Yearly Award Winners, 2017-18
Outstanding Girls’ Prep Coach, Greater New Orleans:
Danny Tullis (Volleyball, Pope John Paul II High School)
Tullis directed Pope John Paul to its fourth straight Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Division IV state championship. His top-seeded Jaguars swept past second-seeded Notre Dame, 25-15, 25-17, 25-22 in the championship match. Pope John Paul II, who posted a 37-5 record for the year, closed the year as the highest ranked team in the state. Their wins included two victories over Division I state champion Mount Carmel Academy and another over Division III champion Vandebilt Catholic. Only two of those losses came against in-state opponents – one to Division II state champion Teurlings Catholic and one to Archbishop Hannan – that loss was avenged in the Division IV semifinals.
Outstanding Boys’ Prep Coach, Greater New Orleans:
Jeff Curtis (Baseball, John Curtis Christian School)
Curtis directed his team to a 26-4 regular season record and went undefeated (14-0) in district play to win the Catholic League by a four-game margin. Thus John Curtis won its third straight district title, all in Jeff Curtis’ first three years as head coach. Two of the Patriots’ four losses were in extra innings against some of the best teams in the nation at the USA Baseball National High School Invitational Prep Classic at Carey, N.C. (Curtis finished 2-2 in the tournament). In the 14-game district season, only one team came within one run of the Patriots (Curtis defeated Jesuit, 1-0, in extra innings).
Outstanding Female Amateur, Greater New Orleans:
Aleia Hobbs (Track & Field, LSU)
Hobbs, a graduate of McMain High School, won the 100-meter dash at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships while also keying LSU’s 4×100 relay victory; those outdoor wins followed up on a 60-meter dash championship at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in March (with the sixth fastest time in the world this year). Prior to the NCAA Outdoor title, she set a meet record in 100 and won the NCAA East Regional Championships with a time of 10.90 – the second-fastest in the world in 2018. This was the second consecutive year that Hobbs won the New Orleans honor – she was also selected as the 2017-18 Corbett Award honoree as the top female amateur athlete in the state.
Outstanding Male Amateur, Greater New Orleans:
Anthony “Pooka” Williams (Football, Hahnville High School)
Williams, who was named Mr. Football for Louisiana by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, the Offensive Player of the Year for The New Orleans Advocate’s All-Metro Team for Large Schools and the Offensive Player of the Year on USA Today’s All-Louisiana team, finished the season with 3,128 yards and 37 rushing touchdowns in leading the Tigers to the Class 5A state championship game. He also caught eight passes for 169 yards and a touchdown, returned six kickoffs for 333 yards and a touchdown and returned three punts for 64 yards and a TD. In five playoff games, Williams rushed for 1,403 yards and 14 touchdowns. The 5-9, 165-pound running back signed to play with Kansas for the fall of 2018. “He’s run for almost seven miles,” Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio told Nola.com. “That’s a pretty good four years labor. He’ll go down as one of the very greatest players in the history of prep football.”
Outstanding Girls’ Prep Team, Greater New Orleans:
Pope John Paul II High School (Volleyball, LHSAA)
After the Pope John Paul II team won its fourth straight volleyball state title, head coach Danny Tullis had a simple explanation for the Jaguars’ recent dominance. “The key to our success has always been that our girls want to be teammates first and then become the best that they can be,” he told The Advocate. The Jaguars finished the season 37-5 on their way to winning the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Division IV state championship. Their wins included two victories over Division I state champion Mount Carmel Academy and another over Division III champion Vandebilt Catholic. Sophomore outside hitter Ansley Tullis led the Jags with 416 kills and 299 digs and was named Player of the Year on The New Orleans Advocate’s All-Metro team for Small Schools.
Outstanding Boys’ Prep Team, Greater New Orleans:
John Curtis Christian School (Baseball, LHSAA)
In one of the most dominant season-long performances in recent memory, John Curtis’ baseball program posted a 26-4 regular season record that included a perfect district mark in the highly-regarded Catholic League, sweeping through 14 games. Curtis was 2-2 (both losses were in extra innings) against some of the best in the country in the USA Baseball National High School Invitational Prep Classic at Carey, N.C. Patriot pitchers posted a 1.51 ERA, backed by a .951 fielding percentage. In the 14-game district season, only one team came within one run of the Patriots (Curtis defeated Jesuit, 1-0, in extra innings). Cade Beloso, a senior first baseman, was named Louisiana’s Gatorade Player of the year after batting .489 with 14 home runs. “I think (this team) stacks up with the best,” Patriots coach Jeff Curtis told The Advocate. “We had so many stepping up. One through nine. Dugout guys. Bench guys. Role players. Starters. It didn’t matter who it was. They came to work every day with a great attitude and worked hard.”
Outstanding College Coach, State of Louisiana:
Tim Rebowe (Football, Nicholls State)
Rebowe, who completed his third season at the helm of the Nicholls State program in 2017, directed the Colonels to a program-record seven Southland Conference victories and earned a spot in the FCS playoffs for the first time in 12 years. They finished 8-4 and were ranked in both final FCS polls. While the turnaround has been quick (Nicholls had lost 18 straight games before Rebowe’s arrival in 2015), Rebowe has built the foundation of the program by recruiting locally. Rebowe and his staff have signed 68 Louisiana natives out of 74 recruits, including all 10 in the recent signing period. With the majority of the student-athletes hailing from the river parishes, New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas, Nicholls had the most Louisiana players on its roster in Division I football. Nicholls graduated only 16 seniors from the 2017 FCS playoff team, which was ranked as high as No. 17. All 10 All-Southland honorees were juniors and sophomores.
Photo Credits: Tullis (Ron Brocato), Curtis (John Curtis Athletics), Hobbs (LSU Athletics), Williams (LSWA), Pope John Paul II (RomaPics), John Curtis Baseball (RomaPics), Rebowe (Nicholls State Athletics).