At its annual meeting in May, the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Committee elected two team dealers to be inducted in 2019.
The Hall of Fame Committee, an independent deliberating body comprised of retailers, team dealers, manufacturers, sales agents and media from the sporting goods industry, elected Bob Dickman, BSN Sports, Richmond, Ind., and Ronny Flowers, Athletic Supply, Inc., Odessa, Texas, to join the more than 160 retailers, team dealers, manufacturers and industry influencers who have preceded them as Hall of Fame inductees.
“Both 2019 inductees have been successful in building their respective businesses,” said Hall of Fame Committee Chairman Ken Meehan, Executive Advisor to the CEO of Dunham’s Sports. “We welcome them to the Hall of Fame and look forward to next May’s induction ceremony.”
The Hall of Fame dinner and induction will be held May 21, 2019, at Chateau Elan Winery & Resort in Braselton, Georgia, site of the 55th Annual NSGA Management Conference & 21st Annual Team Dealer Summit. Details on attending this event will be announced soon.
More about each inductee:
Bob Dickman began his career in the sporting goods industry at a very early age, at Kesslers Sport Shop in Richmond, Indiana. He followed in the footsteps of his father, Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame honoree (1995) Cliff Dickman. Cliff purchased Kesslers in 1958 from its founder, Phillip “Whitey” Kessler, after working two years for Whitey.
Cliff and his wife, Martha Jane, became the parents of eight children. Each of the children worked at Kesslers, starting as soon as they could push a broom. They all worked there through high school and college.
Bob began full time in the business in 1976, first in retail, then traveling to area schools for team sales. He was also responsible for purchasing and interaction with the company’s buying group. Cliff entered politics at that time, with brother-in-law Bob Luerman managing the business. The untimely death of Bob’s uncle in 1982 left him in charge of the company at the age of 24.
When Bob joined the business, Kesslers had sales of approximately $1 Million annually, one location, and one outside salesman. By the early 1990s the focus of the business began to shift towards a team sales platform, and less emphasis was placed on the retail side of the business. Bob guided Kesslers on a historic expansion of the team sales division that led the company to reach nine states, with 20 sales offices and 75 sales pros. In 2002, Kesslers was recognized as the largest team dealer in the country, with sales exceeding $30 Million.
In 2004, Bob and his brothers, Phil and Dan, who were partners in Kesslers, were looking to further the accelerated growth rate for the company and its 220 employees. They decided to be acquired by Collegiate Pacific, a publicly traded company in the sporting goods catalog business. Collegiate Pacific merged with Sport Supply Group to form what is now BSN Sports, one of the largest suppliers of team uniforms and equipment in the United States.
Bob Dickman served as Chairman of the NSGA Board in 2009 and 2010. He was Chairman of the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Committee from 2011-2014. Bob is currently Senior Vice President at BSN Sports.
Bob and his wife Rhonda who married in 1980 have three children and five grandchildren.
Ronny Flowers is the president of Athletic Supply, Inc., in Odessa, Texas. He was born in Guthrie, Texas in 1947. And at the urging of his high school principal and mentor, Ronny enrolled at Texas Tech. Each day, he attended class, worked two jobs and slept four hours. His jobs were cleaning buses at the bus station and feeding cows at the feed lot.
In the fall of 1967, a small school near his hometown asked him to teach and coach. He taught math (fifth grade and up), coached all boys sports (seventh grade and up) and drove the school bus. On the last day of school in 1968, he decided to finish his degree. Needing a job while at Texas Tech, he applied at T&D Sporting Goods. Although no sales job was available, he was hired to knock down a wall. After completing that task, the owners at T&D asked Ronny to be their shipping clerk. This began a 50-year career in the sporting goods industry and a 49-year marriage to his wife Pam, whom he met when she came into the store to buy a pair of socks.
He became a road salesman for T&D in 1970. Pam wasn’t too happy about the offer since she was pregnant, and Ronny was three hours short of graduation. Ronny prevailed by saying if the job didn’t work out, he would finish school.
Ronny never looked back. He embraced his new work. He rose early, stayed late, delivered equipment, started track meets and encouraged those around him.
In the late fall of 1972, a second opportunity came his way. The owners of Athletic Supply in Odessa were looking for a young roadman and offered Ronny the position. He moved with his young family to Odessa and began traveling to the oil-rich schools of West Texas. In the fall of 1973, Ronny and others bought Athletic Supply. Ronny later acquired all company stock and has led the company from $500,000 to nearly $30 million in annual sales.
Athletic Supply has 55 employees covering Texas and New Mexico. As a major part of ASB Sports Acquisition, sales are approximately $100 million. The company expects to expand from Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma to a national footprint.
Ronny served two terms on the NSGA Board of Directors from 1993-98. In 2003, he was named one of the industry’s Top 30 Team Dealers. Ronny received the Distinguished Service Award from the Texas High School Coaches Association. He was inducted into the Odessa Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Texas Football Hall of Fame in 2003. He received the Honorary Lifetime Member Award from the American Football Coaches Association in 2018.
Ronny and Pam have two sons, Tim and Ted, who are in the business.
Nominations are now being accepted for the Hall of Fame Committee to review for the 2020 induction class. Deadline for nominations is February 22, 2019. Download a nomination form at www.nsga.org/halloffame or request a nomination packet at HOF@nsga.org. Questions should be directed to Hall of Fame Committee secretary Larry Weindruch, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Sporting Goods Association has served as the leading voice for the sporting goods industry since 1929. NSGA’s mission is to support its members’ efforts to grow their business and to advocate on their behalf. NSGA develops industry research and publications, while also providing discounted business services and hosting the annual NSGA Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit. For more information about membership or NSGA’s products and services, please visit www.nsga.org.
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, an independent group made up of manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers/dealers, agents and news media from the sporting goods industry. For more information on the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame, please visit nsga.org/halloffame.