LSU’s Dennis Shaver Earns Top Collegiate Coach Honor for Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS (July 8, 2021) – Dennis Shaver, who directed the LSU men’s track and field team to the NCAA Outdoor Championship, has been selected as the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Collegiate Coach of the Year for Louisiana. The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, selects annual award winners in a variety of categories; it also selects Amateur Athletes of the Month and each year’s Hall of Fame class. Overall, 23 individuals and two teams will be honored for their 2020-21 achievements at the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Awards Banquet on July 24. Honorees are being announced over a period of 23 days, wrapping up with the Corbett Awards for the top male and female amateur athletes in the state on July 20 and 21.

Shaver, in his 17th year at the head of the LSU track and field programs, directed the Tigers to tremendous success in 2020-21. The pinnacle of the year came at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships when the LSU men’s track team captured its first national championship since 2002 after which he was named the Co-National Men’s Coach of the Year by the USTFCCCA. The Tigers had a dominating performance at the national meet as they tallied 84 points to easily outpace second-place Oregon’s 53 points. LSU won six events at the national championship – the only school to surpass that was Ohio State in 1936 when Jesse Owens snagged four golds himself.

“It means a lot because there have been so many times we’ve been second at this meet,” Shaver said after the outdoor championship. “To be able to win it is pretty exciting. We came out here and dominated the meet in a lot of ways and that made it special for us.”

Shaver’s success was not limited to that one outdoor team – the LSU women also earned a sixth-place national finish despite suffering critical injuries during the national meet. During the indoor season, LSU’s men notched a second-place national finish while the women finished third – the only school with a pair of top-three finishes. He was also recognized as the NCAA South Central Region Coach of the Year for both men’s and women’s outdoor track and field.

The other finalists for Louisiana Collegiate Coach of the Year were Lane Burroughs (Louisiana Tech Baseball), Jeremy Kennedy (Loyola Baseball) and Jeff Willis (LSU-Eunice Baseball). Burroughs, in his fifth season, directed Louisiana Tech to a memorable season which included a division title, an appearance in the Conference USA Championship game and the first hosting of an NCAA Regional in program history. Kennedy directed the Wolf Pack to the best baseball season in program history as it won a program-record 36 games, achieved its first NAIA national ranking (climbing as high as No. 8 in the country) and advanced to the NAIA National Championship Tournament. Willis directed the Bengals to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II National Championship with a thrilling 14-inning victory over Western Oklahoma State – the World Series victory was the seventh all-time for Willis and the Bengals; it also wrapped up the program’s third straight 50-win season.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Banquet featured the presentation of 28 awards, including five inductees into the Hall of Fame and the male and female Corbett Award winners as the top amateur athletes in the state of Louisiana. The sold-out event was held Saturday, July 24, at the Hilton Riverside.

Corbett Award (Female) – Kristen Nuss, LSU Beach Volleyball
Corbett Award (Male) – JuVaughn Harrison, LSU Track & Field

Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Inductee: Les Bonano, Boxing
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Inductee: Bernard Griffith, Basketball
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Inductee: Joanne Skertich, Volleyball
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Inductee: Reggie Wayne, Football
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Inductee: Frank Wills, Baseball

Jimmy Collins Special Awards: Dr. Greg Stewart, Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine
Eddie Robinson Award: Sidney Parfait, American Legion Baseball

Outstanding Boys’ Prep Coach of the Year, New Orleans: Gerald Lewis, St. Augustine Basketball
Outstanding Girls’ Prep Coach of the Year, New Orleans: Julie Ibieta, Metairie Park Country Day Volleyball
Outstanding Female Amateur Athlete, New Orleans: Kristen Nuss, LSU Beach Volleyball
Outstanding Male Amateur Athlete, New Orleans: Jared Butler, Baylor Basketball
Outstanding Boys’ Prep Team, New Orleans: McMain High School Basketball
Outstanding Girls’ Prep Team, New Orleans: Dominican Volleyball
Outstanding Collegiate Coach, Louisiana: Dennis Shaver, LSU Track & Field

Greater New Orleans Amateur Athletes of the Month
June, 2020: Ron Franklin (American Legion Baseball)
July, 2020: Brayden Caskey (American Legion Baseball)
August, 2020: Jacob and Evan Frost (Bayou Elite Wrestling Club)
September, 2020: Cameron Carroll (Tulane University Football)
October, 2020: Gage Larvadain (Riverside Academy Football)
November, 2020: AJ Samuel (Edna Karr High School Football)
December, 2020: Mandel Eugene (St. Charles Catholic High School Football)
January, 2021: Jared Butler (Baylor University Basketball)
February, 2021: Jacob and Evan Frost (Holy Cross School Wrestling)
March, 2021: Stafford Agee (Holy Cross School Powerlifting)
April, 2021: Jared Butler (Baylor University Basketball)
May, 2021: Zack Casebonne (Jesuit High School Baseball)

The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee began in 1957 when James Collins spearheaded a group of sports journalists to form a sports awards committee to immortalize local sports history. For 13 years, the committee honored local athletes each month. In 1970, the Sugar Bowl stepped in to sponsor and revitalize the committee, leading to the creation of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame in 1971, honoring 10 legends from the Crescent City in its first induction class. While adding the responsibility of selecting Hall of Famers, the committee has continued to recognize the top amateur athlete in the Greater New Orleans area each month – the honors enter their 65th year in 2021. To be eligible, an athlete must be a native of the greater New Orleans area or must compete for a team in the metropolitan region.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 99 Hall of Fame players, 51 Hall of Fame coaches and 19 Heisman Trophy winners in its 87-year history. The 88th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, which will feature top teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, is scheduled to be played on January 1, 2022. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards, scholarships and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors thousands of student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.7 billion into the local economy in the last decade.