Wayne Reese2011 Eddie Robinson Award
The third annual winner of the Eddie Robinson Award was Wayne Reese, a man who has impacted the lives of young men for over four decades at the high school level. As of 2011, he had served as the head football coach at McDonogh 35 (nine years), Carver (13 years) and Booker T. Washington (six years), dealing with young men in largely underprivileged situations, helping them to develop as responsible citizens, football players, students and to become productive in the professional work force. Reese has also coached track and field for many years as well, including every year at McDonogh 35.
While at McDonogh 35, the first floor of the school was severely damaged from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Both the school and the football program recovered with Reese prominently involved in the recovery as he lobbied parents and children to return to the school. As the head coach of the Roneagles for the last nine years, his teams have reached the state playoffs for the last eight consecutive seasons.
Reese has coached five players who went on to play in the NFL, including Marshall Faulk (pictured with Reese at the 2011 Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, where Reese was presented with the Robinson Award) and Tyrone Jones from Carver, Chris Clark at McDonogh 35, Nate Livings of Washington-Marion and Calvin Magee at Booker T. Washington.
"The biggest thing to me is that I love to see kids grow up and see them come from nowhere and be somebody. That's the reason that I haven't gone from high school to college. I can make a bigger difference here. I don't think I had a lot to offer to the college kid. By the time they get there, they have what they need.
High school kids are in limbo. You can help turn their lives around, turn them in the right direction and help them succeed. That's why I do this. It is what motivates me. I love to see kids succeed.
The number one thing that allows me to do this is having good principals. I have been blessed for these 40 years to have tremendous administrators, tremendous principals who let you do your job and let you help to mentor young people on making good decisions.
Chris Clark was at the rock bottom. So was Marshall. They didn't know where their next meal was coming from. They got their heads on straight. The rest is history. That's the reward.
I love these kids. I love working with them. We have a whole lot of kids who have done well and give back to their communities. It helps our program. They usually give back to us. That is humbling. It will really keep you going. God has really blessed me with good kids," said Reese.
Story submitted by Ken Trahan of the Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee.