Sean Payton Announced as Loyola University New Orleans' Commencement Speaker

This year’s graduates will get to hear “their own Loyola version of his locker room halftime speech.”

Sean Payton Saints
Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Retired New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton will be the keynote speaker at Loyola University's graduation ceremony this spring. The NFL legend will also receive an honorary doctor of letters degree.

"I am thrilled—and filled with more than a little hometown pride—to announce that our speaker for Commencement 2022 will be Sean Payton, head coach of the New Orleans Saints for the last sixteen seasons," Loyola University New Orleans president Tania Tetlow said in a news release.

Tetlow called Payton a "brilliant teacher who inspired excellence" and promised that this year's graduates will get to hear "their own Loyola version of his locker room halftime speech."

"As our own Loyola basketball teams reminded us this year, sometimes sports are about more than just sports. When Coach Payton first arrived in New Orleans the year after Katrina, the city was on its knees. Not only did we face years of grueling work to rebuild, but also questions about our very existence," Tetlow continued. "Under Sean Payton's leadership, the Saints helped bring our mojo back. From the very first home opener in a repaired Superdome to a Super Bowl victory in 2010, the Saints taught us how to win again. They made us believe in ourselves and our city. They brought us together like nothing else has."

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Payton's 16-year career with the New Orleans Saints included nine playoff runs, seven NFC South titles, and a Super Bowl win. The 58-year-old announced his retirement in January, but left the door open to the possibility that he might return to football one day.

"I still have a vision for doing things in football, and I'll be honest with you that might be coaching again at some point," he said in an emotional press conference. "I don't think that's this year. I think maybe in the future. But that's not where my heart is right now."

Loyola University New Orleans' undergraduate commencement ceremony is scheduled for May 14.

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