The Allstate Sugar Bowl and the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame announced its annual award winners on Tuesday and the New Orleans Saints captured three honors in the final voting. These honorees will be recognized, along with the remaining award winners who will be announced later this week, at a banquet on Friday, July 23 at the Louisiana Superdome. The annual awards are based on achievements from the entire 2009 calendar year through May of 2010.
Dominating the annual awards for this year are the New Orleans Saints, who captured the first Super Bowl title in franchise history – an accomplishment which has been one of the top feel-good stories in the nation this year. Head Coach Sean Payton will be honored as the Professional Coach of the Year for the state of Louisiana; Quarterback Drew Brees will collect awards for Outstanding Professional Athlete for the city of New Orleans and for the state of Louisiana; and the team itself has been selected as the Outstanding Professional Team for the state of Louisiana.
Two other coaches are also being recognized after leading their programs to championship games. LSU baseball coach Paul Manieri has earned Outstanding College Coach recognition for the state after guiding the Tigers to their sixth College World Series championship in 2009 – and after an up-and-down regular season in 2010, Manieri has LSU rolling once again, directing the school to its third straight SEC Championship and another NCAA Tournament bid. Jay Roth will be presented with the Outstanding Prep Coach honor for the state after leading Rummel High School to 14 consecutive victories and the Raiders' first state championship game appearance.
Also being honored are a local high school star and a local collegiate star as well as an individual who has made a name for herself on the prep and collegiate level in the Crescent City. Country Day boys basketball star Matt Derenbecker, the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Louisiana for the second year in a row, is the Outstanding Male Amateur Athlete for the Greater New Orleans area, while Trenese Smith and Olivia Grayson share Outstanding Female Amateur Athlete recognition for the city. Smith, who is Loyola University's all-time leading scorer with 2,439 points, also won the honor in 2009. Grayson led Archbishop Chapelle High School to the 2009 Louisiana Class 5A Championship before joining the Tulane University women's basketball team and earning Conference USA All-Freshman recognition in 2010.
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Annual Award Winners:
Paul Manieri, LSU Baseball - Outstanding College Coach, State of Louisiana
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints - Outstanding Professional Coach, State of Louisiana
Jay Roth, Rummel H.S. Football - Outstanding Prep Coach, State of Louisiana
Matt Derenbecker, Country Day H.S. Basketball - Outstanding Male Amateur, Greater New Orleans
Trenese Smith, Loyola Basketball – Co-Outstanding Female Amateur, Greater New Orleans
Olivia Grayson, Chapelle H.S./Tulane Basketball – Co-Outstanding Female Amateur, Greater New Orleans
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints - Outstanding Professional, Greater New Orleans
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints - Outstanding Professional, State of Louisiana
New Orleans Saints - Outstanding Team, State of Louisiana
The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Selection Committee, made up of local media members, honors athletes in a wide-range of categories. Following Tuesday's release of its annual award winners, Thursday will see the announcement of the James J. Corbett Award winners and the Eddie Robinson Award honoree, and on Saturday, the organization will announce its 2010 inductees for the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame, as well as multiple Special Award winners. The Corbett Award has honored the top amateur athlete in the state of Louisiana each year since 1967 (since 2000, a male and a female Corbett Award has been distributed). The Robinson Award was instituted last year to honor the legendary football coach from Grambling State University; it recognizes an individual who demonstrates the qualities most closely associated with Coach Robinson: outstanding achievement in athletics, academics, sportsmanship and citizenship by maximizing the use of limited resources.