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MOUNT PROSPECT, ILLINOIS (September 13, 2016) – Two pioneers in the sporting goods industry will be inducted as the 2017 class of the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame. Larry Aasheim of Universal Athletic and Kevin Plank of Under Armour will join more than 160 innovative leaders in the sporting goods industry who have received this distinguished honor. The induction will take place at the 53rd Annual NSGA Management Conference & 19th Annual Team Dealer Summit next May in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“We are pleased to induct two industry leaders who have made, and continue to make, a lasting impact on the industry,” said Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Committee Chairman, Cathy Pryor (Hibbett Sports). “Larry and Kevin embody the spirit of innovation and leadership. I look forward to presenting them this honor next May at the NSGA Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit.”
Aasheim and Plank will be honored at the Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony on the evening of Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
More about each inductee:
President (1989-2015), Universal Athletic
In 1971, fresh out of college at Montana State University and National Guard basic training, Larry Aasheim and his friend Dick Harte discussed an idea from high school business class Harte was teaching. It was a team sporting goods business that would provide athletic equipment to high schools and colleges in Montana.
With no knowledge or experience in the industry, but a passion for athletics, Aasheim and Harte set out on their new venture, and soon Universal Athletic Service was born.
Forty-five years later, that back seat startup operation has become Universal Athletic, a regional retailer and team dealer headquartered in Bozeman, Montana. Universal has 13 locations and 50 team salesmen working in 11 Midwest and Western States and has grown into one of the largest Independent Team Dealers in the country.
Aasheim, Universal’s first employee and team salesman, made the first sale for the company in 1971. He became involved in all facets of the business and in 1973 became the first stockholder in Universal. As the company grew, he took on more management duties and in 1989 Harte sold most of his stock, making Aasheim the company’s largest stockholder. He was named President and Chairman of the Board, a position he held for the next 26 years.
Aasheim was instrumental in planning and facilitating the growth of Universal. He built a work environment and culture that has attracted and helped retain the outstanding employees who continue to be the key ingredient in Universal’s success.
Founder and CEO, Under Armour
In the sweltering mid-Atlantic summer heat of 1995, Kevin Plank helped lead his teammates through grueling two-a-day workouts as special teams captain for the University of Maryland football program. Tired of changing his sweat-soaked cotton T-shirts over and over again throughout the day, he was inspired to create a better kind of T-shirt—one that could wick sweat and keep athletes cool, dry and light.
Upon graduating from Maryland in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Plank started to turn his idea into a reality and, as a result, began redefining the way athletes dress. That year, he went on a mission to find the perfect fabric—performance synthetics—and combined it with an athlete’s perfect fit—compression. What started out as one tight shirt ultimately led to the launch of Under Armour (NYSE: UA.C) as the high-performance answer to the sweat-drenched cotton dilemma.
After 20 years of outfitting athletes with the world’s most innovative performance apparel, footwear, and equipment, Plank now oversees a global company. Under Armour performance products are sold globally and are worn by athletes at all levels on playing fields, all over the world. The Under Armour Connected Fitness platform powers the world’s largest digital health and fitness community through a suite of applications: UA Record, MapMyFitness, Endomondo and MyFitnessPal. True to his vision, Plank and Under Armour are committed to empowering athletes everywhere…and they are just getting started.
About the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame
The National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) created the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame in 1955 to honor sporting goods pioneers, innovators and leaders, while recognizing and encouraging continued excellence in the industry. Since the first induction in 1956, more than 160 men and women have been inducted. Inductees for the Hall of Fame are nominated, and then selections are made by the Hall of Fame Committee, which is made up of representatives from all segments of the industry – manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers/dealers, agents and news media.
For more information on the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame, please visit www.nsga.org/halloffame.