Three Industry Leaders to be Inducted into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame
Contact: Bruce Hammond, Director, Marketing & Communications
(847) 296-6742, ext. 102
Meghan Bradley, Secretary, Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Committee
(847) 296-6742, ext. 107
MOUNT PROSPECT, ILLINOIS (August 15, 2012) – The Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Committee announces today that it has elected three industry leaders to join the 2013 Class of the Hall of Fame. The inductees, who will officially be inducted at the 2013 NSGA Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit next May, include Randy Hooper, retired president of Sports Distributors of Canada Ltd.; John Parish, Sr., retired CEO of Worth, Inc.; and Rusty Saunders, owner of Saunders Consulting.
“Each of this year’s three inductees led with passion, integrity, and most of all, a dedication to the betterment of the sporting goods industry during their illustrious careers,” stated Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Chairman, Bob Dickman (BSN SPORTS). “To honor the likes of Randy Hooper, John Parish, Sr., and Rusty Saunders with induction into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame shows that hard work and an uncompromising will to succeed are rewarded. These men are outstanding ambassadors for our industry, and I look forward to presenting them with their awards next May at the NSGA Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit.”
With the induction of these honorees, the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame will have inducted 157 of the industry’s pioneers and leaders since 1956. Hooper, Parish and Saunders will be honored the evening of Tuesday, May 7 at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
More about each inductee:
Retired President, Sports Distributors of Canada Limited
After an early career in banking, retail management and marketing, Randy Hooper became the first paid employee of Sports Distributors of Canada Limited in 1975, serving as its president for 37 years until his retirement in January 2012.
During his time leading the organization, Sports Distributors of Canada Limited grew from just a few stores to more than 200, and Hooper helped create two retail brands (Source for Sports and Source for Adventure), which were meant to develop marketing strength and efficiencies for this group of independent stores. Today, Source for Sports has more storefronts than any other sporting goods retail banner in Canada, which is a direct result of Hooper’s hard work and dedication.
Known for his motto “Service to the Max”, Hooper built the Sports Distributors of Canada Limited organization with a Corporate Office growing from one employee to a staff of 21, most of whom have been with the organization for more than 10 years. He instilled his motto in his employees, cultivating a culture of learning and growth that has benefited the members of his organization for the last 37 years.
In addition to his leadership in building Sports Distributors of Canada Limited from a business perspective, he developed a culture of the members supporting their local communities. Most store owners are active participants in their communities, serving as coaches and referees, on community boards, and more. Randy set the example, serving as a minor league football coach for many years, and setting up a fundraising program within the organization’s main office for the United Way.
Throughout his career, contributing to the betterment of the industry has been important to Randy. He served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Sporting Goods Association (CSGA) from 1979-1992 and the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) from 1992-1998. Randy also participated on the Associate Retail Members Committee of the National Snow Industries Association from 1981-1985 and on the Sir Sanford Fleming College Sporting Goods Business Advisory Committee from 1984 to 2004. He was also a recipient of the prestigious John Buckner Memorial Award of Merit from Sports Distributors of Canada Limited.
John Parish, Sr.
Retired President, CEO and Owner, Worth, Inc.
John Parish, the retired owner and CEO of Worth Sports, Inc., assumed leadership of the company in 1970, and in one decade led the company to preeminence in the bat and ball industry.
Just before taking over as owner, he led the company’s efforts to enhance its wood bat sales during 1968, and helped the company enter the aluminum bat market in 1969, seizing on opportunities each time that helped solidify the company’s leadership in the baseball and softball markets.
Parish’s commitment to innovation also showed itself in the ball market, as Worth became the industry leader during the 1970s and 1980s in polyurethane core softballs, which enhanced participation in the sport, and Reduced Injury Factor (RIF) baseballs, which reduced injuries for children.
In 1980, he took a leave of absence to successfully lead the Tennessee Department of Economic Development. During his time in that role, he attracted a record number of businesses to the state, resulting in Tennessee being the country’s #3 auto producer.
During the 1990s, Parish instituted an R&D program to develop a softball bat with a separate internal shell, which gave superior performance to single-wall bats. In two years, Worth developed and patented one of its most unique designs, the “shell” bat. These bats became a dominant market factor and propelled the company to the #1 position in the aluminum softball bat market.
He stepped away from the Worth business in 1995, and the fourth generation leadership successfully operated the business until the family sold it to K2 in 2003. Since that time, Worth has been acquired by Jarden Team Sports.
During his time as CEO, Parish served on the Board of Directors and as chairman of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, helping to create the Super Show during his time in those roles. Today, he serves on the Executive Board of the Middle Tennessee Council of the Boy Scouts of America, as the chairman of the Board for the Beechcraft Heritage Museum, and as an emeritus member of the EAA Aviation Association of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He is the co-owner of the Parish Aerodome where he is also a commercial pilot, and is the part owner/manager of Turtle River Adventure Base in NW Ontario, Canada.
Owner, Saunders Consulting
A native New Yorker, Rusty Saunders began his career on Wall Street as a pension administrator for a large bank. After three years, the college basketball player in him came back and led him into the sporting goods industry, where he spent the next 13 years working for MacGregor – Brunswick Corporation.
Saunders served as MacGregor’s east coast regional sales manager for its team division, pro golf and retail areas, as the national accounts and premium manager, and as the Vice President of Merchandising, responsible for R&D, product managers, advertising and promotions.
During his time with the company, MacGregor introduced the Nicklaus Golden Bear 3-8 iron and bag set, premium leather color baseball gloves in red, blue and green, and the MacGregor 100MH polycarb padded football helmet, which became the #2 seller in a market dominated by a non-padded helmet. In addition, he directed the advisory staff for product development, promotions and personal appearances for many greats in football (Unitas, Namath and Ditka), golf (Nicklaus, Watson and Weiskopf) and baseball (Aaron, Rose and Frank Robinson). He was recognized four times as MacGregor’s leading sales producer and product developer.
Saunders spent the next years of his career as executive vice president and COO of two regional retail chains owned by Recreation Products Retailing – Brendamour’s and Hollywood Sports Plaza. He took both chains with long heritages, but financial trouble, to profitability.
He then started the Saunders & Associates Sales Agency, where he spent the next 19 years of his career. The agency covered five Midwest states, and was named the Sales Agency of the Year twice for Brooks. Saunders himself was named the Brooks Salesman of the Year on three occasions, and he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sporting Goods Agents Association.
During his retirement, Saunders has certainly kept busy. He served as a 12-year member of the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Committee, was a founding partner of SportsOneSource, was a moderator of Coach and Connect, serves on the advisory board for Implus Corp., is a founder of Get in the Game Careers, and is a long-time moderator of the NSGA Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit.
The National Sporting Goods Association has served as the leading voice for the sporting goods industry since 1929. The association develops industry research and publications, while also providing discounted services and hosting the annual NSGA Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit. All of these services are aimed at helping NSGA members be more profitable and to advocate on their behalf.
For more information about membership or NSGA’s products and services, please visit www.nsga.org.