Yearly Award Winners, 2011-12
Outstanding College Coach, State of LouisianaMark Hudspeth (Football, UL-Lafayette)
In his first season after inheriting a 3-9 football team, Hudspeth led the Ragin’ Cajuns to a 9-4 mark and their first bowl game in four decades, a thrilling victory over San Diego State in the New Orleans Bowl – tabbed by many as the most exciting bowl game of the year. The Cajuns’ nine wins are a school record and included a perfect 5-0 mark at home, where the team set school and Sun Belt attendance records with an average of 29,171. The season attendance average led the nation in increased attendance (11,788 per game).
Outstanding Prep Coach, State of LouisianaFrank Monica (Football, St. Charles Catholic H.S.)
Monica led the St. Charles Catholic football team to its first state championship last December, guiding the Comets to a 9-8 victory over Amite in the Class 3A state title game. With the win, the Comets finished their season with a perfect 15-0 record. For Monica, who has coached at Lutcher, Jesuit, Tulane University and at St. Charles since 1997, this was his second Class 3A title. He led the Lutcher Bulldogs to the championship in 1978. His 2005 and 2008 St. Charles teams were Class 2A runners-up.
Outstanding Professional Coach, State of LouisianaRon Washington (Baseball, Texas Rangers)
Washington, a member of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame, managed the Texas Rangers to their second straight World Series appearance in 2011. His squad set records for overall record (96-66) and home attendance (2,946,949), then defeated Detroit in the ALCS to advance to the World Series, where they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. In addition to being just the second manager in Rangers history to take the team into postseason play, he is just the third African-American to manage a team into the World Series.
Outstanding Female Amateur, Greater New OrleansChristi Orgeron (Softball, UL-Lafayette)
The Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and a finalist for both the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award and the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year for 2012, Orgeron also was a Gold Medal winner for the United States Softball Team at the 2011 Pan Am Games in October – and in June, she was selected to the 2012 U.S. National Team. The senior was also named the Sun Belt Conference Female Student-Athlete of the Year (for all sports). She led the country in runs batted in for the second consecutive season while ranking fourth nationally in runs scored and seventh in home runs while also batting .351. The Mt. Carmel product broke the SBC and UL career RBI mark and closed her career ranked sixth all-time in NCAA history with 288. She led the Ragin’ Cajuns to a 53-6 overall record and a season-high ranking of No. 6 in the country.
Outstanding Male Amateur, Greater New OrleansTyrann Mathieu (Football, Louisiana State University)
Mathieu had a sensational sophomore season capped by being a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and the Walter Camp National Player of the Year honor. Awarded the Bednarik Trophy as the top defensive player in the nation, he was also named a First-Team All-American at cornerback by multiple national organizations, as well as a First-Team All-American as a return specialist by three major media outlets. Selected as the SEC Defensive Player of the Year by the AP, he led LSU in tackles (70) and ranked first in the SEC with six forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries, while ranking second in the nation with 16.2 yards per punt return.
Outstanding Professional, Greater New Orleans & LouisianaDrew Brees (Football, New Orleans Saints)
Brees turned in one of the greatest statistical seasons in NFL history in 2011. The veteran quarterback broke Dan Marino’s 27-year old league record for passing yards in a season, finishing the year with 5,476 yards, while completing 71.2 percent of his passes, another NFL record. He finished the year with 46 touchdowns and a 110.6 quarterback rating, both personal bests, while leading the Saints to 13 wins and the NFL South title. He was named the AP’s Offensive Player of the Year and earned his sixth Pro Bowl nod. Brees also became the fastest player to 40,000 passing yards during the season.
Outstanding Team, State of LouisianaJohn Curtis Athletic Department (Multiple Sports, LHSAA)
John Curtis athletic teams capped off one of the best years in the 49-year history of the school – and one of the best in Louisiana prep history – with six state championships, all in major sports. Four boys’ teams won titles (football, basketball, indoor and outdoor track & field), and two girls’ teams were the best in the state (basketball, softball). The phenomenal year was bookended by perfect seasons-the boys’ football team going 14-0 in the fall and the girls’ softball team rolling to 31-0 in the spring.