Cullen Doody, Chris Prator honored as New Orleans’ top prep coaches

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Cullen Doody and Chris Prator

Allstate Sugar Bowl Recognizes Jesuit Cross Country Coach and St. Scholastica Swimming Coach

NEW ORLEANS – Cullen Doody, the coach of the state champion Jesuit High School boys’ cross country team, and Chris Prator, the state championship winning coach of the St. Scholastica girls’ swim team, have been selected as the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Prep Coaches 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 three teams will be honored for their 2022-23 achievements at the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Awards Banquet on August 5. Honorees are currently being announced over a two-week period, wrapping up with the Corbett Awards for the top male and female amateur athletes in the state on Friday, July 28.

Doody capped an impressive season by being named the national boys cross country coach of the year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Doody arrived at Jesuit High School, his alma mater, in 2020 and put the runners on an 18-month training schedule he believed would result in a state championship. He was proven correct when the Blue Jays won the 2021 state title with then-sophomore Michael Vocke as the lead runner. One year later, Jesuit won a second consecutive championship with senior Jack DesRoches — a Vanderbilt commitment — as the lead runner. The Blue Jays posted the five fastest times at the Division I meet in November to achieve a perfect score of 15 points. In addition to the state championship, Jesuit won against national-level competition at meets in Alabama and Indiana.

“I didn’t know this was an award three years ago,” Doody said of the national honor. “These kinds of awards weren’t on my radar. That wasn’t why I got into doing this. I got into it because I wanted the kids to run faster. I wanted the program to reach new heights. We have eight seniors on this team. At least four of them will run Division I in college.”

Prator led St. Scholastica Academy to the LHSAA Division II state championship, the 12th straight state title for the school’s swimming team. This victory hit just a bit different for Prator, whose team scored 409 points to finish well ahead of St. Thomas More with 263 in the girls’ team race.

“We went in with goals and one of the main goals was that everybody makes it back from prelims and everybody scores,” Prator said. “That happened, and we are very excited. It does not happen that way often. When it does, that adds something to it. We never talk about times or the psyche sheet. It’s we’re going in to keep SSA’s legacy. It’s a cohesive group. We had 10 seniors and six swam today. For us to take down those two relay records was a great way for them to go out.”

St. Scholastica’s Gabby Hall won the 100 butterfly in 58.68 seconds and was part of the Doves’ Division II record-setting 200 and 400 free relays.

The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee has recognized outstanding high school coaches for the New Orleans area since 1962. It is the first time that Doody and Prator have been honored.

The Sugar Bowl conducted its first fan vote for its annual awards as well and the Coach of the Year winners were Marcus Scott (Destrehan Football) for boys’ teams and Tamra Regalo (Riverside Softball) for girls’ teams. Scott, in his third year as Destrehan’s head coach, directed the Wildcats to a perfect season capped by the LHSAA Division 1 Non-Select State Championship. Regalo saw the Rebels open the season with five straight losses, but she righted the ship and Riverside closed the year with 21 wins in their final 25 games, including a 5-0 win over No. 1 Catholic-Pointe Coupee in the LHSAA Division IV selection softball championship game for their first state title since 2002.

The other finalists for Greater New Orleans Boys’ Prep Coach of the Year were Nate Roche (Carver Basketball) and Wayne Stein (St. Charles Catholic Football/Baseball). Despite graduating three players to the Division I collegiate ranks, Roche directed Carver to its third straight LHSAA state championship game and its second straight title in 2023. Stein, who won this honor last year, directed St. Charles Catholic to state titles in both football and baseball for the second straight year.

Joining Prator and Regalo as finalists for the Greater New Orleans Girls’ Prep Coach of the Year honor were Julie Ibieta (Country Day Volleyball) and Colleen Loerzel (Newman Volleyball). Ibieta, the winner of this honor in 2020-21, directed her Cajuns to their seventh straight volleyball state championship. Loerzel guided Newman to the No. 1 seed in the LHSAA Division IV state playoffs and the Greenies didn’t drop a set in five straight LHSAA Tournament victories to earn the championship.

Greater New Orleans Sports Awards

The Allstate Sugar Bowl will continue announcing its annual awards tomorrow (Tuesday) with the Greater New Orleans Athletes of the Year.

Outstanding Boys’ Prep Coach of the Year, New Orleans: Cullen Doody, Jesuit Cross Country

Outstanding Girls’ Prep Coach of the Year, New Orleans: Chris Prator, St. Scholastica Swimming

Outstanding Female Amateur Athlete, New Orleans: July 18 (Tuesday)

Outstanding Male Amateur Athlete, New Orleans: July 18 (Tuesday)

Jimmy Collins Special Awards: July 19 (Wednesday)

Outstanding Boys’ Prep Team, New Orleans: July 20 (Thursday)

Outstanding Girls’ Prep Team, New Orleans: July 20 (Thursday)

Outstanding Collegiate Coach, Louisiana: July 21 (Friday)

Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023 Inductee: July 24 (Monday)

Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023 Inductee: July 25 (Tuesday)

Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023 Inductee: July 26 (Wednesday)

Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023 Inductee: July 27 (Thursday)

Corbett Award – Female: July 28 (Friday)

Corbett Award – Male: July 28 (Friday)

The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee came together 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 and a variety of annual award winners. 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 as well as a range of annual awards – the honors enter their 67th year in 2023.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 102 Hall of Fame players, 52 Hall of Fame coaches and 21 Heisman Trophy winners in its 89-year history. The 90th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, which will double as a College Football Playoff Semifinal, is scheduled to be played on January 1, 2024. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards, scholarships and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors thousands of student-athletes each year, while injecting nearly $2.4 billion into the local economy in the last decade. For more information, visit

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