Kentucky’s Yowarsky one of seven legends to join Allstate Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame
Surprise star of 1951 Sugar Bowl
NEW ORLEANS, La. (UK Athletics) – The Allstate Sugar Bowl will introduce seven legends as the fourth class of the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame in conjunction with the 88th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl on January 1, 2022. The inaugural Hall of Fame class, introduced in 2017, was composed of 16 stars of the annual New Orleans football classic. This year’s class of Hall of Famers includes one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game, four Sugar Bowl MVPs, a future Pro Football Hall-of-Famer and a three-time All-American; all individuals who left significant legacies in Sugar Bowl lore.
“The Sugar Bowl Committee is tremendously proud of its storied history,” said Ralph Capitelli, the President of the Sugar Bowl Committee. “We’ve had an almost endless number of legendary coaches and players in our game, and it’s our great honor to recognize seven of those here with their induction in the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame later this month.”
The living members of the fourth class of the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame have all been invited to New Orleans for this year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl. Attendees and their guests will participate in select Sugar Bowl VIP activities and will be recognized on the field during the pregame ceremony leading up to the annual Sugar Bowl Classic.
Allstate Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame – Class of 2021
Name School Sugar Bowl(s)
Jimbo Covert Pittsburgh 1982
Tony Davis Nebraska 1974
Bobby Dodd* Georgia Tech 1953, 1954, 1956
Jake Gibbs Ole Miss 1960, 1961
Woodrow Lowe Alabama 1973, 1975
Doug Moreau LSU 1965
Walt Yowarsky* Kentucky 1951
A first-team All-American as a junior in 1981, Jimbo Covert keyed Pitt’s run to the 1982 Sugar Bowl while protecting star quarterback Dan Marino from his line position. He continued that run in the Sugar Bowl, flawlessly protecting his quarterback, but the Panthers still trailed 20-17 with under a minute to go in the game. However, Covert and his linemates held strong to allow Marino to deliver the thrilling game-winning 33-yard TD pass on a fourth-and-five play with 35 seconds to go. Covert, who would earn consensus All-America recognition as a senior, was named to Pitt’s All-Time Football Team and would be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003. After a nine-year NFL career with the Chicago Bears, he was named to the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team and selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
Trailing Florida 10-0 late in the third quarter, Nebraska rallied behind a tough running effort from Tony Davis, who would earn Most Outstanding Player honors for the 1974 Sugar Bowl. Davis, a native of Tecumseh, Neb., ran 11 times for 110 yards in the final 20 minutes of the game. His 40-yard run with just over three minutes to go was the key play to set up Mike Coyle’s game-winning 39-yard field goal. He finished the game with 126 rushing yards on 17 carries as Nebraska defeated Florida, 13-10. Davis was head coach Tom Osborne’s first 1,000-yard rusher as a sophomore in 1973 and graduated as the Cornhuskers’ all-time leading rusher. He was also the MVP of the Cotton Bowl in January of 1974 and he would play six years in the NFL. He was elected to the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.
Legendary college football coach Bobby Dodd established himself as one of the all-time greats with a dominating run at the Sugar Bowl in the mid-1950s. Dodd directed Georgia Tech to three Sugar Bowls in a four-year stretch – and he won all three. His 24-7 win over Ole Miss in the 1953 game capped an undefeated season for the Yellow Jackets, who were recognized as the national champs by multiple entities. He also led his squad to a 42-19 win over West Virginia in the 1954 game and a 7-0 shutout of Pitt in 1956. Under Dodd’s leadership, Georgia Tech recorded a 165-64-8 record over 22 years. The Yellow Jackets played in 13 major bowls games and won nine of those. In addition to Georgia Tech naming its stadium after Dodd, he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach.
Jake Gibbs keyed back-to-back Sugar Bowl wins for Johnny Vaught and Ole Miss. After throwing a 43-yard touchdown pass in the 1960 Sugar Bowl win over LSU, Gibbs ran for a pair of touchdowns while leading the Rebels in passing to earn Most Outstanding Player recognition in Ole Miss’ 14-6 victory over Rice in the 1961 Sugar Bowl. In addition to leading the Rebels to the SEC Championship in 1960, Gibbs keyed Ole Miss’ SEC baseball championship in 1959 as he also starred for that team. While he had offers to play professional football, Gibbs opted for baseball and played for the New York Yankees from 1962-71. While he wasn’t a traditional star, he was a fan favorite who dedicated himself so completely to the organization that he was honored with Jake Gibbs Day at Yankee Stadium in 1971. He would go on to coach the Ole Miss baseball team, directing it to the 1972 SEC Championship and the College World Series.
Woodrow Lowe, a star linebacker who is one of two Alabama players to be named All-American three times, was a defensive star in a pair of Sugar Bowls. He had 10 tackles in the Tide’s 1973 memorable loss to Notre Dame and added 13 in its win over Penn State in 1975. In the latter game, he had two tackles on Penn State’s final drive, including a key stop to force a fourth-down (the Lions went for it and were stopped again) with just over a minute remaining. Lowe set the Alabama record for tackles in a season in 1973 and still ranks No. 4 all-time in tackles for the Tide with 315 while also keying four straight SEC Championships for his team. Selected for the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009, Lowe had an 11-year NFL career with the San Diego Chargers in which he only missed one game.
The Most Outstanding Player in the 1965 Sugar Bowl, Doug Moreau did it all for LSU in its 13-10 win over Syracuse. On the first possession of the second half, Moreau collected a 57-yard touchdown reception that was followed by a two-point conversion to tie the game at 10. With the score still tied with 3:48 to go, Moreau booted a 28-yard game-winning field goal. During the regular season, Moreau had an NCAA record 13 field goals and, combined with his receiving duties, he scored 73 of the Tigers’ 115 total points. Moreau earned All-America honors that season and went on to play professionally for four years. Since 1972, Moreau has been a key part of LSU’s award-winning radio and television broadcast crews.
Playing defense for just the second time in his career, Walt Yowarsky was the completely unexpected Most Outstanding Player for Kentucky’s upset of top-ranked Oklahoma in the 1951 Sugar Bowl. The burly lineman had a pair of key third-down stops, a fumble recovery that led to the Wildcats’ first touchdown, a touchdown-saving tackle of Billy Vessels (future Heisman Trophy winner) at the goal line, and another fumble recovery late in the game which allowed Kentucky to run out the clock in its shocking 13-7 victory. The Wildcat win snapped the heavily-favored Sooners’ 31-game winning streak. “Coach Bryant wanted his biggest kids on defense to shoot gaps in the Oklahoma offense,” remembered Yowarsky, who was 6-foot-2, 208-pounds. “That’s why, I suppose, I was moved to defense. I think the feeling was that Oklahoma could probably move some on us until they got near the goal, but that they weren’t strong enough to move us out of there.” A native of Cleveland, Yowarsky played in the NFL for seven years and then went onto over 40 years as a coach and scout in the NFL. He died on November 30, 2014, at the age of 86.
The New Orleans Mid-Winter Sports Association was founded in 1934 by a group of civic-minded businessman and professionals interested in promoting amateur athletic events geared toward bringing visitors to New Orleans during what had traditionally been a slow period for tourism. Now known as the Sugar Bowl Committee, the organization remains a voluntary group whose members serve without remuneration.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 99 Hall of Fame players, 51 Hall of Fame coaches and 19 Heisman Trophy winners in its 87-year history. The 88th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, which will feature No. 7 Baylor from the Big 12 and No. 8 Ole Miss from the SEC, is scheduled to be played on January 1, 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 $2.7 billion into the local economy in the last decade. For more information, visit www.AllstateSugarBowl.org.