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Allstate Sugar Bowl Announces Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Inductees

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Two legendary high school coaches, a Pro Football Hall of Famer and a sharp-shooting NBA star compose the Allstate Sugar Bowl's 2012 Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame class. The official induction will be at the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame banquet on Saturday, August 4 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Frank Misuraca (Jesuit High School) and Jack Salter (Covington High School) are the long-time coaches, Willie Roaf (New Orleans Saints) is the football star and Aaron James (Cohen High School, Grambling State, New Orleans Jazz) is the hardwood standout in this year's class. In addition to the Hall of Famers, the Eddie Robinson Award will be presented to the surprising high school track team from Holy Rosary High School.

In addition to Thursday's release of the Hall of Famers and the Eddie Robinson Award winner, the Corbett Award winners and a pair of Special Awards were announced on Wednesday and the organization released its annual award winners on Tuesday.

Sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame was created in 1971 and has honored 206 athletes who were born in New Orleans and achieved prominence in or away from the Greater New Orleans area; or, those non-natives who achieved sports prominence in the Greater New Orleans area in high school, college, professional or amateur sports. Each year's Hall of Fame class is selected by the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Selection Committee, a volunteer group which has met monthly to pay homage to outstanding achievements in athletics in the Greater New Orleans area for over five decades. In addition to the Hall of Fame, the committee recognizes an Amateur Athlete of the Month for the Greater New Orleans area and selects yearly winners for a variety of major awards.

2012 Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Inductee:

An all-city and all-state forward at Cohen High School in the final year (1969) of the Louisiana Interscholastic and Literary Organization, Aaron James was among the state LIALO leaders in scoring and rebounds. At Grambling, James led the nation (small schools) in scoring in 1974 and left as the school's No. 4 all-time scorer. He was named the SWAC's Freshman of the Year (1970) a three-time All-SWAC selection (1972, 1973 and 1974) as well as being an All-American in 1973 and 1974. The first selection of the New Orleans Jazz in 1974, James played five years in the NBA, averaging 10.8 points and 8 rebounds. Following his career, he served as men's basketball coach at Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas. He returned to Grambling as an assistant women's basketball coach then eventually became head men's coach. He was inducted in the Northeast Louisiana Pro Athletes Sports Gallery and the Louisiana Basketball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame. He received an honorable mention in the LBCA's Louisiana Team of the Century.

2012 Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Inductee:

While serving as head coach of both the prep and the American Legion Blue Jay baseball team for 15 years (1966-81), Misuraca and his teams registered five state championships (LHSAA in 1979 and 1980 and Legion in 1975, 1979 and 1980), two state runner-up spots, four district championships, one district runner-up spot, one regional championship, three division championships, and three division runner-ups spots. He was named as prep baseball's Coach of the Year on six occasions. Even the gymnastics team he coached in 1965 won city and state championships. Misuraca, who also spent 25 years as Jesuit's Athletic Director, is the only athletic director in the state twice recognized by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) as Athletic Director of the Year (1991 and 1996) and was also named National Athletic Director of the Year. He has served as the president of the Louisiana High School Athletic Directors' Association and as an executive board member of the LHSAA, which conferred upon him its Distinguished Service Award. His storied career began as a player at Francis Nicholls High School. He went on to play at SLU, starring at third base and being named NAIA First-Team All-American. He served at Jesuit for 45 years, beginning as a faculty member in 1962 and retiring in 2007. He has been inducted into the Halls of Fame for Southeastern Louisiana (1976), Louisiana's Italian-American Sports (1995) and the LHSAA (2001).

2012 Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Inductee:

Previously elected to sports halls of fame in Arkansas (2007) and Louisiana (2009), the New Orleans Saints (2008) and pro football's "Big One'' in Canton, Ohio (2012), Willie Roaf played 13 seasons in the NFL, the first nine with the Saints who drafted him with the eighth pick of the first round in 1993 from Louisiana Tech where he earned All-America honors. He was an 11-time NFL Pro Bowl selection and a nine-time All-Pro. Of the nine seasons with the Saints, he was named to seven Pro Bowls. In March 2002, he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs where he was named to four additional Pro Bowls before announcing his retirement in July 2006. He won a spot on the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team and the 2000s All-Decade Team, making him the most awarded player in Saints history. His election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame came during his second year of eligibility and was announced on February 4, 2012.

2012 Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Inductee:

Salter retired after 33 years as the head football coach for Covington High School with a 259-110-8 record (.700 winning percentage). His teams won 15 district championships, made the state finals four times and won the 1976 4A state title when his Lions compiled a 15-0-0 record. A 1949 graduate of St. Paul's, Salter saw over 75 of the players he mentored go on to receive college scholarships. The regard in which he is held in the Northshore town where he was raised and coached is emblazoned on the Covington High football arena: Jack Salter Stadium.

2012 Eddie Robinson Award Winner - Holy Rosary High School Track
Holy Rosary High School opened its doors on the banks of a sleepy Bayou St. John in August 2005 and did not become members of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association until recently. Because of its small enrollment, designed to give students individual attention to help them experience academic success and believe in themselves in their quest to receive a college preparatory education, the LHSAA placed the New Orleans school in its lowest classification of competition, Class C. And being on the bottom rung of the sports ladder, the school and athletic director Nick Accardo has asked its athletes to achieve success with few amenities.

With few resources other than the burning desire to win, the 2012 boys' track and field team, just six athletes strong, achieved an incredible second-place finish in the state track championship meet on May 5 in Baton Rouge. The Bulldogs won three events and finished second in four others. Hackberry won the team title with 83 points, but the Holy Rosary boys scored 66 to edge Family Christian for second place.

Its performance not only put it on the medal stand with the state runner-up trophy, but earned the team the coveted Eddie Robinson Award. Coach Robinson was the epitome of the very best in college athletics, and so it is in this spirit the Allstate Sugar Bowl presents annually an award to an athlete, coach, team or athletic administrator 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.

Accardo started the track and field program by taking a handful of students to a grassy field in City Park on which he used paint to lay out a 200-meter track. He added an area designated as a shot-put and javelin throwing field. The coach scheduled them in two local and a few junior varsity meets in the Baton Rouge area. They took their small team to the state regional meet and qualified six individuals for the state championships.

Stephen Landry's 122-feet javelin throw gave Holy Rosary its first two points. The runners did the rest. Dathennile Parker won the 400 and 200-meter dashes and finished second in the 100-meter dash. Michael Alphonse placed second in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. Then the two joined teammates  James Nethery and Qaadhee Carter to win the final event, the 3,200-meter relay. Those final 10 points gave Holy Rosary its silver trophy, which is proudly displayed in the school's showcase.


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