The NOTC Hall of Fame was established in 2013. The purposes of establishing a Hall of Fame include:
The eight finalists for the 2018 Hall of Fame have been identified and are listed below. Club members are invited to share their thoughts on which five of these eight individuals should be our 2018 inductees. Please provide your recommendations and opinions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike has devoted his life to running, coaching and race directing. He served on the NOTC Board of Directors as a high school student in 1968-1969 and has been an NOTC member since that time. Mike became involved with the Mardi Gras Marathon in 1979, the first year it was run across the Causeway. Mike was Expo Director, then Assistant Director and finally Race Director in 1982 for MGM. Mike has been coaching runners and involved in track for more than five decades. Mike's contributions as Board Member and organizer of races was a catalyst for NOTC's early success. Founder and Director of The Jazz Half Marathon for Children's Hospital for three years. This year in 2018, Mike received Louisiana High School Track & Field Coach's Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
Janet has been a runner for 40 years inspiring others and representing the spirit of running by contributing to the success of both NOTC and CTC. She is a founding member of the Chalmette Track Club (CTC) and has been part of the continued success of these clubs and an inspiration to others through both her volunteerism and through her continued running successes today. NOTC Board of Directors in 1985-1986. Founding member of CTC. Serving for several years on the CTC Board of Directors. CTC named an annual race called The Janet Earhart Cross Country Championship after her for her service to the club. Janet was selected by the Tchoupitoulas Social Aid and Athletic Club to receive the "Spirit of Running" award presented by the Slack Track Club. Assisted with production of Mardi Gras Marathon that almost wasn't with the help of the Chalmette Track Club. Volunteer with registration race results and handled sales of NOTC merchandise during her time on the Board of Directors. NOTC Open Women's Team Member and volunteer race director for Singlet Series of Races. Louisiana Lightning Track Team 1983. As a Senior runner, Janet has set the following Mississippi age group records:
Juan Perez was one of the top Masters and Grand Masters runners in one of the toughest Masters and Grandmasters fields in the history of the club. As he and his competitors aged, they made each new level the toughest age-group bracket in club races. He traded victories with such luminaries as Brendan Minihan Sr., Don Wright, Bill Leach, Tom Hopkins, Desmond O'Connor and more. Juan has always been a fierce competitor who loved winning and making his opponents suffer, but he has always demonstrated good sportsmanship and respect for his opponents and carries himself with integrity. A construction worker and cement engineer by trade and kickboxer in recreation, Juan has never been afraid of hard work. That shows in his racing. Juan added depth to a field of Masters, Grandmasters, and now Senior runners in the community that maintains racing and competition as one of the pillars of the track club. He has pushed his competitors and inspired younger generations to work hard and strive for speed and victory. In 1987, at age 45 he ran a 17:14 5K at the Gumbo Fest. In 2002, at age 58, he ran an 18:22 at Run through History. In 2017, at age 72, he ran a 23:54 at Al Briede. As well known for his black socks and awesome cars as for his racing speed, Juan is one of the most recognizable and admired runners in the area.
Bobby Sahuque was a pioneer of distance running in the greater New Orleans area. Bobby was a charter member of the New Orleans Track Club. In 1968 as a junior at Redemptorist Sahuque won the handicap championship of the Jackson Day race. That May he finished third in the AAA (highest classification) mile at the state track meet, running a record for a New Orleans area prep runner (4:20.1). An article in the Times-Picayune mentions that he had been doing a program of two-a-day workouts for nine months, dropping his time from 4:50. In June, 1968, he ran a 4:20 mile at the Southeastern Junior championships in Atlanta. In September, Bobby finished second in an NOTC 5 mile race in 25:48, losing to Billy Wick (24:52), who was perhaps the best area runner at that time. In the Dec 29 Sugar Bowl track meet, McKinnon of Fair Park nipped him in the high school mile race. Bobby ran 4:19.6. He ran Jackson Day in 28:03. March 9, 1969, Bobby finally beats McKinnon with a 4:13.5, the fastest outdoor mile in the United States by a high school athlete that year, and the third fastest time in Louisiana prep history. On May 9, 1969, Bobby ran a 4:08.4 mile, the first runner from the South to break 4:10 for the mile. He won the 880 and the mile in meet record times a week later at the Meet of Champions (1:55/4:17). The events were 33 minutes apart. Later in May, Bobby won the SAAU mile in 4:20. Dillard's Zach Winnfield was second in 4:31. A Louisiana State Champion, he was invited to the Golden West Invitational where he would race with the legendary Steve Prefontaine. Sahuque finished third in the Golden West meet and was named high school all-American by Scholastic Magazine. (Was nursing a sore Achilles after Meet of Champions.) Named NOLA area amateur athlete of the year for 1969 by NOAC. Bobby went on to a collegiate career at Tulane. He ran 4:07.24 for the mile in 1973, his best collegiate time.
Since the early 1990's Bryan Smith has been one of the premier runners in the NOTC. He has run 50 marathons with an average time of 2:49:52. Bryan has won overall in 13 marathons, and has placed first, second or third in 39 of the 50. Bryan holds the record for the most Pelicanman duathlon wins (11) and Barathon wins (6), along with a Barathon course record. From the mid 1990's to the mid 2010's it is rare to find a race where Bryan didn't win overall or age group. Bryan's personal running accomplishments are impressive, but equally impressive is how he has always enthusiastically provided coaching and running advice to anyone who has an interest in running. Bryan's coaching, speed work, and discipline advanced the performance of such notable runners as Billie Sloss, Brandon Wingate, and Brendan Minihan; labeled by some as "The Killer B's". He was also one of the organizers of the Catch 22 Racing Team. A family anecdote that supports Bryan's amazing career involves Bryan being asked by a friend of his future father-in-law what his pedigree was. Bryan responded, "Well, I win marathons." Not only marathons but every distance from 5K to the marathon.
Carleton Smith is a well known and easily recognized member of the NOTC, often manning the microphone at NOTC events. For over 30 years Carleton has contributed as an NOTC Board Member, volunteer, and competitive runner. Carleton placed eighth in the 60-65 age group at the Boston Marathon in 2007 with a time of 3:20. He was the NOTC Road Runner of the Year in 1993 and has been in the top 100 at the Crescent City Classic seven times. His personal best in the 5K is 15:28, in the 10K 32:14, the half-marathon 1:14 and the marathon 2:37.
Leonard Vergunst has logged over 1100 races, both running and multisport, over a 30 plus year career, winning over 200 of them. Leonard has finished 70 Marathons with 65 under 3 hours. He ran 2:36:23 at Boston in 1998 at age 42 and won his age group at the Marine Corp Marathon at ages 55 & 60. Leonard finished 2nd at Mardi Gras Marathon twice, in 1998 & 2005, (2:40:46 at age 49). In addition to a tremendous athletic career where he has remained at the very top of his age group continuing into his 60's, it can be argued that his service to the running community and his local community eclipses this. An NOTC member going back nearly 25 years and after joining the Gulf Coast Running Club in 1988, he became the GCRC race director in 1993 and has served in that role for 25 years. GCRC is an all volunteer, non-profit organization producing 25 to 30 events a year including some multisport races. As Race Director for the GCRC's signature event, the Stennis Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K, 20 years ago, he was responsible for moving that race to its current iconic, nearly traffic free location at the Stennis Space Center. Leonard certifies all the GCRC courses as well as certifying courses for other organizations.
In addition to his service to the running community he is a Bible leader at his church.
Pam Williams has had three running careers, with her best performances coming in her third career. Originally from Schenectady, N.Y., Williams ran track at Courtland University where she had personal bests of 2 minutes, 11 seconds in the half-mile and 57.7 in the quarter-mile. From 1982 to 1985 Williams often found herself in the winners circle. She bettered five minutes in the mile and ran five kilometers in 17 minutes. Pam came back to running at 38 and became one of the best female Master runners in the NOTC. Throughout her forties and fifties Pam dominated female Master running in the New Orleans area. Pam was named the best overall female runner in the 40th anniversary edition of Footprints.
The 2017 Hall of Fame inductees were introduced at the NOTC 54rd Anniversary Race on August 13, 2017.
J. Roger Brown Jr. is a staple and fixture in our running community. He is someone that our members and the local runners in the area truly respect and look up to not only because of his consistent and high-level performance as an athlete over the years, but also his good-hearted and genuine nature as a person.
Phil Gioia is recognized in the NOTC community as the driving force behind the Chalmette Track Club. Many young, developing Chalmette area runners benefited from Phil's promotion of running in St. Bernard Parish. Phil was one of the primary people keeping the Chalmette Track Club alive after the devastation suffered by that area from Hurricane Katrina. Phil is an avid runner, and has completed the last thirty-four Mardi Gras/Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans Marathons in a row. The old record was twenty-six. Phil is recognized annually as one of very few men who have completed all the Spillway Classic Races.
Mark Marley competed in NOTC races from 1965 to 2000. At distances from two miles to 50k he won or placed well. At Jesuit High, he won district championships in the 880 and the mile and set the school record in the mile. At Tulane he ran track and cross country and received the Forest T. Oakes Award (Most Inspirational). From 1970 to 2000 he ran over thirty marathons, two of which he won. For twenty-three years he coached middle school track and cross country. Several of his boys and girls went on to outstanding high school careers.
Brendan Minihan Sr. ran track and cross country on scholarship at Louisiana Tech University for legendary Coach Jim Mize between 1964 and 1968. After graduation, he moved to New Orleans and eventually became part of the local "running boom" that our club's founders started in the 1970s. Brendan continued running NOTC events into the 1980's and 1990's, running a 16:40 for the 5K and a 34:08 for the 10K, as a Master’s competitor. Brendan served on the NOTC Board as Treasurer.
Jenni Peters is one of the greatest runners to perform, win and set records in road and track races in New Orleans history. She parlayed a successful elite running career into a business and marketing professional career that led to the opening of Varsity Sports, Baton Rouge in 2000. She has since opened Varsity Sports stores in Mandeville in 2007, New Orleans in 2010 and Metairie in 2017. If her personal running career was not inspiration enough to a generation of runners, her professional commitment to running in south Louisiana has aided in the popularity and explosion of a modern running boom.
The 2016 Hall of Fame inductees were introduced at the NOTC 53rd Anniversary Race on August 14, 2016.
Ruby Chaney has been an inspiration to multiple generations of racewalkers in the New Orleans Track Club. In the 1990's Ruby was regularly winning the racewalker division in her age category, winning the Grand Prix Master's Division Racewalker in 1991 and Grand Prix Grandmaster's Racewalker title in 1997 and 1998. Ruby then turned her attention to volunteering and judging the racewalk category in both NOTC and other events. As a USATF Master's level certified official, the highest level of official certification, she judges racewalking events for youth, open and masters track events as well as area track club races nationally and officiates for International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) meets and events. Among her national acclaim, Ruby was in charge of the racewalk officials for the 1992 Olympic Trials, judged multiple national AAU Jr. Olympic Games, and still judges for the Louisiana Governor's Games. Ruby's admirers claim her greatest achievement has been inspiring, coaching and mentoring race walkers and promoting the sport of racewalking in New Orleans for decades.
Rick Lusky was a three-term president and five term board member who modernized the track club with computer scoring and results reporting. He helped create the Road Runner of the Year competition, which evolved into the Grand Prix Series, and his leadership helped start Celebration in Oaks, the Greek Fest 5k and the Spillway Classic.
Rick's experience with computers and his work in financial management brought the club financial security and sustainability. Thanks to Rick's management, the club's membership more than doubled during his presidency. During his tenure, the New Orleans Race Walkers organization merged with the NOTC, and race walkers were given a voice as a member of the board of directors.
Rick remained a supporter and volunteer for the club for many years, even as he put together the Crescent City Fitness Foundation that purchased the Crescent City Classic. He directed the race until his untimely death in 2012. As director of one of the premier 10k road races in America, he saw to it that the NOTC had a visible place at the event.
Kent McDonald's running achievements rank among the best of the greatest runners in New Orleans and NOTC history. From 1976 to 1989, when the Exxon-Mobil merger moved him out of town, Kent won 35 of 41 races, setting course records in several marquee club races over the years from 5k to marathon. He holds the co-record for the Jackson Day race, one of the oldest races in the South, and was one of the top Americans in the Crescent City Classic in 1982. As a collegiate runner, he set the steeple chase record at Kansas University and represented the USA as an All-American in track meets in the Soviet Union. Later in his career, he competed in three Ironman events in Hawaii and represented USA in triathlons in Switzerland and Sweden.
J.J. has been of invaluable service to the club for decades. Whether in charge of equipment maintenance, running the timing/scoring system, or as Spillway Classic race director and sponsor, he has selflessly contributed a tremendous amount of time and talent to the NOTC. He has served as Vice President, elected board member for multiple years, Footprints editor, and, known as a competitive duathlete, he has also had a successful running career with the club. Under his guidance, the club transitioned to computerized results and chip timing. He continues to this day to be one of our most hardworking and loyal NOTC members, and his character displays nothing but respect, friendship and camaraderie for fellow runners and club members.
Always an outstanding age-group road racer, Charlie moved to the track in the 1980's and up to the present day has been a national and even world class age group runner. Charlie's track records and outstanding performances are too numerous to list here. He has been National Master's Indoor Track and Outdoor Track champion in multiple events from age 48 to 80. He was a member of the national championship 10k team in 1991 and set American age-group records in the mile, two-mile and as a member on indoor 4 x 200m relay team. Inducted into the Louisiana Senior Hall of Fame in 1996, he was at one time Nike's oldest sponsored runner. Charlie also has been very helpful to aspiring young athletes, mentoring and coaching a variety of athletes, young and old, and even hosting track meets for runners to help them gain experience in competing on the oval. Charlie has helped grow the sport of track and field in Louisiana and has been an integral part of the NOTC's success in promoting running and racing for decades.
The 2015 inductees were announced at the NOTC Anniversary Race on August 15, 2015. Left to right: Billie Simmons Sloss, Alicia Sabi Courtney, Taylor Aultman, Harold Flettrich, Jr, and Carol Ory (wife of and accepting for Alceste Richard "Al" Ory).
There were many quite talented runners in the early days of the New Orleans Track Club. But when you ask the old-timers "Who was the best?", it usually evokes only two responses: the legendary Larry Fuselier, and - today's first inductee - Taylor Aultman. From the late 60's into the mid-70's Taylor dominated New Orleans road races, compiling over 40 victories in the city's most competitive races, including five consecutive wins at Jackson Day from 1972 through 1976 and wins at Turkey Day in '72 and '74. At one time, Taylor held the 6 mile record at Tulane University, where he was a four-year letterman and team captain, and he won an AAU 3 mile race in a time of 14:35. Among his best race times, he owns a 5 mile personal record of 24:10 and a marathon p.r. of 2:28. I think that you will agree, Taylor's record of road racing and track accomplishments clearly establish him as one of our all-time great NOTC runners, and that it why we have chosen Taylor Aultman for induction into our Hall of Fame.
The first woman to compete in the New Orleans Turkey Day Race was Barbara Gorrondona, who ran it in 1969. The next year, perhaps inspired by Ms. Gorrondona, there were four female competitors. One of them was 16-year old Alicia Sabi, a sophomore at Ursuline Academy. Alicia covered the 5 mile distance in a time of 31:52, but back then, everybody ran the race with an assigned handicap time, based on age and demonstrated ability. Alicia used her 12 minute handicap to earn the overall victory, beating not only the other three women, but also the 108 male runners, becoming the first female runner to ever win an NOTC race.
Over the next decade, Alicia Sabi Courtney became the first great female runner in club history, establishing a record of race victories that is unparalleled in New Orleans road racing. She was the first female champion of the Crescent City Classic in 1979, sharing the podium with Frank Shorter, and notched wins in dozens of notable New Orleans area races, including consecutive wins at Jackson Day, Turkey Day, Larry Fuselier 25k and the Ole Man River Half Marathon. Alicia Courtney easily qualifies for our hall of fame based on her running achievements, but today we also honor her important role as a trailblazer for the surge in women's running and fitness that continues to this day. We are proud to welcome Alicia Sabi Courtney to the New Orleans Track Club Hall of Fame.
A member since 1974, Harold Flettrich has been providing music and sound equipment for NOTC events for four decades. But old timers of the NOTC can tell that Harold's value to our club goes far beyond his musical contributions. As the size of races grew rapidly during the mid and late 70's, the need for consistent race planning and race day coordination became apparent.
From 1976 to 1982, Harold and his late, great friend Al Ory volunteered as "race day coordinators" for the club. They helped move NOTC events from almost informal time trials - with no course monitoring, minimal awards, no water, no food, and most significantly - no beer, to the type of races that we have today. Flettrich Audio Productions, while also servicing every CCC10k since inception, has provided music, the Star Spangled Banner, and race day announcements for generations of NOTC runners. The NOTC race day experience would not be the same without Harold. His contributions span the decades and today we are delighted to recognize them. Congratulations to the rhythm-master of the NOTC, Mr. Harold Flettrich.
The other original "race day coordinator" from 1976 until his death in 1982, was Alceste Richard Ory. Club members called Al the "water boy of New Orleans" for adding water and aid stations to many of our races. Legend holds that it was Al who introduced the idea of a free "Hump Day Fun Run" (which is in current form our summer two mile series) and the concept of a post-race party with cold adult beverages. During races Al was so inspirational to other runners he became known as "Coach Ory." Al and Harold were a team when they were our volunteer race coordinators, and it is more than fitting that they should enter our Hall of Fame together. In fond remembrance of a wonderful innovator for the club, The NOTC inducts Al Ory into our Hall of Fame.
Billie Simmons Sloss has been involved with the club, as a runner, volunteer, race director and administrator since 1981, but she may be known best as the President and Executive Director, in 2010 and 2011, who stepped up to set the club on its current positive course. Thanks to her devotion and passion for the club, the board of directors under her guidance made important decisions that preserved the Mission of the club and stabilized it for the future. She was integral in supporting and partnering with non-profits such as Youth Run NOLA and Girls on the Run. A competitive racer for over three decades, Billie also has more than her share of race day victories and age group awards, facts that simply serve to enhance her qualifications for induction. She is still an active runner and a strong supporter of the New Orleans running scene. And today, Billie Sloss can add NOTC Hall of Fame to her varied list of accomplishments and honors.
An NOTC member since the mid-1970s, Elisabeth achieved racing acclaim as a Senior runner, dominating the 60-69 age group and, over a ten year period, outpacing even younger runners in the 50-59 division. She won multiple titles, including a USATF National Championship in the outdoor 5k at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. As a 65 year-old, she won the Louisiana Master 5k Championship in 23:37, besting the top time in the nation by almost a full minute. The list of running accomplishments is long, but even it is overshadowed by her personality and selfless commitment to the club. Her contemporaries remember that she showed up early to every race, helped with registration and stayed late to help with race results and post-race clean up, setting the gold standard of dedicated volunteers the club enjoys today.
In his fourth decade of service to the NOTC, Don has served as board member, president, volunteer, chairman of numerous committees, race director and one of the best promoters the club has ever had. After joining the club in 1983, he elevated his participation as a volunteer in 1985 and then was elected to the board in 1986, serving the next fifteen years, including a term as President in 1991-1992. His committee initiated the "Road Runner of the Year Series," which later became the Grand Prix Series, and he created and directed the Metairie Runners' Beer-A-Thon in 1987. Don continues to volunteer at NOTC races and contributes his wisdom and passion for the club at board meetings and race committee meetings. He is always happy to shake hands and talk before and after NOTC races.
Charlene was not going to let her husband Don have all the fun. Of course, not only did Charlene have fun, first as a runner at NOTC events throughout the 1980s, but she turned into one of the hardest working volunteers and board members the club has known. Or, as she would tell you today, she became NOTC family. After volunteering for a decade, she was appointed to the board in 1995 as the race results coordinator. As an elected board member in the many years to follow, she served in roles such as race day registration, Footprints editor, team coordinator, nomination committee chair, secretary, vice president and served as president in 2002 through 2004. She currently serves as Volunteer and Membership Coordinator, not only making runners and walkers feel a part of our community, but she has organized the volunteer system to function seamlessly. Her efforts have led to the largest pool of dedicated volunteers in club history. Today, that NOTC family atmosphere is thriving because of Charlene.
One of only two living "lifetime members" of the NOTC and the GNORA (Greater New Orleans Running Association), George has been a cornerstone of the New Orleans running community for five decades. He served as Treasurer of the NOTC in 1974, 1975 and again in 1978, served as President in 1976 and was Marathon Chairman for the club in 1977. A New Orleans native who enjoyed sports in high school, George left a career in banking to open Southern Runner on Magazine Street in 1982, where he has been instrumental in helping the city grow as a running community. Whether he is fitting runners young and old with the right shoe or sharing his vast mental library of running lore with them, George's passion for the sport and encouragement of all runners is obvious.
The other living "lifetime member" of NOTC and GNORA, Mo Emory has served critical roles for the club through its 51 years and counting. Mo has served as president, vice-president, treasurer, and elected and appointed board member, and he was the chairman for the Mardi Gras Marathon and race director for numerous races, including the club's 50k race in 1978 and the Sugar Bowl 10k in 1979. He helped produce the club's big events early on, including the Bayou Classic 10k, the Schlitz Lite 10k, and the 20th Anniversary Run. He has been supporting the Turkey Day since the club began producing it and has been integral in the success of longer races such as the Larry Fuselier 25k. Mo even created hand-made awards for races in his wood shop. A marathoner with a 3:02 personal best, Mo could be found regularly running with the Metairie Runners, leading group runs around Metry (Pontiff) Playground or City Park from the old tennis club. Those who became close with Mo were rewarded with his homemade treats, including fudge, pepper-jelly, hot sauce and spicy bread-and-butter pickles. Even more so, the club and its members have been rewarded with his dedication to the club in tough times and good.
The inaugural Hall of Fame inductees were announced at the 50th NOTC Anniversary Race held Saturday, August 17, 2013 in City Park. The inductees were all charter members of the NOTC: Al Briede, III; Dan Fuselier; Joe Fuselier; Larry Fuselier; Cy Quinn; C.J. Mouton; John Morvant; Dan Calamari; Ed Dufour; John McMahon; Emile Dreuil; John Linehan; Dick Cochran; Richard Newcomb; Dr. Sam McNeely; Peter Salatich; Terry Turner; Dave Meister; J.D. "Sarge" Schaffer; Henry Calamari; Jerry Schoen; and Chuck Zatarain.