Loyola’s Zach Wrightsil wins Corbett Award as Top Male Athlete in Louisiana
Basketball Star is First Loyola Athlete in History to Win Sugar Bowl’s Top Amateur Honor
NEW ORLEANS – Zach Wrightsil, the star forward for Loyola’s national championship men’s basketball team, has been selected as the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Corbett Award winner as the top male amateur athlete in the state of Louisiana. 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, 26 individuals and four teams will be honored for their 2021-22 achievements at the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Awards Banquet on July 30.
Wrightsil, who will also be recognized as the top male amateur athlete for New Orleans at the banquet, will be the first Loyola University athlete to be presented with a Corbett Award, an honor which has been awarded since 1967. The all-time list of Corbett Award winners includes 19 NFL players, nine Major League Baseball players, four NBA players (including two Hall of Famers), 10 Olympians (including seven Gold Medal winners), three WNBA players and one PGA Tour star.
“I’m honored to receive such a prestigious award,” Wrightsil said. “This year has been a roller coaster and I’m happy to see all of the hard work pay off. I would like to thank my family and friends for supporting me all year and the Allstate Sugar Bowl for considering me for this award.”
“First of all, it speaks to what a high character young man that Zach Wrightsil is,” said Brett Simpson, the director of athletics at Loyola. “He was a leader on the court and in the classroom for us. It was special to watch him and his teammates walk across the stage as champions and receive their degrees from Loyola. From our department’s perspective, our student athletes, coaches, and staff live the Jesuit ideal of ‘pursuing excellence’ every day. It’s our mantra. They have achieved so much that many people probably thought would never happen at Loyola and they deserve a ton of credit for that. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to work with them every day.”
A 6-7 forward, Wrightsil closed his distinguished Loyola career by being named the NAIA National Player of the Year and a First-Team All-American after averaging 18.7 points (on 62 percent shooting), 8.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game. The pinnacle of his career was leading the Wolf Pack to a 37-1 record this past season – culminating with a 71-56 victory over Talladega College to claim the NAIA National Championship. Wrightsil scored a team-high 19 points (on 8-of-12 shooting) to go with 12 rebounds, four assists and five steals in the national title game, which was the first for Loyola since 1947.
“It feels incredible [to bring a national championship to Loyola and New Orleans],” Wrightsil told WDSU-TV after the monumental victory. “It feels like we cemented ourselves in history forever. Seventy-plus years in the making, this is an incredible moment. I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life.
“It was incredible to trust our work, trust ourselves, and focus on our goal that we set on day one – to come out here and win a championship.”
During the season, the Texas product was named SSAC Player of the Week six times, while also earning SSAC Player of the Year and First-Team All-Conference honors. He set the Loyola record for most points (709) and rebounds (334) in a single-season and he also completed his career as Loyola’s all-time leader in points (2,104), rebounds (1,065) and assists (480) while ranking second in steals and fifth in blocks.
Wrightsil will close out his collegiate eligibility in 2022-23 playing for Marquette University.
Jimmy Collins Special Awards: Loyola Men’s Basketball and St. Charles Catholic Athletics
Outstanding Boys’ Prep Coach of the Year, New Orleans: Wayne Stein, St. Charles Catholic Football/Baseball
Outstanding Girls’ Prep Coach of the Year, New Orleans: Becky Lambert, Archbishop Hannan Softball
Outstanding Female Amateur Athlete, New Orleans: Alia Armstrong, LSU Track & Field
Outstanding Male Amateur Athlete, New Orleans: Zach Wrightsil, Loyola Basketball
Eddie Robinson Award: Ronald “Hendu” Henderson
Outstanding Boys’ Prep Team, New Orleans: Brother Martin Bowling
Outstanding Girls’ Prep Team, New Orleans: Ponchatoula Basketball
Outstanding Collegiate Coach, Louisiana: Stacey Hollowell, Loyola Men’s Basketball
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2022 Inductee: Ashley Brignac, Softball
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2022 Inductee: Marques Colston, Football
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2022 Inductee: Billy Ray Hobley, Basketball
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2022 Inductee: Shaun King, Football
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2022 Inductee: Carvie Upshaw, Basketball
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2022 Inductee: Johnny Wright, Baseball
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 66th year in 2022. 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, 100 Hall of Fame players, 51 Hall of Fame coaches and 20 Heisman Trophy winners in its 88-year history. The 89th annual Sugar Bowl Classic is scheduled to be played on Saturday, December 31, 2022. 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 over $2.2 billion into the local economy in the last decade. For more information, visit www.AllstateSugarBowl.org.
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