about football.”
Despite what was considered to be a “slow” speed in the 40-yard dash (he ran a 4.8) and knee injury, Zeno was drafted in the seventh round (182nd overall) by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He later signed with the Calgary Stampeders and spent a season with the British Columbia Lions. He also spent a year with the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League.
Said Detillier: “He was an excellent athlete with a big body, sure hands. He was definitely one of those players that, when it’s third and long you think, ‘How do I get the ball in his hands?’ I know, if I was the quarterback, I’d be looking for him.”
Story submitted by Lori Lyons of the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee.