NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Milton Retif is the 2013 Dave Dixon award winner as presented by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Retif, 80, has a lifelong record of sports leadership and accomplishment along with being a benefactor of prep, college and amateur sports in New Orleans. He will be among the 11 honorees at the 2013 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and Ceremonies on Saturday evening, June 29, at the Natchitoches Events Center.
The Induction Dinner and Ceremonies are the culmination of the 2013 Induction Celebration beginning Thursday afternoon, June 27, with the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Press Conference and Kickoff Reception.
Louisiana sport stars Ronald Ardoin, Tommy Hodson, Ervin Johnson, James Jones, Anna Koll, Kevin Mawae, Shaquille O'Neal, Chanda Rubin and Ed "Skeets" Tuohy are the nine athletes and coaches who will enter the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame this summer.
Also honored with enshrinement will be a recipient of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association's Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, to be announced this week.
Tickets and other event participation opportunities will be available soon through the LaSportsHall.com website.
The 2013 Induction Class will be the first to be welcomed into 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 two-story, 27,500-square foot structure faces Cane River Lake in the National Historic Landmark District of Natchitoches and will open this summer.
The Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award is presented annually by the LSWA's 30-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.
Dixon Award winners are enshrined as Hall of Fame members and will be recognized in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum.
The award is named in honor of Hall of Famer Dave Dixon, the driving force behind bringing the NFL to Louisiana with the creation of the New Orleans Saints franchise. Dixon, who passed away in 2010, is also considered the "father" of the Mercedez-Benz Louisiana Superdome, developing the concept for the innovative domed structure and pushing state officials for its construction in the late 1960s.
Retif is a member of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame (2001) as an athlete, coach and civic contributor and three years later was enshrined in the Hilton Riverside Walk of Fame for "positive contributions to the way of life in New Orleans."
A former outstanding infielder at Jesuit (an All-State selection who played for a state title team in 1950) and Tulane where he was captain of the team in the early 1950's, Retif saved the Tulane program with financial contributions in 1966 when the Green Wave gave consideration to making baseball a club sport.
He took over the program a year later as an unpaid head coach and built a 123-73 (.628) record and coached the Wave to national prominence including a No. 1 national ranking in 1971. A highly-successful businessman and a major backer of the Green Wave program, financing team locker rooms and other necessities, his uniform number at Tulane is retired for his impact as a player, coach and supporter.
He holds an annual golf tournament benefitting many of his New Orleans-area charitable causes. For years, Retif has been a major sponsor of American Legion baseball programs for Jesuit and Archbishop Shaw high schools. He has received Shaw's Don Bosco Award for being a "role model for youth through sports and school activities." His alma mater, Jesuit, voted him Outstanding Alumnus in 1993. He has created an endowment for students there. Coaches, parents, and former players say his support far surpassed check-writing and fundraising.
Soon after the 1975 opening of the Superdome, Retif was instrumental in staging a baseball exhibition between the Yankees and Red Sox, with proceeds going to Grambling State and Christian Brothers School in New Orleans. He was the cornerstone of a push to raise funds for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame earlier this century, helping organize support in New Orleans from civic and business leaders.