Norm Cates (Club Insider photo)

Rome native Cates to be honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

Published Apr 30, 2017 at 9:00am

Rome native Norm Cates has been named the recipient of Club Industry’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Cates will be honored for his career accomplishments during the Club Industry Show on
Oct. 5 at the Hilton Chicago, the organization has announced.

Cates is the the publisher of Club Insider, a monthly tabloid for health club operators which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2018. He is a former health club owner and co-founder and first president of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA).

Now a resident of Georgia, Cates is a 1964 Rome Free Academy graduate who was a standout high school athlete before going on to be an All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team football offensive guard at North Carolina State. He was inducted into the Rome Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.

Cates will be the 15th recipient of the Club Industry’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Among the previous nominees was Jack LaLanne, the former health club owner and early television fitness pioneer.

“Club Industry is honored to award Norm the Lifetime Achievement Award as he epitomizes what the award represents,” said Marty McCallen, managing director and brand manager for Club Industry, in a press release.

“The real winner is our industry because it has had Norm as one of its leaders,” McCallen said of Cates.

For over 40 years, Cates has served in various capacities in the health and fitness industry. In 1976, he helped create a group of racquetball-oriented clubs called CourtSouth.

Over time, the clubs, which were in Atlanta and the Southeast, were reconfigured into multisport facilities.

Cates served as president of the National Court Clubs Association in 1980 before that association combined with another to become the International Racquet Sportsclub Association (IRSA), a group that he co-founded.

He served as that group’s first president in 1981. IRSA eventually became the IHRSA, according to the announcement from Club Industry.

In 1993, Cates started Club Insider. Justin Cates, Norm’s son, is the assistant publisher.

Cates received the inaugural Dale Dibble Distinguished Service Award from IHRSA in 2001.

Cates will be presented with his Lifetime Achievement Award on Oct. 5 at 8:45 a.m. prior to the keynote address of the Club Industry Show which is scheduled to run Oct. 4-6.

The keynote address will be given by Nick Sarillo of Nick’s Pizza and Pub.

Rick Caro, president of New York-based health club consulting company Management Vision, is a longtime associate and friend of Cates. He said that Club Insider featured a lot of clubs that no one knew about and highlighted many unsung heroes in the industry.

Caro said. “He was known for ‘telling it like it is.’” Caro added, “He is full of passion about the industry. In fact, many say that he ‘bleeds the health club industry.’”

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