Booker T. Washington’s Lakenya Reed Selected as New Orleans’ Top Girls’ Prep Coach
NEW ORLEANS (May 19, 2020) – Lakenya Reed, the head coach of the Booker T. Washington High School girls’ basketball team, 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, 24 individuals and four teams will be honored for their 2019-20 achievements. Honorees are being announced over a period of 24 days, wrapping up with the Corbett Awards for the top male and female amateur athletes in the state on June 10 and 11.
Reed, in her second year at the helm of Booker T. Washington, led the Lions to the first team state championship for the school since its resurrection in 2016. With four seniors who are part of the school’s first graduating class, Reed guided the Lions to the No. 4 seed in the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Class 3A State Tournament. They defeated No. 1 seeded Northwest 57-45 in the semifinals and then topped No. 2 Mansfield in the championship to finish the year with a 22-13 record. The team featured just eight total players. Sophomore Imani Rothschild was the MVP of the title game with 13 points and six steals.
“This is a special group,” said Reed. “This was our year. We felt like it was our time. We made all the mistakes we could make and we just figured out how to make a seven-man rotation feel like a 12-man rotation. I told the team over and over, ‘Train the mind and the body follow.’ What we did was more mental than physical. And our work paid off.”
The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee has recognized outstanding high school coaches for the New Orleans area since 1962.
The other finalists for Greater New Orleans Girls’ Prep Coach of the Year were Julie Ibieta (Country Day Volleyball), Jodee Pulizzan (Ben Franklin Volleyball) and Danny Tullis (Prep John Paul II Volleyball). Ibieta led the Cajuns to a fifth straight Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Division V State Championship along with a school-best 50-2 record. Pulizzan led the Falcons to the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Division II state championship match – their first state title match appearance in 15 years – as they finished the year with a 41-7 record. Tullis led the Jaguars back from an injury-plagued 2018 season to win their fifth state championship in six seasons.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl will continue announcing its annual awards tomorrow (Wednesday) as the Greater New Orleans Boys’ Prep Coach of the Year will be released at 10 a.m.
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 64th year in 2020. 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, 96 Hall of Fame players, 50 Hall of Fame coaches and 18 Heisman Trophy winners in its 86-year history. The 87th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, which will double as a College Football Playoff Semifinal, is scheduled to be played on January 1, 2021. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors over 100,000 student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.7 billion into the local economy in the last decade.