Simply put, William “Dean” Courtade is the most significant person in his sport in the history of the metro New Orleans area. Though he did not start bowling until he was 14, his late start would not deter him from becoming a tremendous bowler and it began a lifelong love affair with the sport and all of those who participated in the sport.
Courtade, a legend in New Orleans for over 75 years in New Orleans, was one of four standout local athletes inducted into the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame on August 5, 2017, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
In 1958, Courtade was the first bowler to average over 200 for an entire season in the State of Louisiana. He captured the Louisiana State Bowling Championship in 1960. In a time where it was rare to see 200 average players, “The Bird” had a high average of 217 while his high series was 788 which he bowled in 1965.
A member of the Professional Bowlers Association, Courtade competed on national television and was recognized nationally as an elite competitor.
He has the distinction of being the first senior to bowl a perfect 300-game on tour in a PBA senior event in 1982. For his fabulous career, Courtade was inducted into the Louisiana United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Hall of Fame.
In 2016, Courtade became the second recipient of the Lanson Chien Memorial Sportsmanship Award for his always positive attitude when bowling or when dispensing advice or congratulations to fellow bowlers. Chien, a dedicated league bowler who always had a kind word for teammates and opponents, passed away in 2015.
Courtade presided over several bowling establishments as co-owner, including Bridge Bowl, Sugar Bowl Lanes, and Sugar Bowl/Orbit Lanes. He also spent time in management at Colonial Lanes and ran the Fazzio-Courtade Pro Shop.
Courtade drilled balls for literally thousands of bowlers and provided tips and even lessons, free of charge, to many enterprising young participants in the sport.
In the final five years of his life, Courtade supported the Tulane Women’s Bowling Team in significant fashion.
Courtade has a permanent plaque honoring his brilliant career in the sport on the wall at AMF All Star Lanes in Kenner.
Still bowling in the final year of his life, it was still customary to see Courtade shooting 200 games frequently, much to the delight and amazement of far younger observers and players.
A true patriot, Courtade served his country honorably as a member of the United Sates Navy during World War II.
Courtade joins his peer and friend, Steve Dimak, Sr. in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame. Dimak, who was inducted in 2001, was perhaps the most accomplished overall bowler in New Orleans history.
While Courtade’s career was significant in accomplishment, his dedication to the sport and to its participants will always define his pure love of the game that became his lifelong devotion.
Story by Ken Trahan of the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee.