SBD/July 19, 2011/People and Pop Culture

Benson Again Tops List Of Most Influential Southern Louisiana Sports Figures

Tom Benson tops most influential list for third consecutive year
Saints Owner TOM BENSON tops the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE's list of the "most powerful and influential people on the South Louisiana sports scene" for the third consecutive year. In recent years, Benson "has silenced critics by putting a winning product on the field and becoming one of the leading local philanthropists." SMG Senior VP DOUG THORNTON ranks No. 2 on the list, up five spots from last year. SMG "manages the Superdome -- which just had more than $336 million in renovations since Hurricane Katrina wrecked it in 2005 -- the adjacent New Orleans Arena and several other local sports properties." Since joining the company in '97, Thornton "has become a vital cog in the Louisiana sports landscape" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 7/17). Louisiana Stadium & Exposition District Chair RON FORMAN said Thornton is a "top asset for the state to have." Forman: "For Doug, this is not a job. It's just who Doug is. He lives sports. He goes 24 hours a day, full speed" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 7/17).

MOST INFLUENTIAL SOUTH LOUISIANA SPORTS FIGURES
RANK
INDIVIDUAL
1
Saints Owner Tom Benson
2
SMG Senior VP Doug Thornton
3
Saints QB Drew Brees
4
Hornets G Chris Paul
5
Saints coach Sean Payton
6
Saints Exec VP & GM Mickey Loomis
7
LSU football coach Les Miles
8
Hornets Chair Jac Sperling
9
Cox Sports Television VP/Regional Sports Rod Mickler
10
Allstate Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan
11
LSU AD Joe Alleva
12
Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation President & CEO Jay Cicero
13
Saints co-Owner & Exec VP Rita Benson LeBlanc
14
Saints Exec VP & CFO Dennis Lauscha
15
Hornets President Hugh Weber
16
Hornets GM Dell Demps
17
Hornets coach Monty Williams
18
LSED Chair Ron Forman
19
Tulane Univ. AD Rick Dickson
20
Tulane Dir of Sports Law Gabe Feldman
21
Fitness trainer Mackie Shilstone
22
Fitness trainer Duke Rousse
23
LSU Board of Supervisors Athletic Committee Chair Stanley Jacobs
24
LSU running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson
25
Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Wright Waters
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