Nelson StokleyLSU Football – 1967 Corbett Award Winner
The winner of the inaugural Corbett Award was LSU star quarterback Nelson Stokley, who passed away on June 5, 2010.
Stokley played quarterback at LSU from 1965-67 and had 2,308 total yards – 1,487 passing and 821 rushing – and 13 touchdowns in 19 games for the Tigers.That yardage total was second at the time in LSU history behind NFL Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle.
The Crowley High School product had a sensational 1967 campaign, throwing for 939 yards and four touchdowns, along with 299 yards rushing as he was named the team’s Most Outstanding Player. He directed LSU to the 1968 Sugar Bowl, leading them to a 20-13 victory over previously undefeated Wyoming. After the Cowboys took a 13-0 halftime lead, Stokley helped direct the Tigers to the comeback victory, throwing for a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Stokley also led the Tigers in passing in 1965 with 468 yards and three touchdowns while leading the Tigers to the 1966 Cotton Bowl.
That the inaugural Corbett Award was presented to Stokley was fitting as he was an LSU star. The award is named after James J. Corbett, who had served as LSU’s Director of Athletics from 1955-67, when he passed away due to a heart attack, leading the Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee to recognize the top amateur athlete in the state after him. Corbett was also the first President of the National Association of College Athletic Directors (NACDA) in 1965. NACDA also presents a James J. Corbett Award which recognizes a collegiate administrator who “through the years has most typified Corbett’s devotion to intercollegiate athletics and worked unceasingly for its betterment.”
Following his playing career, Stokley went into coaching and administration. He had coaching stops at LSU, Virginia Tech and Clemson before taking over at then-Southwestern Louisiana (now UL Lafayette). He was named head football coach on Nov. 30, 1985.
Stokley led the Ragin’ Cajuns’ football team for 13 seasons (1986-98) and ranks second on the school’s all-time coaching victories list. The Kennedy, Texas, native had seven winning seasons, including three straight from 1993-96 when the Cajuns were members of the Big West Conference. Stokley also guided the Cajuns to a Big West Championship in 1994 and put together a 14-4 record in his three seasons of conference play.
He served as athletic director from April 6, 1988, until Dec. 31, 1992.
Stokley coached Cajuns greats Brian Mitchell, Orlando Thomas, Damon Mason, Jake Delhomme, currently with the Cleveland Browns and son Brandon Stokley, who plays for the Denver Broncos. Nelson Stokley is perhaps best-known for leading the Cajuns to a 29-22 upset of No. 25 Texas A&M in 1996.