Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Finalists Announced
NEW ORLEANS (April 12, 2021) – Thirteen New Orleans legends have been announced as finalists for the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame. Each year’s Hall of Fame class is selected by the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, a group of current and former media members who annually recognize a variety of award-winners, including the Hall of Fame, the Corbett Awards and the Eddie Robinson Award. The group also selects the Greater New Orleans Amateur Athlete of the Month each month.
The 2021 Hall of Fame Class is scheduled to be announced in June.
This year’s finalists for the Hall of Fame are led by five football and five basketball standouts. In addition, there is a boxing legend, a softball superstar and a multiple-time volleyball champion. The group’s careers span a total of almost 50 years. While nine of the honorees are included as finalists primarily due to their athletic careers, three turned in legendary coaching careers in New Orleans.
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Finalists, 2021
Les Bonano, Boxing, 1974-present
Ashley Brignac, Softball, 2004-12
Grace Daley, Basketball, 1997-2006
Danny Granger, Basketball, 1998-2015
Bernard Griffith, Basketball, 1980-present
Billy Ray Hobley, Basketball, 1973-98
Shaun King, Football, 1995-2004
Wayne Reese, Football, 1971-2020
Joanne Skertich, Volleyball, 1977-2001
Patrick Surtain, Football, 1990-2008
Carvie Upshaw, Basketball, 1985-89
Reggie Wayne, Football, 1994-2014
Norris Weese, Football, 1966-79
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.