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Dillard University Announces 9th Annual Billy Ray Hobley Scholarship Gala Award Recipients

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David Grubb | Dillard University

NEW ORLEANS – The Dillard University Department of Athletics has announced the winners of its 9th Annual Billy Ray Hobley Scholarship Gala.  The Gala will take place on Friday, February 17, 2017 in the atrium of the Dillard Professional Schools and Sciences Building.  Each year, Dillard Athletics in conjunction with the ASK Billy Ray Hobley Foundation recognizes individuals that have demonstrated a commitment to service to their community and representing the ideals the Billy Ray Hobley lived by.

Each year the event raises thousands of dollars for scholarships and serves as the kick off for the Allstate Sugar Bowl Bleu Devil Classic Weekend, featuring men’s and women’s basketball matchups against Dillard’s longtime crosstown rival, Xavier University.

“The Gala is an important fundraiser for student scholarships as well as a great celebration of the legacy of one of our most notable former athletes,” stated Athletic Director Kiki Baker Barnes.  “We are so proud to shine a light on these outstanding individuals who contribute so much to society and to reward some exceptional students who have shown exactly what a student-athlete should be.”

Dillard is proud to congratulate the following award recipients:

Legacy Award

The Legacy Award was created to honor former Dillard University athletes or administrators who have demonstrated excellence in their career and community. This award has been presented annually since 2011. 

Ronald Henderson, '63, was a member of the Dillard Bleu Devils men's track team from 1959 to 1963, and is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He captured Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) track and field championships in four events, including the 100, 220, 440 and 880 yard dashes, and earned a third place finish at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) championships in the 440 yard dash, making him an NAIA All-American. 

Walter Tillman, ’67, competed in both track and basketball as a player and went on to coach for his alma mater. During his career he played for three GCAC championship basketball teams and set the school record in the 440 yard intermediate hurdles during his senior year. Directly following his playing career, he spent nearly two decades on the bench as an assistant coach at Dillard, coaching basketball legends George Johnson and Billy Ray Hobley among many others.

Blue Flame of Excellence Award

The Blue Flame of Excellence award was created to honor local and national figures that have demonstrated excellence in the areas of community service and athletics. This is the second year this award is being presented.

Alvin Gentry has served as head coach for the New Orleans Pelicans since the start of the 2015-16 season. He has coached for several years in the NBA including stints with the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns, and Golden State Warriors. As an associate head coach, he helped guide the Golden State Warriors to a championship in 2015. As an assistant coach, he was part of the staff on the University of Kansas’ 1988 (NCAA) championship team under the direction of Coach Larry Brown.

Billy Ray Hobley Endowed Scholarship Recipients

The Billy Ray Hobley Endowed scholarship is awarded to a Dillard University student-athlete or athletes each year that have at least a 2.5 GPA and embody the spirit of Billy Ray Hobley.

This year's first recipient is Keona Favis, a senior basketball player from Shreveport, La., and a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete. After completing her degree in public health, Favis, ‘17, plans to attend graduate school at Life University to get her doctorate degree in Sports Chiropractic. Sports have always played an intricate role in her life. She said: “I want to pursue my career in Sport Chiropractic because I feel that it is essential to help others physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. From experience with my own injuries, I want to give back to the community by starting a showcase program for recovered athletes and try to help them achieve their dream of being a college athlete.”

This year’s second recipient is Patrick Thompson, a junior basketball player from Geismar, La., and former GCAC Men’s Basketball Freshman of the Year. After completing his degree in Engineering Physics, Thompson, ’18, knows that he has a bright future ahead of him. He said: “I want to eventually own my own petroleum business and be able to live comfortably while providing for my family.”

About Billy Ray Hobley

Billy Ray Hobley, a native of Quincy, Fla., played basketball at Dillard from 1973 to 1977. The 6’8” ball handler was known for his big plays and backboard rattling dunks. In 1975, Hobley scored 612 points in 27 games, averaging 22.6 points per contest. In the same year, Hobley was named Offensive Player of the Year.

He eventually played for the Harlem Globetrotters until 1998, an organization that averaged 250 shows per year, visiting over 120 countries.  After retiring from the Globetrotters, he returned to Dillard as an assistant men's basketball coach. In 1999, he became interim head coach. After becoming the full-time head coach of the Blue Devils in 2000, where he led the Bleu Devils to a 22-11 record and a Gulf Coast Athletic Conference championship.

On July 31, 2002, while enjoying a game of tennis, Hobley suffered a fatal heart attack. Hobley was more than a talented basketball player; through faith, focus and determination he was able to reach out to others and motivate them to be outstanding individuals. Dillard University Athletics is proud to honor Billy Ray Hobley and call him a True Champion of Character.

Ticket Information

Single Ticket Price

9th Annual Billy Ray Hobley Scholarship Gala Ticket - $125

Table Ticket Price

Tables of six (6) are available for $750. 

To purchase tickets or to make a contribution to the Billy Ray Hobley Scholarship Fund, visit For more information please call 504-816-4953.

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