The NSGA Sporting Goods Industry Hall Of Fame committee elected the Class of 2023 at its annual meeting in May. The honorees include Glenn Barrett, OrthoLite; Cathy Pryor, Hibbett Sports; Karsten Solheim, Ping Golf; and Mike Thompson, Rawlings. They join over 180 retailers, team dealers, manufacturers, and industry influencers who have been honored into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame since the NSGA founded the honors in 1955.“The Class of 2024 is a tremendous group of inductees who made great contributions to the industry,” said Pat Donnelley, chairman of the NSGA Board of Directors. “Welcoming them to the Hall of Fame is a real thrill, and it’s great to see them recognized and honored for what they have accomplished.”

The Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony will be held May 21, 2024, at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix, AZ, and where the NSGA will hold its 2024 leadership event. Event details will be announced soon.


Glenn Barrett, Ortholite
Footwear entrepreneur Glenn Barrett revolutionized that segment of the sporting goods industry. A shoe gains most of the attention from the outside, but OrthoLite, which Barrett founded in 1997, focuses on the inside and the importance of comfort and performance.

Barrett introduced a new open-cell PU foam insole technology that led OrthoLite to become recognized as a leader in branded footwear component technologies. OrthoLite partners with over 500 leading footwear brands, including Adidas, Asics, Timberland, and Under Armour, to elevate their footwear’s comfort, performance and sustainability.

Ortholite’s products can be found in more than 600 million pairs of footwear a year. Because OrthoLite is U.S.-owned and operated and has production facilities in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Spain, India, and Brazil, it works alongside its brand partners, where they manufacture shoes.

Barrett is a longtime supporter and member since 1980 of the non-profit Two Ten Footwear Foundation, a national organization that helps people in the footwear industry with professional development and assistance through hardships or crises. In 2022, Barrett received the A.A. Bloom Award, named after one of the founders of Two Ten, honoring an individual who has given greatly to Two Ten through initiatives, hard work, dedication, and unselfish actions.


Cathy Pryor, Hibbett Sports
Cathy Pryor took the lessons she learned as a Division I scholarship volleyball player at Clemson University and applied them in a different sporting realm. Her leadership as Hibbett Sports’ SVP of store operations was instrumental in the company’s growth from 28 stores to more than 1,000 and $1 billion in sales in her 32 years with the company.

Pryor joins retired President and Chairman Emeritus Mickey Newsome as Hall of Famers from Hibbett.

Pryor started her career in the industry in 1985 at Robby’s Sports in Florida as a store manager and district manager. She was with Hibbett from 1988-2020 and worked her way up the ladder as a district manager, director and vice president of store operations before her final position as senior vice president of store operations and executive officer of the publicly-traded Hibbett Sports.

Cathy served the industry for eight years on the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) Board of Directors and was its first female Board Chair from 2019-20. She also served for more than a decade on the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Committee., serving as chair before rotating off to the NSGA Board.

Pryor was named the Sporting Goods Woman of the Year in 1998, won the 2016 Retail Innovator Award by Retail Touch Points and was named one of Birmingham, Alabama’s Top Business Women in 2007. She hired, directed and developed a team of six regional vice presidents and 69 district managers who had an average tenure of 10-plus years at Hibbett. She advanced the employee culture based on the customers’ in-store experience and helped grow Hibbett’s e-commerce business channel.  She also advanced in-house video production for employee education and training and formalized industry-leading employee training programs. Her understanding of store operations, visual merchandising, and commitment to operational excellence are key components to Pryor’s success in the industry.


Karsten Solheim, Ping Golf
Frustration fueled Karsten Solheim’s innovation of golf equipment. Solheim, who passed away in 2000, didn’t start playing golf until he was 42 but he immediately fell in love with the sport. Golf became a love-hate relationship with his struggle to improve his game (he achieved a low handicap of 5) so he began looking to use his engineering skills to design clubs and enhance the game. A putter developed in his garage that made a distinctive “ping” sound was just the beginning as he founded Karsten Manufacturing and began production of Ping Golf Equipment.

Solheim was born in Norway and he was two years old when his family moved to Seattle. In 1953 he joined General Electric as a mechanical engineer and helped design the “rabbit ears” antenna on GE’s first portable TVs. Once he founded his manufacturing company he turned his focus to golf and altering the blade putter made famous by the legendary Arnold Palmer in the 1960s. Solheim was looking for a name for the putter and his wife Louise suggested using the word answer without the letter W. The “Anser” putter became the most popular in the game. Solheim’s Ping Eye2 irons became the dominant irons on the pro tour in the 1980s and he sponsored the Solheim Cup, which is the women’s version of the Ryder Cup.

Solheim won numerous honors and awards as he was twice a guest at the White House, received the Patty Berg Award for contributions to women’s golf (1991), received the Ernie Sabayrac Award from PGA of America for lifetime contributions to the golf industry (1996) and is a member of the PGA of America’s Hall of Fame. He is also the only golf equipment manufacturer in the World Golf of Fame, as he was inducted posthumously in 2001. His sons John, Allan and Karsten Louis all worked for the company and his daughter Sandra was a sales rep in South Dakota.


Mike Thompson, Rawlings
One could use the phrase “fits like a glove” to describe Mike Thompson’s 40-year career at Rawlings, the number one baseball brand worldwide and glove choice of more MLB pros than all other brands combined. Thompson’s rise from sales representative in Southern California, to the global vice president of sales, and now his current position of chief marketing officer at Rawlings, has also fueled the brand’s growth with Major League Baseball and many other organizations in the sport.

Thompson’s honesty, approachability and friendships in the industry have earned him a tremendous level of respect. He has held a variety of sales and marketing-related roles at Rawlings, and in recent years, he spearheaded the creation and management of both the sports and digital marketing departments at the company.

Thompson devotes the same energy to working with professional advisory endorsers such as MLB stars Aaron Judge, Nolan Arenado and Francisco Lindor as he does with Minor League Baseball, the NCAA and youth organizations like Perfect Game USA, Little League, Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken and Pony Baseball.

Thompson has received numerous industry awards and earned several honors in the sports business community. He was named one of the “Twenty-One Top Leaders for the 21st Century in Sports” by Sports Trend Magazine, received the ABCA’s “Meritorious Service Award,” the “Fan For Life Award” for supporting prostate cancer awareness, the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from Men’s Senior League Baseball and the “President’s Award” for his work with Youth Basketball of America. Thompson has also served on the Board of Directors for the St. Louis Sports Commission since 2017.

Some of Thompson’s most notable career achievements include leading contract negotiations to extend Rawlings’ presence at all levels of the game, “from Little League to the Big Leagues.” During his tenure, Thompson’s strong industry relationships and deep-rooted baseball knowledge successfully enabled Rawlings to be named as the glove and base of MLB, in addition to continuing as the official baseball and helmet. Thompson has also been instrumental in growing the Rawlings’ brand at the amateur and youth levels of both baseball and softball.

Photos courtesy NSGA