04/09/14 12:00am NFF Scholar-Athlete Luncheon Allstate Sugar Bowl Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of FameIn January of 2000, the Sugar Bowl Committee took over the title sponsorship of the New Orleans Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. Included in the Bowls sponsorship of the chapter is the administration of an annual awards banquet held each spring to honor deserving high school football scholar athletes from the metropolitan area. Sugar Bowl Member Archie Manning is the national chairman of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. To become a member of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, please click here.
The 2014 Scholar-Athlete Luncheon will be held on Wednesday, April 9.
In 2013, 34 local high school football players (pictured above) were honored as NFF Scholar-Athletes and four of those were presented with $10,000 Allstate Sugar Bowl Scholarship checks: Gabriel Onor, Jr. (Benjamin Franklin High School), Austin J. Poché (East Jefferson High School), Jordan Showalter (Holy Cross High School) and Brody Taylor (De La Salle High School).
J.T. Curtis, the longtime football coach at John Curtis Christian School, was presented with the Contribution to Amateur Football Award; he was introduced by the 2011 Contribution to Amateur Football honoree Bill Curl, who has been a long-time supporter of Curtis Athletics. Curtis is preparing for his 45th year of coaching football at John Curtis Christian School. One of just two coaches in the nation with over 500 victories, Curtis capped one of his most successful seasons in 2012 when his Patriots were selected as the consensus high school football national champions. The program also won its 25th state championship. Curtis, who also serves as the schools Director of Athletics, additionally helped direct the school to a total of six state championships in 2011-12.
Elliott Hill, the President of Nike North America, received this years Distinguished American Award; he was introduced by Mitch Landrieu, the Mayor of New Orleans. One of the missions of Nike Inc., is to change lives and after Katrina it turned its focus to New Orleans in an effort to do so. Hill was the driving force behind a massive Nike effort to completely renovate Joe Brown Park in New Orleans East. Nike was joined by other supporters, including the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the Brees Dream Foundation and the City of Orleans, to begin a multimillion dollar renovation of the historic park in 2011. With the project nearing completion, the park has gone from being a post-Katrina eyesore to being one of the top recreational areas in the entire city of New Orleans, largely due to the efforts of Hill and his team at Nike. The centerpiece of the facility is Victory Field, an artificial turf football field which is available to the New Orleans Recreation Department and youth football teams throughout the city.