NEW ORLEANS – Nick Monica, the first-year head coach of the Archbishop Rummel football team, has been selected as the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Greater New Orleans Boys’ Prep Coach of the Year. The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, selects annual award winners in a variety of categories; it also selects Amateur Athletes of the Month and each year’s Hall of Fame class. Overall, 24 individuals and four teams will be honored for their 2019-20 achievements. Honorees are being announced over a period of 24 days, wrapping up with the Corbett Awards for the top male and female amateur athletes in the state on June 10 and 11.
Monica, in his first year at the helm of the Raiders after taking over for the legendary Jay Roth, completed his debut season with an undefeated record and the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Division I state championship. Monica, the Rummel defensive coordinator before he became the head coach, had six third-year starters, including eventual state Defensive MVP Donovan Kaufman, poised for big seasons. The Rummel defense did not disappoint as it didn’t allow a touchdown in eight of 10 regular season games and provided late-game stops in a pair of close postseason wins including a 14-10 win over Catholic in the state title game.
“We had a motivated group of seniors from the get-go,” Monica said. “They worked for this one goal [a state title] and for the coaches, it was just awesome to see. It was a proud moment for us.”
The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee has recognized outstanding high school coaches for the New Orleans area since 1962. Monica joins his father Frank on the list of winners – Frank Monica was recognized in 1984 with Jesuit and in 2011 with St. Charles Catholic.
The other finalists for Greater New Orleans Boys’ Prep Coach of the Year were Matt Millet (Holy Cross Soccer), Sean Moser (St. Paul’s Soccer) and Robert Valdez (St. James Football). Millet led the Tigers to their third-straight Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Division II state title as they capped a 21-6-4 season. Moser led St. Paul’s to the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Division I state championship, capping a perfect 23-0 campaign – the Wolves ended the season as the No. 1 team in the nation, according to MaxPreps. Valdez directed St. James to a perfect 15-0 record and won the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Class 3A state championship in dominating fashion with a 51-14 over Jennings. It was the school’s first state title in 40 years (1979).
The Allstate Sugar Bowl will continue announcing its annual awards tomorrow (Thursday) as the Greater New Orleans Female Amateur Athlete of the Year will be released at 10 a.m.
Outstanding Girls’ Prep Coach of the Year, New Orleans: Lakenya Reed, Booker T. Washington Basketball
Outstanding Boys’ Prep Coach of the Year, New Orleans: Nick Monica, Archbishop Rummel Football
Outstanding Female Amateur Athlete, New Orleans: May 21 (Thursday)
Outstanding Male Amateur Athlete, New Orleans: May 22 (Friday)
Outstanding Boys’ Prep Team, New Orleans: May 27 (Wednesday)
Outstanding Girls’ Prep Team, New Orleans: May 28 (Thursday)
Outstanding Collegiate Coach, Louisiana: May 29 (Friday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Inductee: June 1 (Monday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Inductee: June 2 (Tuesday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Inductee: June 3 (Wednesday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Inductee: June 4 (Thursday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Inductee: June 5 (Friday)
Jimmy Collins Special Awards: June 8 (Monday)
Eddie Robinson Award: June 9 (Tuesday)
Corbett Award – Female: June 10 (Wednesday)
Corbett Award – Male: June 11 (Thursday)
The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee began in 1957 when James Collins spearheaded a group of sports journalists to form a sports awards committee to immortalize local sports history. For 13 years, the committee honored local athletes each month. In 1970, the Sugar Bowl stepped in to sponsor and revitalize the committee, leading to the creation of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame in 1971, honoring 10 legends from the Crescent City in its first induction class. While adding the responsibility of selecting Hall of Famers, the committee has continued to recognize the top amateur athlete in the Greater New Orleans area each month – the honors enter their 64th year in 2020. To be eligible, an athlete must be a native of the greater New Orleans area or must compete for a team in the metropolitan region.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 96 Hall of Fame players, 50 Hall of Fame coaches and 18 Heisman Trophy winners in its 86-year history. The 87th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, which will double as a College Football Playoff Semifinal, is scheduled to be played on January 1, 2021. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors over 100,000 student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.7 billion into the local economy in the last decade.