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 Bowl's 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. Since 2000, the Sugar Bowl has recognized nearly 400 student-athletes while distributing over $310,000 in scholarship money. 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 2017 Scholar-Athlete Luncheon will be held on Wednesday, April 12.
Thirty-seven local high school football players were recognized for their achievements in the classroom and on the football field. The honorees were chosen from a group of nominated talented scholar athletes from the New Orleans area. Archie Manning, the national chairman of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame, recognized each of the 37 student athletes at the event. From that group of 37, six were selected to receive Allstate Sugar Bowl Scholarships for $10,000 each. The scholarship winners were chosen based on essays submitted after being notified of their selection as scholar-athletes.
The six scholarship winners were Nathan Faciane (Lakeshore High School), Chase Jenkins (Northlake Christian School), Victor Quinonez (Brother Martin High School), McColl Simons (Metairie Park Country Day School), William "Briggs" Simpson (St Paul's School) and Alex Smith (L.W. Higgins High School). Carey Wicker, the President of the Sugar Bowl Committee, recapped their accomplishments and referenced their winning essays prior to presenting each scholarship winner with a commemorative check.
In addition to the high school honorees, two local businessmen were recognized for their contributions to the community and the sport of football.
Edwin R. Murray, a Louisiana Senator for the past 12 years and a former member of the House of Representatives, was recognized for his efforts to establish a Special Fund to enable the state to compete for high-level events and presented with the Contribution to Amateur Football Award. Murray's bill enabled the Allstate Sugar Bowl to successfully spearhead the region's successful bid to host the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship. A lifelong New Orleans resident and a graduate of John F. Kennedy High School, Murray earned his B.A. in political science from Loyola in 1982 and his juris doctor in 1985.
Darryl Berger was presented with this year's Distinguished American honor. Berger, who for more than 30 years has been at the forefront of major real estate transactions in New Orleans, including developments on the riverfront and in the French Quarter, has served as the chairman of the Board of Tulane, the university's main governing body since 2013. A native New Orleanian, Berger earned a bachelor of arts degree from Vanderbilt University in 1969. He graduated with a juris doctor from Tulane in 1972, the same year he founded Darryl Berger Investment Corporation. In various roles at Tulane, he has been a key proponent of upgrades to the athletic programs, including the building of the new on-campus football stadium.