NATCHITOCHES – Shreveport native Jay Cicero, the longtime President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, is the 2022 winner of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award presented by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Next summer during the Hall of Fame’s 2022 Induction Ceremony in Natchitoches, he will become the 22nd recipient of the Dixon Award since its inception in 2005, and will be enshrined in the Hall.
The Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award has been presented annually by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s 40-member Hall of Fame selection committee to an individual who has played a decisive role as a sports leader or administrator benefiting Louisiana and/or bringing credit to Louisiana on the national and international level.
It is named in honor of the 1999 LSHOF inductee, an entrepreneur and innovator who is credited as the key figure in bringing an NFL franchise to New Orleans, and the development of the Caesars Superdome, highlighting an array of sports-related endeavors.
Cicero’s selection was announced Wednesday morning by LSWA president Raymond Partsch III and Doug Ireland, the longtime chairman of the Hall of Fame. Cicero emerged from a ballot showcasing 23 noteworthy nominees for the Dixon Award.
With more than 35 years of sports management experience in Louisiana, including 24 years as president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, Cicero has led efforts in the Crescent City to not only bring dozens of major sporting events to New Orleans, but to serve as the head of the local organizing efforts for those events.
He will be inducted 30 years after the GNOSF made its first big national splash as the organizing entity for the 1992 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials hosted at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans.
Cicero began his career in sports in group sales and marketing in his hometown for the Class AA Shreveport Captains in 1986. He first joined the Sports Foundation in 1990 as Director of Special Projects and Director of Sales for the 1992 Olympic Trials.
In February 1993, Cicero was named the first general manager of the Class AAA New Orleans Zephyrs, who had just moved to town from Denver. In 1995, he returned to the Sports Foundation as Vice President of Operations and was named President/CEO in June 1997.
As the President/CEO of the Sports Foundation, Cicero has served in numerous senior leadership roles, including as the executive director of the 2002, 2013 and 2025 New Orleans Super Bowl Host Committees and the 2008, 2014 and 2017 NBA All-Star Game Host Committees, as well as serving on the executive committees for Super Bowls, several NCAA Men’s and Women’s Final Fours, the annual R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, two WrestleManias and the College Football Playoff championship game.
Cicero grew up in a sports family. His father was a teacher and coached football and baseball at Shreveport’s Loyola Prep, formerly St. John’s and Jesuit, for more than four decades.
Cicero will be among the 2022 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class headlined by nine “competitive ballot” inductees announced in September.
A pair of six-time Pro Bowl NFL linemen, New Orleans Saints’ offensive guard Jahri Evans and Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams, join the late Tony Robichaux, No. 1 on the wins list for state college baseball coaches, among a star-studded group of nine 2022 competitive ballot inductees.
The LSHOF Class of 2022 also includes two of the greatest women athletes in LSU history, three-time national champion gymnast Susan Jackson and two-time first-team All-America softball pitcher Britni Sneed Newman. Williams, who helped the Tigers’ football team win the 2003 national championship, is joined by another of LSU’s all-time great linemen, the late Eric Andolsek, and pro rodeo great Steve Duhon among the 2022 inductees.
Baton Rouge-Episcopal High School track and field/cross country coach Claney Duplechin enters the Hall next summer still active, with his teams capturing an astounding 64 LHSAA crowns in his career. Rounding out the Class of 2022 is the late Dr. Eddie Flynn, who as a Loyola-New Orleans student won the 1932 Olympic welterweight boxing gold medal for the USA, the last gold medal for an American boxer for 20 years.
Inducted next summer as winners of the LSWA’s Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism will be acclaimed north Louisiana writer, author and broadcaster Teddy Allen and central Louisiana writer, editor and publisher Garland Forman.
The 2022 Induction Class will be showcased in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum, operated by the Louisiana State Museum system in a partnership with the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The striking $23 million, two-story, 27,500-square foot structure faces Cane River Lake in the National Historic Landmark District of Natchitoches and has garnered worldwide architectural acclaim and rave reviews for its contents since its grand opening during the 2013 Hall of Fame induction weekend.
The 2021 Dixon Award winner was retired NFL referee Terry McAulay, a Hammond native and LSU graduate. McAulay, now the rules analyst for NBC’s Sunday Night Football, is one of a handful of referees to work three Super Bowls.
The 2020 recipient was Joan Cronan, an Opelousas native and LSU graduate who became one of the most respected administrators in collegiate athletics as women’s athletics director, and then overall athletics director, at the University of Tennessee.
Other past Dixon Award recipients include the 2018 winner, Steve Gleason, the former New Orleans Saints player who has become globally acknowledged as one of the world’s leading advocates for people diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
In 2008, the Dixon Award went to world-renowned orthopedic Dr. James Andrews, a Homer native, LSU graduate and SEC champion pole vaulter.
Paul Hoolahan, executive director and chief executive officer of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic for 23 years, was presented the 2015 Dixon Award.
The 2016 winner was world-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Julian Bailes, a Natchitoches native and LSU graduate who has become a leading figure in the field of sports-related concussion research and treatment.
Sue Donohoe, who served as the NCAA’s vice president for women’s basketball for 12 years, and also directed the men’s basketball NCAA Division I championship, was the 2017 recipient.
The 2022 LSHOF Induction Celebration is slated to kick off Thursday, June 23, with a press conference and reception. The three-day festivities include two receptions, a youth sports clinic, a bowling party, and a Friday night riverbank concert in Natchitoches. Tickets for the Saturday night, June 25 Induction Ceremony, along with congratulatory advertising and sponsorship opportunities, are available through the LaSportsHall.com website.
Adding to the 366 sports competitors currently enshrined, 21 winners of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership award and 69 recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, there are 455 current members of the Hall of Fame.
The Induction Celebration weekend will be hosted by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the support organization for the Hall of Fame. The LSHOF Foundation was established as a 501 c 3 non-profit entity in 1975 and is governed by a statewide board of directors. For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Foundation President/CEO Ronnie Rantz at 225-802-6040.
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