Julie Ibieta Earns Top Girls’ Prep Coach Honor for New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (June 30, 2021) – Julie Ibieta, the volleyball coach at Metairie Park Country Day School, has been selected as the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Greater New Orleans Girls’ Prep Coach of the Year. 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.

Ibieta directed the Cajuns to their fifth straight state championship and their 11th in the last 12 years as they rolled to the LHSAA Division V title in November. Junior Kia Washington finished with a match-high 19 kills to lead the top seed to a straight-set win over No. 11 McGehee in the title match. Lauren Perlis added 35 assists and seven digs. Country Day finished the year with a 23-9 record.

“They peaked at the right time,” Ibieta said. “We started the season, and we really didn’t know what we had. We had a lot of people with no varsity level experience, and we tried a ton of different lineups. It was just hard. I’m so proud of them. They all played a part in getting here today. It was awesome.”

The Cajuns had won the 2019 state championship with seven seniors leading the way. It was considered one of the most dominant seasons by a dominant program. However, there were significant question marks with the heavy graduation losses.

“I think that of all of the teams that we have had that have been successful, the kids are really the driving force where they have been great leaders, they buy into the program and I think the most important thing that has let us have so much success is all of our teams are truly worried about winning instead of individual accolades,” Ibieta said prophetically prior to the season.

While the Cajuns dropped some early season matches, they found their footing and rolled through the postseason, dropping just one set in the five rounds of the state tournament. In the championship match against McGehee, Country Day cruised, 25-11, 25-21, 25-15.

The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee has recognized outstanding high school coaches for the New Orleans area since 1962. This is the first time that Ibieta has earned the honor – though the Country Day volleyball team was selected as the Greater New Orleans Girls’ Prep Team of the Year last year.

The other finalists for Greater New Orleans Girls’ Prep Coach of the Year were Jessica Chatellier (Dominican Volleyball), Temeka Johnson (John Curtis Basketball) and Becky Lambert (Archbishop Hannan Softball). In her 17th year at Dominican, Chatellier guided Dominican to the school’s first state title (Division I) with just two seniors on the roster. Johnson, the first-year head coach of the Patriots, kept the program at the elite level it enjoyed under former coach Barbara Farris as Curtis won its fifth straight state championship despite the graduation of its top player JerKaila Jordan. Lambert led Hannan to its second straight LHSAA Division II Softball Championship despite playing all 26 of its regular-season games on the road (due to weather and scheduling).

The Allstate Sugar Bowl will continue announcing its annual awards tomorrow (Thursday) as the Greater New Orleans Female Amateur Athlete of the Year will be released at 10 a.m. (finalists will be announced at 11:30 a.m. today on Twitter (@SugarBowlNola).

Jimmy Collins Special Awards: Dr. Greg Stewart, Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine
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: July 1 (Thursday)
Outstanding Male Amateur Athlete, New Orleans: July 2 (Friday)
Eddie Robinson Award: July 5 (Monday)
Outstanding Boys’ Prep Team, New Orleans: July 6 (Tuesday)
Outstanding Girls’ Prep Team, New Orleans: July 7 (Wednesday)
Outstanding Collegiate Coach, Louisiana: July 8 (Thursday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Inductee: July 9 (Friday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Inductee: July 12 (Monday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Inductee: July 13 (Tuesday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Inductee: July 14 (Wednesday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Inductee: July 15 (Thursday)
Corbett Award – Female: July 20 (Tuesday)
Corbett Award – Male: July 21 (Wednesday)

The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee began in 1957 when 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.