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"This room is full of difference-makers."

By RC Courtright, 11/11/17, 11:30AM CST


Dick Gulmon salutes others during his own Hall of Fame induction speech

Following is a transcript of the introduction by USA Softball and speech by Dick Gulmon during his induction into the National Softball Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Greensboro NC on Saturday, October 21, 2018....

Introduction: "At a time when the sport of softball was at a crossroads with new equipment technology, Dick Gulmon played an integral role in the Certified Equipment standards of USA Softball.  Having been involved in the game at a variety of levels, Gulmon personifies leadership through his contributions to the sport.  In addition to his playing and management of teams during his career, Gulmon has also served in a variety of leadership capacities.  Serving on the North Dakota Board of Directors and Classification Committee since 1989, Gulmon was appointed President of USA Softball of North Dakota in 1996 and became Commissioner in 2013.  At the National level, Gulmon has served on the USA Softball Board of Directors and has served on the Council for over 20 years.  Gulmon has also served on various USA Softball Committees.  His most noteworthy position is his role as Chairman of the Equipment Testing & Certification Committee, a role he has held since 2005.  In this role, Gulmon spearheads the efforts in the development of state-of-the-art bat and ball testing protocol which help level the playing field.  A great ambassador for USA Softball, Gulmon is and has been a leader of change throughout the sport of softball."

Dick Gulmon: "I think I've thought about this night every day since my name was on the screen at last year's banquet listing the USA Softball Hall of Fame Class of 2017. It's still difficult to get my arms around it. I thank God for all the blessings in my life and for this great day. I'm honored, humbled, and so grateful to stand before you tonight. I'd like to express my thanks and gratitude to the Hall of Fame committee for my selection to the USA Softball Hall of Fame and I know your decisions are most difficult. I'd like to offer my congratulations to this year's inductees, who have each had an incredible impact on the game of softball. I'd like to thank my family for being here - my wife Debbie, my daughter Chrissy, my son Nick, my daughter-in-law Chelsea, my sister Jan, and my brother-in-law Paul. Thank you for being here tonight. I'd like to thank my sponsor and great friend Mick Renneissen for nominating me for this high honor and all my softball friends who wrote some incredible letters of support. I thank you all so very much. I'd like to thank Craig Cress and his staff at the national office for all you do for our game everyday. They are indeed a great team of professionals and I appreciate the work they do for us every day.

My softball playing career spanned about 32 years with some pretty competitive teams and lots of tournaments. I even had a chance to play on the same team with my son Nick. It was indeed a special time. Our kids grew up around the softball field and we all enjoyed playing the game. Softball was deeply ingrained in our family and we all have made lifelong friends along the way. Besides playing softball, I got involved early helping run leagues, tournaments, and building facilities in our community. I was fortunate that “Tiny” Schafer, former State Commissioner of North Dakota, asked me to get involved on the state level in the mid-1980s. I was excited to get involved and make a difference in our state program. I've always thought that the purpose in life is to contribute in some way, make things better around you, and make a difference in the quality of life and quality place.

My first council meeting I attended was in Denver in 1989. I was a guest. “Tiny” Schafer just told me to listen, learn, get to know people, and build relationships. It was a great experience for me then and it continues today for this organization. Tonight, this room is full of difference makers - full of volunteers who do not necessarily always have the time, but who all have the heart to make our game better everyday; doing more than your part in a sport that we all believe in. This room is full of those volunteers and is why USA Softball is such a great organization. I so enjoy these past years making friendships, working on a number of committees, chairing a few committees, working at the national championships, and having the great honor to serve on the board of directors of the National Governing Body of Softball on 3 different occasions - opportunities that I would have never dreamed of.

I was fortunate to be named to the Equipment Standards Committee in 2002 by H Franklin Taylor. The equipment issues in those days had become a passion for me and I wanted to make a difference if I could. In 2005, President ET Colvin asked me to chair what is now the Equipment Testing and Certification Committee. It sounded like a daunting assignment, but I soon found out that tremendous people that were on this committee also had the same passion as I did for the future of the game and we’ve made such a great team. Thank you, ET, for having the confidence in me to lead this committee of professionals who have become not only my colleagues, but my great friends. The advances that we have made with equipment for the game of softball has, indeed, been a team effort.

I'm grateful for the opportunity that I've had to work with USA Softball staff on equipment issues -- people like Craig Cress, Kelly McEwen, Ron Radigonda, Jon Miller, Rich Cress, and my good friend Kevin Ryan. It also has been a pleasure for me to work with Dr. Lloyd Smith and witness how his expertise and insight into the science of the game has been invaluable to the decision-making process for the equipment committee. Partnerships also with the NCAA and the High School Federation have been extremely vital and a key to the success of our work. I'm grateful to presidents Andy Dooley, Phil Gutierrez, Joey Rich, and Warren Jones for their confidence in me to continue to chair the equipment committee and work with a dedicated group of people who work very hard everyday to follow the science and uphold the Integrity of the game. I'd like to thank my friends and peers from North Dakota who work for our program at home. Thank you, Mike Wolf, Jack Jones, and RC Courtright, for being here tonight. And to my peers in the Northern Region, I enjoy working with each of you and appreciate your support.

I've been fortunate to work on some great committees the last number years outside of equipment that have contributed so much to our game - the Long Range Planning Committee, the Player Rep Committee, the Playing Rules Committee, The Slow Pitch Committee, The Commissioners Committee, and working with members of the Northern Territory. I'm proud to have worked with each of you and call you my friends. The friendships I have made working for this game are indeed a gift to volunteerism. Two of my closest friends are with me tonight - Jon Miller and Mick Renneissen. Were it not for softball, we would have never met and the special bond that we have today would have never happened. The game of softball has given me more than I could ever return.

The important things in life are your friends, your family, and your God. I've been blessed by all of them. We all have heroes in our lives. My hero is my dad. I wish you was here the special night. He was a true American hero who passed on too early in life. I think of him often and try to uphold the things that were important to him like integrity, respect, honesty, being a man of your word, and appreciate the importance of family and friends. Today my heroes are my wife Deb, who is an amazing person and has been by my side almost 44 years. My heroes are my kids, Nick and Chrissy and my daughter-in-law Chelsea. I'm so proud of you and the people you have become. I'm proud to be your dad. My hero is my sister, Janet. We have shared so much together. It means everything that you and Paul are here tonight. We have spent a lifetime sharing our families together at the lake. Again, blessings in life.

One of my favorite quotes is from Ben Hogan and it hangs on the wall in my office: 'As you walk down the fairway of life, you must stop to smell the roses as you only get to play one round.' I feel like I’ve just played the best round of my life. I will never forget this night and how honored I feel to have received this lifetime award all made possible by the great game of softball and a lifetime of friendship. Thank you so much."

2017 National Softball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Video of the entire Hall of Fame ceremony with Dick Gulmon's induction beginning at 1:27:00.

Dick Gulmon's Hall of Fame Interview

Dick's brief video interview with USA Softball prior to the induction ceremony about what the honor means to him.