Carley McCord named 2020 Louis Bonnette Sports Media Award

FRISCO, Texas – Broadcaster Carley McCord has been named the recipient of the Southland Conference’s prestigious Louis Bonnette Sports Media Award.  The announcement was made Tuesday by Southland Conference Commissioner Tom Burnett in advance of the league’s annual football media kickoff event.

McCord served as co-host for recent Southland Football and Basketball Media Day shows on ESPN platforms, where her effervescent personality shone through in interviews with coaches and student-athletes. She also worked as a sideline reporter for a number of Southland football games on ESPN and Cox Sports Television. McCord was a member of the sports team for WDSU in New Orleans and was an in-game host for the Saints and Pelicans.

McCord is receiving the award posthumously as she was tragically killed in a plane crash in December 2019 at the age of 30. She becomes the first female recipient since the award was established in 2012.

“Carley was an accomplished broadcast professional and a great friend that will be missed by everyone in the Southland Conference,” Burnett said. “She was a very proud alum of Northwestern State, but she cared dearly for all Southland schools. That was always reflected in her diligent preparation for every telecast as she presented herself and her on-camera work always in the best manner. She is most deserving of the Bonnette Sports Media Award.”

McCord got her start in the Southland Conference as an undergraduate student Northwestern State University. The Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native was a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority and was named Miss Lady of the Bracelet in 2010 during her college days. Northwestern State established a scholarship in her name that will help fund the education of a woman wishing to pursue a career in sports journalism, like McCord.

This most recent accolade for McCord is named after longtime McNeese sports information director Louis Bonnette. It is presented annually to an individual that has made outstanding contributions in the field of sports information, print journalism, broadcasting or other media focused on the Southland Conference and/or its member institutions. The Southland’s sports information directors, athletic directors and other university personnel, and outside media executives nominate individuals for the award, and the sports information directors make the final selection.

McCord is the ninth recipient of the Bonnette Award. Previous winners include former Abilene Christian media relations administrator Lance Fleming; former sports editor and columnist for the Log Cabin Democrat newspaper (Conway, Ark.) David McCollum (2018); former Lamar play-by-play voice and TV personality Dave Hofferth (2017); Northwestern State Assistant Athletic Director and Sports Information Director Doug Ireland (2016); former Daily Sentinel (Nacogdoches, Texas) Sports Editor Kevin Gore (2015);  retired Sam Houston State Sports Information Director Paul Ridings (2014); southeast Texas sports journalist and retired Lamar Sports Information Director Rush Wood (2013).

Louis Bonnette was the first honoree in 2012. Bonnette enjoyed a storied career as the first McNeese SID, holding the position for 46 years. As SID, he boasted a national record of 516 consecutive Cowboy football games worked. He was inducted into the Southland Conference Hall of Honor in 2007 and the College Sports Information Directors of America Hall of Fame in 2009.

What Others are Saying About Carley McCord

Greg Burke, Northwestern State Director of Athletics
“I know I speak for all of us at Northwestern State, especially in the athletic department, when I say how touched we are that the Southland Conference has chosen to honor Carley McCord with this year’s Louis Bonnette Award. When I think of Carley, the word inspiring comes to mind in everything she did. If Carley wanted something, she went out and got it. It wasn’t given to her, she earned it. She worked so hard. We loved seeing her on the sidelines of NSU Demon games. You knew the mornings she woke up and knew she was covering the Demons, there was a little extra giddy-up in her step. You knew she couldn’t wait to get to Turpin Stadium or someplace else, because she’d get to see her favorite people in the world. The talent that she had, the dedication, the preparation she gave, that’s why she is so deserving of this award. Northwestern State loved Carley McCord, she loved Northwestern State and we will always love Carley McCord. We are proud of her for this honor.”

Fletcher Mackel, WDSU Sports Anchor
“I worked with Carley McCord for two years while she was with us at Channel 6. Thank you to the Southland Conference for the amazing honor you are giving her. I know she loved covering your conference, driving around the region to the schools. We miss her every day. She was such a hard worker, so passionate about sports. She knew the game, she studied the game, she studied the teams. She is an amazing person, gone too soon. She warms the hearts of many of us when she is recognized for what she did.”

Tim Rebowe, Nicholls Head Football Coach
“You know Carley was such a talented sideline reporter for the state of Louisiana – the Saints, the Pelicans and the Southland Conference. She helped tell our success stories, she celebrated our victories with us and she always, always shared that most infectious smile with everyone around. It was such a privilege to have her be part our most recent success stories in Colonel football history. She will always have a place on our sidelines and in our hearts.”

Lyn Rollins, Broadcaster
“Carley was duty bound — without exception — in each of the dozens of events we worked together.  She approached every assignment, no matter the magnitude, with eager curiosity and unfailing desire to discover a nugget that would enhance the broadcast.  Carley possessed resolve to hone her skills, and she consistently sought candid critique in an unquenchable desire to cultivate her talent.  And in a profession where fierce competition exists among announcers, Carley was incredibly generous and genuine in mentoring younger colleagues, especially females new to the business.  Most of all, Carley was a joyful teammate.  I am certain that if she were able to accept this award it would be done with sparkling eyes and an abundance of humble appreciation.”

Jay Artigues, Southeastern Louisiana Director of Athletics
“Carley McCord made a tremendous contribution during her time with the Southland Conference. Carley’s positive energy and bright personality on the sidelines of Strawberry Stadium were always infectious. Her positive impact on the Southland Conference makes her very deserving of being honored and the Louis Bonnette Award is a fitting tribute to her memory.”

Randy McIlvoy, KPRC2 Houston Sports Director
“The passing of Carley was devastating to many that knew her well.  I had the pleasure of working alongside her several times on Southland Conference events and her passion for football and broadcasting was evident.  Her preparation was excellent and she had a knack for asking the right questions at the right time. She was beloved and respected throughout Louisiana. I know her family is honored that she has been chosen as the recipient of the Louis Bonnette Award.”

Brad Laird, Northwestern State Head Football Coach
“Carley was such a big advocate for the Southland Conference. You knew her passion for the job. You knew when you showed up for a game that Carley was doing, she was showing up with smiles. She loved what she did, she loved the game of football and she loved the student-athletes. I can recall that whether it was a tough loss or a big win, Carley knew the right questions to ask and the right things to say. That is a special talent and all her special talents make her extremely deserving of the Bonnette Award.”

Doug Ireland, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Chairman & 2016 Bonnette Award recipient
“Having known Carley since her college days at Northwestern when her passion emerged for sports reporting, I am extremely proud to see this wonderful tribute to her. She loved every assignment she had in her broadcasting career and it shined through the screen as well as onto those she covered, and her colleagues. Carley took special pride in each one of her opportunities to showcase the Southland brand and was as thrilled to be on our campuses as she was working at NFL and NBA games. Being the first woman on the list of Louis Bonnette Award recipients adds even more sparkle to her shining legacy.”

Mark Slessinger, University of New Orleans Head Basketball Coach
“Carley was the rare person who never met a stranger and always left you feeling better after the visit.  Her spirit was contagious and uplifting.  To see her during her undergraduate years in Natchitoches to become one of the fixtures of our City in New Orleans was never a surprise.  I always thought she was destined for the national spotlight.  But as her fame grew she was one of the few people who I have ever seen become even more humble and gracious the more recognizable she was.  She is truly missed.”

Matthew Bonnette, McNeese Assistant AD/Athletic Communications & Son of Louis Bonnette
“Working with Carley was a delight. I always got excited when I learned Carley would be covering our game. She was a lot of fun to talk to and hang around with. Her laugh was contagious and her personality was one that you would wish for everyone. She’s greatly missed and will always be a part of our lives.”

Frank Scelfo, Southeastern Louisiana Head Football Coach
“I think that it is fitting that the Southland Conference is honoring someone who represented us in such a professional way. As we go through these uncertain times, one thing that I know for sure is that we care going to miss Carley McCord and her dynamic personality.”

Chase Fourcade, Former Nicholls Quarterback
“Carley’s impact to the game of football and the Southland Conference has been a tremendous honor to witness over my past four years playing in this league. Her passion for what she loved to do was apparent in each interview I had with her. Her knowledge and love of the game were evident by the questions she asked and her ability to provide an in-depth look into each special moment. She will be greatly missed being seen at John L. Guidry stadium each and every year.”Carley