The St. Bernard Sports Hall of Fame instituted the Special Recognition honor in 2008. Elphage Caillouette graduated from Chalmette High in 1974 as a four-sport letter winner in football, basketball, baseball and track and field. He received a football scholarship from Tulane University and started as running back, on the freshman team. Elphage was scheduled to start as running back as a sophomore in the fall of 1976. A tragic tubing accident took Caillouette’s life on July 11, 1976. The local chapter of the Tulane Athletic Booster Club was renamed in his honor as is Chalmette High’s most outstanding senior male athlete each year with the Elphage Caillouette Award. In 2009, your St. Bernard Sports Hall of Fame followed suit.
The 2017 Elphage Caillouette Special Recognition Award goes to the long time Owl Coach and Athletic Director, Coach “Tony” Piazza. Here is his resumé.
Coach “Tony” Piazza taught and coached for 33 years at 4 different schools, starting in 1965 until his retirement in January of 1998. He served as Athletic Director at Chalmette High School during an 8 ½ year span when Owl athletic teams won 28 district championships and three state runners-up finishes. Piazza served as the boys’ Head Track & Field Coach and Head Cross Country Coach at 2 Senior High Schools, John McDonogh and Chalmette. He was also the first ever Girls’ Head Track Coach at Chalmette. Coach Piazza spent 31 years as an assistant football coach at John McDonogh and Chalmette, 28 of which came at Chalmette High in addition to an assistant coach in basketball, golf and tennis. On a particular “Hot August Day” in 1970, Coach began his lengthy tenure at CHS. Coincidentally, this was the same time that Elphage Caillouette embarked on his unequaled Chalmette High School Sports’ accomplishments.
Also starting in 1970 until the present season, Piazza has spent 47 seasons on the sidelines of the New Orleans Saints for approximately 420 games, serving as a member of the “Chain Gang” marking crew. He has witnessed as an Official Marker at every Super Bowl that has been held at the Superdome and Tulane Stadium (10 total). In addition, he has been on the sidelines for all Saints playoff games, a Pro Bowl and the electrifying return by the Saints to the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina.
The post-Katrina return is the most outstanding game he has ever witnessed with the near deafening noise level. Coach “Tony” has also utilized his sideline expertise at games in such places as Mexico City, LSU, Nicholls State and Southern Universities. Coach Piazza has performed all positions which the sideline Chain Marking Crew officiates, but mostly as the “Down Box” marker and Penalty Reporter during his four decade plus time span. He has the second longest tenure to long-time friend and fellow retired veteran high school coach, Al Nastasi. In 2004, Coach “Tony” Piazza was selected to the Saints’ Sports Hall of Fame, receiving the Joe Gemelli Award.