Multiple Awards to be Presented at Nola Hall of Fame Banquet park
NEW ORLEANS – Seven prestigious annual awards will be among a full slate of honors to be presented at the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday, August 5, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. 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 three teams will be honored at the banquet. This year's Hall of Fame class will be announced over the next four days while the Corbett Awards, which recognize the top male and female amateur athletes in the state, will be released next week.
2016-17 Annual Award Winners
Outstanding Girls' Prep Coach, New Orleans: Angi Butler (Destrehan Basketball)
Outstanding Boys' Prep Coach, New Orleans (co-winner): Brice Brown (Edna Karr Football)
Outstanding Boys' Prep Coach, New Orleans (co-winner): Paul Kelly (De La Salle Basketball)
Outstanding Female Amateur, New Orleans: Aleia Hobbs (LSU Track & Field)
Outstanding Male Amateur, New Orleans: Keytaon Thompson (Landry-Walker Football)
Outstanding Boys' Prep Team, New Orleans: Edna Karr Football
Outstanding Girls' Prep Team, New Orleans: Destrehan Basketball
Outstanding College Coach, Louisiana: D-D Breaux, LSU Gymnastics
Angi Butler directed the Wildcats to the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Class 5A state championship with a 62-57 victory over top-seeded Barbe High School. It was the third straight year that Butler, who had announced that she would be moving into administration following the season, and the Wildcats made the Final Four. She closed her career with a perfect 35-0 mark this season as DHS collected its first-ever state title in basketball. In the last four years under Butler, Destrehan posted a 120-8 overall record, including 52-0 in district play.
Brice Brown, in his second season as head coach at his alma mater, led Karr to a 15-0 season and the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Class 4A state championship. In addition to winning several local Coach of the Year awards, he was the local nominee for the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award. "When you get wins like this [in the state championship game], it makes it feel even better that the guys sacrifice and do the right things and stay off the streets and just play ball," Brown said. "We live in the city in which so many things can make us look right or left so when we get guys that keep guys straight and follow that path, you can't be prouder."
Paul Kelly, a 1983 De La Salle grad in his fifth season at his alma mater, led the Cavaliers to a 30-4 record and the Division II state title, the school's first since 1986. The Cavaliers finished the season on a 16-game winning streak, capping the year with an 81-69 victory over University High in the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Tournament. The team avenged all four of its losses, beating St. Aug, Curtis, Riverside and St. Thomas More.
Aleia Hobbs, a product of McMain High School, was selected as the SEC's Outdoor Track Runner of the Year as well as the South Central Region Women's Track Athlete of the Year. The junior ran the second fastest 100 meters in women's collegiate history at 10.85 seconds (second fastest in the world this year) and anchored LSU's 4×100 relay team to victory while tying the collegiate record of 42.12 in the event at the SEC Relays. She went on to finish fifth at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships to earn All-America honors. She also captured the SEC's 60-meter dash title during the indoor track season.
Keytaon Thompson tallied 457 total yards with six touchdowns as he led the Charging Buccaneers to the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Class 5A state title with a 50-21 victory over West Monroe. For the season, he completed 198 of 331 passes for 3,825 yards and 46 touchdowns while rushing 152 times for 1,434 yards and 26 TDs. In addition to his championship game effort, he piled up 365 yards and five scores in a 50-14 semifinal victory. Thompson was named the Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year and the Louisiana Sportswriters Player of the Year in 5A.
The Edna Karr football team capped a tremendous season by defeating Neville High School, 34-21, in the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Class 4A state championship game. The victory not only capped a perfect 15-0 season for the Cougars, but it also avenged last season's loss to Neville in the state title game. Karr trailed 21-20 at the half, but a dominant defense kept powerhouse Neville off the scoreboard in the second half. A Devin Bush interception early in the second half set up the go-ahead touchdown on a Ronnie Jackson seven-yard run. Jackson added another short TD run late in the game while quarterback Aldon Clark (the game's Most Outstanding Player) threw three first-half touchdowns, including a pair of connections with Rayce McMath. "We've been preparing for this moment since January," Clark said. "We just had to leave it all on the field and we couldn't come off this field today saying ‘Shoulda, woulda, coulda.' I'm really proud of my guys."
Destrehan High School finished with a perfect record of 35-0 on the way to the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Class 5A state championship as they became the first girls' team from the River Parishes to win a state title in basketball. The Lady Wildcats, led by head coach Angi Butler and three-time state Player of the Year Cara Ursin defeated No. 1 seed Barbe, 62-57, in the title game. Ursin earned the game's Outstanding Player award after the senior wrapped up her prep career with a 27-point, 11-rebound, six-assist effort. "Oh my gosh, when you say the words state champs, it tells you everything you need to know. You're the best in the state," Butler said. "I knew these girls were the best team, it was just a matter if we were gonna step up and prove ourselves today. I'm so, so super proud of them. This was four years in the making."
D-D Breaux was named the 2017 National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches National Coach of the Year after directing LSU to an NCAA National Runner-Up finish for the second straight season, matching the best finish in school history. The Tigers posted nine scores which rank in the top-25 in school history, including the 198.275 in Semifinal II for the second-best score at an NCAA Championship ever. The team completed the season with a perfect 21-0 record against teams in the SEC and captured the league's regular season and tournament championships as Breaux was selected as the Coach of the Year for the SEC and the Central Region. The Tigers totaled 16 All-America honors at NCAA Championships for the most at the meet in school history. Including the 11 All-America honors during the regular season, LSU finished with 27 All-Americans in 2017. The honors marked the most in school history and the best in the nation. Three gymnasts won NCAA individual championships for the most in a single season in school history. Breaux was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame earlier this summer.
The Greater New Orleans Sports Selection 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 61st year in 2017. 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 27 national champions, 92 Hall of Fame players, 48 Hall of Fame coaches and 17 Heisman Trophy winners in its 83-year history. The 84th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, which will double as a College Football Playoff Semifinal, will be played on January 1, 2018. 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 25,000 student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.5 billion into the local economy in the last decade.