Sidney Parfait Selected for Nola Sports Committee’s Eddie Robinson Award
NEW ORLEANS (July 5, 2021) – Sidney Parfait, the state director of American Legion Baseball, has been selected to receive the Eddie Robinson Award from the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The Committee 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 at the 2020-21 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.
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: Kristen Nuss, LSU Beach Volleyball
Outstanding Male Amateur Athlete, New Orleans: Jared Butler, Baylor Basketball
Eddie Robinson Award: Sidney Parfait, American Legion Baseball
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)
Since being established in 2009, the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee’s Eddie Robinson Award has become a prestigious honor in the region. Many awards recognize championships, victories and record-breaking performances, but the Eddie Robinson Award is presented annually to an individual in the state of Louisiana who has demonstrated the qualities most closely associated with Coach Robinson: outstanding achievement in athletics, academics, sportsmanship, and citizenship by maximizing the use of limited resources. And more importantly, it carries the name of a Louisiana legend who coached the Grambling football team for 57 years. While he was known for his 408 career victories, he was more known for the characteristics now recognized by this Allstate Sugar Bowl sponsored honor.
Like so many other New Orleans traditions, American Legion Baseball has deep roots. It’s been in continuous operation in the area since 1927. It’s produced thousands of alumni, including its share of collegiate all stars and Major Leaguers. The stories are vast and the memories are countless, all thanks to the veterans of the armed forces who started and cultivated the program that is now approaching its centennial.
In a time of reduced participation and seemingly diminished interest at a national level, the local program has continued to remain a viable option for local high school coaches and players. For Louisiana, much of that success can be attributed to one man, Sidney Parfait.
A sergeant in the United States Army during the Vietnam War, Parfait returned to New Orleans and became a certified public account and later President and CEO of the Post Office Employees Credit Union until his recent retirement. He is a past Commander and active member of American Legion’s Loo Wag Ran Post 285. He’s also been active on playgrounds as a coach, volunteer, and fundraiser for more than 35 years. Since 1984, his passion has been American Legion Baseball.
While the games only occur between Memorial Day and the start of each new school year, American Legion Baseball is a year-round cause for Parfait. As State Director, he oversees a limited budget, schedules for all participating teams, rules and paperwork, and the brackets. During the summer months, things get into full swing and he doubles as a gateman and ball runner when necessary due to a limited number of volunteers able to assist. This summer marks Parfait’s twenty-fifth as First District Director, the district that covers the metro New Orleans area.
In 2013, he was named Legion’s State Baseball Commissioner, which places him in conversations with other state leaders to keep their programs viable and growing at a local and national level amid a changing landscape of prep and summer baseball leagues and the growth of travel ball and pay-for-play leagues. Change is a constant, and Legion works to embrace change in order to keep the tradition going. Under Parfait’s leadership, the area’s program has continued to be groomed as a national power, having sent six Louisiana teams to the American Legion World Series since 2006, including two national champions. Together with a small committee of volunteers, Parfait navigates summer heat and rain delays to produce a first-class product that makes Louisiana sports fans proud.
For his continuous contributions to the Boys of Summer, the New Orleans Sports Awards Committee has named Parfait the 2021 recipient of its Eddie Robinson Award.
Legion Baseball players and fans are familiar with the program’s iconic Code of Sportsmanship. As Parfait reminds players prior to reciting it before games, the code represents “words to play by and words to live by.” Parfait has lived the code while remaining steadfast in each of the award’s fundamental values to give back to his community through our national pastime.
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 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.