The Corbett Award
The Corbett Award was created in 1967 and named in honor of the late James J. Corbett to commemorate his many contributions to intercollegiate athletics and specifically to the Sugar Bowl. At the time of his death, Mr. Corbett was the Athletic Director at Louisiana State University. These awards are presented annually to the most outstanding amateur male and female athletes in the State of Louisiana. The Corbett recipients are selected each year by members of the N.O. Sports Hall of Fame Committee, based on nominations submitted by the state’s sportswriters, sportscasters and sports information directors.
Since its inception in 1967 (through 2017), Corbett Award winners include 17 NFL players, eight Major League Baseball players, four NBA players (including two Hall of Famers), eight Olympians (including seven Gold Medal winners), three WNBA players and one PGA Tour star.
- 2013-14: Leonard Fournette, St. Augustine High School Football (NFL)
- 2013-14: Christina Hamilton, UL-Lafayette Softball
- 2005: Micah Owings, Tulane Baseball (MLB)
- 2005: Seimone Augustus, LSU Basketball (WNBA, Olympic Gold)
- 2000: Brad Cresse, LSU Baseball
- 2000: Peta-Gaye Dowdie, LSU Track & Field (Olympian)
- 1999: Tim Rattay, Louisiana Tech Football (NFL)
- 1998: Shaun King, Tulane Football (NFL)
- 1997: Brandon Larson, LSU Baseball (MLB)
- 1996: Warren Morris, LSU Baseball (MLB)
- 1995: Kerry Joseph, McNeese State Football (NFL)
- 1994: Russ Johnson, LSU Baseball (MLB)
- 1993: Todd Walker, LSU Baseball (MLB)
- 1992: Shaquille O’Neal, LSU Basketball (NBA, Olympic Gold)
- 1991: Shaquille O’Neal, LSU Basketball (NBA, Olympic Gold)
- 1990: Esther Jones, LSU Track & Field (Olympic Gold)
- 1989: Chris Jackson, LSU Basketball (NBA)
- 1988: Teresa Weatherspoon, Louisiana Tech Basketball (WNBA, Olympic Gold)
- 1987: Marc Zeno, Tulane Football
- 1986: Eun Jung Lee, Northeast Louisiana Basketball
- 1985: Lauri Young, Northeast Louisiana Track & Field
- 1984: Kim Mulkey, Louisiana Tech Basketball (Olympic Gold)
- 1983: Buford Jordan, McNeese State Football (NFL)
- 1982: Alan Risher, LSU Football (NFL)
- 1981: Pam Kelly, Louisiana Tech Basketball (WBB Hall of Fame)
- 1980: Hal Sutton, Centenary Golf (PGA)
- 1979: Roch Hontas, Tulane Football
- 1978: Charles Alexander, LSU Football (NFL)
- 1977: Doug Williams, Grambling Football (NFL)
- 1976: Terry Robiskie, LSU Football (NFL)
- 1975: Robert Parish, Centenary Basketball (NBA Hall of Fame)
- 1974: Terry Kieffer, UNO Baseball
- 1973: Rodney Milburn, Southern Track & Field (Olympic Gold)
- 1972: Bert Jones, LSU Football (NFL)
- 1971: Rodney Milburn, Southern Track & Field (Olympic Gold)
- 1970: Rick Kingrea, Tulane Football (NFL)
- 1969: Pete Maravich, LSU Basketball (NBA Hall of Fame)
- 1968: Pete Maravich, LSU Basketball (NBA Hall of Fame)
- 1967: Nelson Stokley, LSU Football
LSU Sweeps Corbett Awards
For the ninth time in the 18 years since the Corbett Award has been presented to a male and a female winner each year, LSU swept both honors as gymnastics champion Ashleigh Gnat and golf star Sam Burns were recognized for the 2016-17 year.UL-Lafayette (2008) and Tulane (2002) swept the honors once each.
Other schools that have been recognized with the prestigious statewide award are Southern University (1971, 1973), UNO (1974), Centenary (1975, 1980), Grambling (1977), Louisiana Tech (1981, 1984, 1988), McNeese State (1983, 1995), Northeast Louisiana/UL Monroe (1985, 1986) as well as St. Augustine High School – Leonard Fournette became the first, and only, high school athlete to win the Corbett in 2014. Other than Fournett, LSU, Tulane and UL Lafayette have combined to win all of the Corbett Awards since 1999.
Also of interest with the 2016-17 Corbett Award winners is that Gnat and Burns were both honored as the top athletes in their sports. Gnat capped her stellar career by winning the 2017 AAI Award, which is presented annually to the best gymnast in the country, essentially making it the “Heisman Trophy” for the sport. Gnat joins three-time NCAA Champion Susan Jackson, who was the 2010 Corbett Award winner, as the only winners in school history. The winner is voted on by the nation’s coaches and considered the highest honor of women’s gymnastics. Burns capped his sophomore season with the Tigers by being named the 2017 NCAA Division I Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year. He is the first LSU Tiger in history to be honored with this award that is considered the Heisman Trophy of college golf.
The most recent year with similar circumstances of two stars at the tops of their sports was likely 2006 when LSU track star Xavier Carter was the male winner after being named the NCAA Division I indoor and outdoor Male Track Athlete of the Year, while fellow Tiger Seimone Augustus was the consensus national player of the year in women’s basketball.