More Than Football
[This story is part two of a series of stories highlighting the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s impact on the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana.]
Part 1: Sweet Economics – Sugar Bowl Dollars Make Sense for New Orleans and Louisiana
Part 2: More Than Football – The Allstate Sugar Bowl is Far More Than Just a Premier College Football Game
Part 3: The Revitalization of Joe Brown Park
Part 4: The House the Sugar Bowl Built – The Gateway to Big-Time Football in New Orleans
More Than FootballThe Allstate Sugar Bowl is known for its outstanding tradition of providing the best action that college football has to offer. However, the Allstate Sugar Bowl is much more than just a football game.
The work of the Sugar Bowl’s volunteer membership is evident in the many different sporting events the committee hosts and sponsors each year. In addition to holding a prominent position in postseason college football, the Bowl also conducts competitions at both the prep and intercollegiate level; including basketball, lacrosse, sailing (regatta), soccer, tennis, volleyball and track and field. All of these events introduce New Orleans’ unique flavor of hospitality to competitors and fans from around the world.
In addition to its many events, the Bowl is also heavily involved with several other local organizations. In conducting its business, the Sugar Bowl sponsors the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame; The Manning Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding college quarterback; and the local chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame.
Basketball The Allstate Sugar Bowl has been involved in basketball throughout much of its history. A recent foray into the sport included joining the consolidated effort of the city of New Orleans to secure the city’s record fifth NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four for 2012, as well as the 2013 NCAA Women’s Final Four. The Sugar Bowl was also part of the hosting committee for the NCAA Men’s Basketball First & Second Round action in 2010 and the Regional Championship in 2011.
In addition, the Allstate Sugar Bowl has sponsored the last five New Orleans CYO High School Tournaments. In 2012, Newman High School’s Kyle Lewis scored on a putback at the buzzer to lift the Greenies to a 58-57 victory over Brother Martin High School. Newman forward Duke Douglas was named the MVP of the tourney and was joined on the all-tournament team by Matt Felger (Jesuit), Edwin Winston (East St. John), Greg White-Pittman (Holy Cross), Jordan Cornish (Brother Martin) and Kyle Lewis (Newman).
This January, the Sugar Bowl hosted the third annual National Prep Classic basketball tournament featuring elite boys’ high school teams from around the country. Tournament MVP Charvon Julien scored 22 points and handed out five assists as Riverside Academy, of Reserve, La., upset Sheldon High School from Sacramento, Calif., 72-65, to win the boys’ title. In the first girls’ tournament at the National Prep Classic, Warren Easton High School, from New Orleans, won the championship with a 42-39 defeat of Salmen High, from Slidell, La. Lawriell Wilson scored 17 points and was named the girls’ Most Valuable Player.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl continued to expand its offerings in the sport of basketball by taking on sponsorship of the Primetime Super 60 AAU Tournament which was held at multiple locations in New Orleans in May of 2012. The event featured nearly 300 boys teams from third-grade to 11th-grade playing 500 games as they booked an estimated 1,500 hotel rooms around the city. Eighteen states were represented in the tournament.
Crescent City ClassicThe Allstate Sugar Bowl has joined the Crescent City Classic as the flagship Title Sponsor of the annual 10K road race scheduled for March 30, 2013. Celebrating its 35th year, the Crescent City Classic is a preeminent fitness and social event in Louisiana and is expected to feature more than 20,000 runners this year. This Easter weekend tradition has become a New Orleans signature event, both as a competitive road race and for its festive post-race celebration. The Classic has been praised in every major running publication as “one of America’s fastest 10K’s,” and as “the originator of the post-race festival.”
The Crescent City Classic is making many changes for its 35-year anniversary. The host hotel and two day expo has been moved to the Hyatt Regency next to Champion Square. The course has been changed and will incorporate a wave start with timing corrals on Poydras in front of the Superdome. After the race, participants will enjoy the post party with free food, free Michelob ULTRA and free music by Papa Grows Funk followed by Marc Broussard.
Prep FootballLouisiana and Florida split the two games in the second annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Football Classic on Sept. 7, 2012, before 4,280 fans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. In the marquee game, sixth-ranked John Curtis Christian, from River Ridge, La., dominated No. 7 Plant High from Tampa, 33-3. The convincing victory for the Patriots launched them on the path to the high school national championship for the first time. In the opening game, Lincoln High from Tallahassee used a fourth-quarter interception return for a touchdown to upend St. Paul’s of Covington, La., 14-13.
The inaugural Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Classic was played on Sept. 9, 2011 as St. Paul’s School provided the top highlights with an amazing comeback in an upset of top-rated Acadiana, 15-14, in the second game of the doubleheader. John Curtis rolled to victory over Westgate in the opening game, 27-7, of the event.
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame For over 30 years, the Sugar Bowl has sponsored the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Ceremony. Each year the Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee selects individuals who have had a significant impact on the city of New Orleans – the 2012 inductees included two legendary high school coaches, a Pro Football Hall of Famer and a sharp-shooting NBA star. Frank Misuraca (Jesuit High School) and Jack Salter (Covington High School) were the long-time coaches, Willie Roaf (New Orleans Saints) was the football star and Aaron James (Cohen High School, Grambling State, New Orleans Jazz) was the hardwood standout in this year’s class.
In addition, each month since 1958, the Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee has been selecting a Greater New Orleans Amateur Athlete of the Month, all of whom are honored at the Hall of Fame banquet. Yearly award winners in a variety of categories are also recognized – including New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who has been selected three times as the top professional athlete for both the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana.
Lacrosse In 2007, lacrosse was added to the Sugar Bowl’s list of annual championship events. One of the fastest growing sports in the United States, this competition has quickly become among the most exciting that the Sugar Bowl sponsors.
The dominant team in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Lacrosse Classic’s brief history has been Klein High School from Houston, which has captured four of the last five titles. After losing the title in 2011 to St. Thomas More, from Lafayette, La., the Klein dynasty returned to form with a championship victory over Spain Park High from outside Birmingham, Ala., last spring.
The third annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Lacrosse Classic is scheduled for Friday-Sunday, Feb. 15-17, at Pan Am Stadium in New Orleans City Park. This year’s collegiate event is expanding once again to include nine collegiate club teams. The inaugural event featured two squads and last year, the classic had four collegiate teams as well as high school competition. This year’s collegiate teams are: Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, LSU, Ole Miss, Texas, Texas A&M, Tennessee, UL Lafayette.
Manning Award Prior to the 2004 college football season, the Manning Award was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl to recognize the top collegiate quarterback in the nation each season, as well as to honor the outstanding collegiate achievements of the Manning family. The winner is selected by a panel of national media covering college football, as well as each of the Mannings.
This year’s Manning Award winner is the sensational freshman star from Texas A&M, Johnny Manziel. Manziel’s spectacular debut season featured a long list of unprecedented accomplishments. In addition to becoming the first freshman to win the Manning Award, he is the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy and the Davey O’Brien Award. He is the first freshman in FBS history, and just the fifth player ever, to have 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a season. He is also the first player in FBS history to pass for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards in the same game three times in his career. Manziel closed his first collegiate campaign as the FBS freshman record-holder for rushing yards by a quarterback (1,343) and for total yards in a season (5,116) and became just the second freshman in FBS history to rush for 1,000 yards and pass for 2,000 yards.
The previous winners of the honor were:
Robert Griffin, III, Baylor (2011-12)
Cameron Newton, Auburn (2010-11)
Colt McCoy, Texas (2009-10)
Tim Tebow, Florida (2008-09)
Matt Ryan, Boston College (2007-08)
JaMarcus Russell, LSU (2006-07)
Vince Young, Texas (2005-06)
Matt Leinart, Southern California (2004-05)
The Manning Award also recognizes “Stars of the Week” throughout the college football season. Over the course of 13 weeks in 2012, 62 players from 59 different schools were recognized and fans voted 37,116 times during the season for the overall “Player of the Week.”
National Football Foundation/College Football Hall of Fame In January 2000, the Sugar Bowl Committee took over the title sponsorship of the New Orleans Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. Included in the Bowl’s sponsorship of the chapter is the administration of an annual awards banquet held each spring to honor deserving football scholar athletes from the metropolitan area.
In 2012, 34 local high school football players were honored as NFF Scholar-Athletes and four of those were presented with $10,000 Allstate Sugar Bowl Scholarship checks: Keith Accardo (Archbishop Rummel H.S.), Caleb Gestes (John Curtis Christian School), Joseph Palmisano (East Jefferson H.S.) and Alex Yacoubian (Jesuit H.S.).
In addition, two special award winners were recognized. Elliott Laudeman, the longest-tenured active member of the Sugar Bowl Committee, was presented with the Distinguished American Award. This honor is presented to a person who has made significant contributions to the betterment of amateur football in America. Laudeman, who was elected to the Sugar Bowl membership in 1957, served as the President of the organization in 1985, and remains very active in the group.
Vince Gibson, who served as the head football coach at Kansas State, Louisville and Tulane, posthumously received the Contribution to Amateur Football Award. Gibson, who played football at Florida State University, went into coaching immediately after graduating in 1955. During his tenure, he directed both Louisville and Tulane to bowl appearances before retiring in 1982.
The 2013 event is scheduled for March 19 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Regatta The Sugar Bowl Regatta has been held on Lake Pontchartrain every year since 1935, except during World War II. The sailing competition is divided up into two separate phases, spread out over four two-day periods, usually weekends, beginning in late November and concluding on New Year’s Eve. The sailing competition features more than 200 sailboats divided into separate divisions. Sailing crews from all over the United States, including intercollegiate and high school teams, come to New Orleans not only to compete, but to take in the 60 and 70 degree temperatures and optimal wind conditions.
Soccer The Sugar Bowl is the official sponsor of the Louisiana Division I State Cup Championship, in which travel teams from around the state are seeded, based on their regular season performance, and then compete in a tournament to determine a champion. The Bowl is also the presenting sponsor of the Louisiana State Cup, where select soccer players compete at the premier level, with an in-state as well as out-of-state regular season schedule, concluding with a state tournament to crown a champion. Both tournaments involve boys and girls ages 11-19.
The 2012 Division I State Cup Championship was held in May at various locations around the state. Winners were crowned in each age group, boys and girls, U11-U19. The U13-U17 boys and girls teams which won the LSA Division I Allstate Sugar Bowl State Cup represented Louisiana in the Region III President’s Cup.
The 2012 Louisiana State Cup, presented by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, was also contested in multiple locations around the state, including Shreveport, Lafayette, Baton Rouge and Metairie. The winners of this competition (U14-U19) competed in Greenville, S.C., at the 2012 US Youth Soccer Region III Championships. That event featured state premier championship teams and regional premier league winners, both boys and girls ages 14-19, from 12 state organizations in the southeast.
Tennis & Golf The Allstate Sugar Bowl also sponsors tennis and golf action in the Greater New Orleans area. The bowl has sponsored the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class 5A Region III Tennis Tournament in each of the last three years. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, Jesuit High School and Mt. Carmel Academy won the boys and girls titles, respectively.
A recently-added golf event for the Bowl’s repertoire is the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate Women’s Golf Championship. The 2012 event was hosted by Tulane University in late-February at English Turn Country Club, an award-winning Jack Nicklaus-designed course. The Duke University women’s golfers entered the final round of the 2012 event trailing defending champion Southern California, but a strong final round lifted the Blue Devils to the title. The 2013 Women’s Golf Championship will be held Feb. 24-26.
The Bowl is also the presenting sponsor for the Tommy Moore Memorial Junior Golf Championship, one of the top junior golf tourneys in the region, which takes place each December at Lakewood Country Club.
Track and Field Since 1993, the two-day Allstate Sugar Bowl Track and Field Classic has been the largest high school track and field invitational in Louisiana, featuring more than 100 boys and girls teams from Louisiana and surrounding states. Legendary Tad Gormley Stadium plays host to this event, which features some of the best athletes in the country.
The 2012 Allstate Sugar Bowl Track & Field Classic titles went to St. Paul’s Episcopal of Alabama (girls) and John Curtis Christian School (boys). McGill-Toolen (Mobile, Ala.) took home girls’ team runner-up honors while Brother Martin landed second in boys’ events.
The 2013 event is scheduled for March 22 at Tad Gormley Stadium.
Volleyball The Allstate Sugar Bowl has been actively involved in the sport of volleyball for many years, sponsoring collegiate tournaments at Tulane University, as well as youth and club events throughout the City of New Orleans. The 11th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Women’s Volleyball Collegiate Classic was hosted by Tulane in September with the University of Pittsburgh earning the title. In addition, the Allstate Sugar Bowl AAU Super Regional was contested in each of the last three years at Loyola University and at the Hilton Riverside. The tournament featured over 60 teams and nearly 700 student-athletes competing for bids to the AAU Nationals.