2009-10 Yearly Award Winners

Outstanding College Coach, State of LouisianaPaul Manieri (Baseball, Louisiana State University)
In 2009, his third year at the helm of the potent LSU baseball team, Paul Manieri guided the Tigers to their sixth College World Series title as they finished the season 56-17. LSU also won the SEC regular season and tournament championships while leading the nation in attendance. The Tigers closed the year with 28 wins in their final 33 games earning Manieri multiple national Coach of the Year honors. In 2010, Manieri captured another SEC Tournament Championship while leading his squad to their 20th NCAA Tournament in the last 22 years. [Ken Trahan]

Outstanding Prep Coach, State of LouisianaJay Roth (Football, Rummel H.S.)
In his 15th season at his alma mater, Jay Roth watched Rummel High win 14 consecutive games by the scantest of margins, including three playoff victories by a total of 15 points. The last, by a 7-6 score against Westgate of New Iberia, sent the Raiders to the Superdome Classic where West Monroe prevailed 30-0. In the regular season, Rummel held six opponents to seven points or less and had two shutouts. Seven of those 10 victories came by seven points or less. Roth was also selected the All-Metro and Class 5A All-State Coach of the Year. [Bill Bumgarner]

Outstanding Female Amateur (Co-Winners), Greater New OrleansOlivia Grayson (Basketball, Archbishop Chapelle/Tulane University)
Olivia Grayson led Archbishop Chapelle High School to the 2009 Louisiana Class 5A Championship with a 47-25 win over Lafayette High School. She finished her career as Chapelle's all-time scoring leader with 2,180 points and averaged 13.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 3.2 assists as a senior. She then joined the Tulane women's basketball team and earned Conference USA All-Freshman recognition while helping the Green Wave to the NCAA Tournament in 2010. [John Sudsbury]

Trenese Smith (Basketball, Loyola University)
Trenese Smith led the GCAC in scoring with 17.1 points per game in 2009-10. Loyola's all-time leading scorer with 2,439 points, she was named All-GCAC, NAIA All-American and All-Louisiana. Her 514 points this past season rank sixth for a season at Loyola and she recorded 13 20-point efforts on the year. Along with the individual accolades, the three-time GCAC Player of the Year guided the Wolfpack to an overall record of 104-39, three GCAC titles and three appearances in the NAIA National Tournament. [John Sudsbury]

Outstanding Male Amateur, Greater New OrleansMatt Derenbecker (Basketball, Country Day H.S.)
By averaging 25.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and six assists per game, Matt Derenbecker established himself as the premier prep basketball player in the New Orleans area for 2009-10. He was recognized as the Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year for the second year in a row and also collected all-state honors for the third straight season. He was also the Metro Player of the Year among small schools while earning all-district recognition for the fourth time. He completed his illustrious career with 3,334 points as well as earning a state title with the Cajuns as a junior. [Rene Nadeau]

Outstanding Team, State of LouisianaNew Orleans Saints (Football, NFL)

Outstanding Professional Coach, State of LouisianaSean Payton (Football, New Orleans Saints)

Outstanding Professional, Greater New Orleans/LouisianaDrew Brees (Football, New Orleans Saints)

It was a slam dunk. That basketball metaphor best describes the voting by the Allstate Sugar Bowl Media Selection Committee when it came to identifying this year's recipients for Louisiana's Best Pro Team, Best Pro Coach and Best Pro Player as well as the Best Pro Player in New Orleans.

In order, they are the Super Bowl XLIV champion New Orleans Saints, its head coach, Sean Payton, and MVP-caliber quarterback Drew Brees in the double-double.

It took 43 NFL seasons but the Black and Gold finally separated themselves from those sports franchises that have never won a world championship - the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Clippers to name a few.

World Champions! How sweet the sound.

Now, the Saints are contemplating the idea of pulling off a "Repeat,'' or in the enthusiastic words of the Who Dat Nation, "2Dat!''

"Last night was great,'' Payton said the morning after the Saints rallied from an early 10-point deficit to upend the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 on Feb. 6 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami. "Yet, there's still something that burns in you to separate yourself more.

"So, we'll spend a little bit of time recharging and refueling the batteries and getting ourselves prepared for the challenges ahead, and we know it will be difficult."

It will certainly be easier with Brees back at the helm. The nine-year veteran enjoyed a spectacular performance against the Colts, tying a Super Bowl record with 32 completions (out of 39 attempts) for 288 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead 2-yard score to Jeremy Shockey with 5:42 remaining in the game.

Brees gushed with praise about Payton, saying the coach's decision to try an on-side kick at the beginning of the second half was "an unbelievably gutsy call, but one we knew was going to work."

Brees credited New Orleans' fans for the victory, saying that the Saints and the city's hurricane-ravaged residents would "walk together forever."

"This is something that will always be with us," Brees said.

Story submitted by Brian Allee-Walsh of the Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee.