The St. Joseph’s Academy Athletic Hall of Fame will induct its 2019 class during a special celebration on Saturday, February 9, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the new Academy Student Center. Elizabeth “Liz” Fontenot, the late Sister Ursula Harelson, CSJ ’45 and Dr. Julie Neumann ’03 will be honored.
Fontenot earned her bachelor of science in business administration from Louisiana State University in 1992 and her master’s in kinesiology in 1996. She began her career at St. Joseph’s Academy in 1998 as a member of the Health and Physical Education department. That year, she was named assistant coach of the Academy’s soccer team and served as faculty moderator of the cross country team.
Fontenot became the head soccer coach in 1999, a position she would hold until 2005. She also served as assistant track and field coach (1999 and 2002), assistant cross country coach (2000-2004) and assistant softball coach (2003-2005). She coached sixth-grade volleyball at St. Louis King of France (1998-2002) and club volleyball with Volleyball Baton Rouge (1999-2002).
Working with student-athletes in numerous sports, Liz became aware of the need to help improve their strength, stamina and performance. At a time when high school girls weren’t offered such opportunities, Liz approached the school’s administration in 2005 about establishing a strength and conditioning program. Today, SJA’s strength and conditioning program is renowned for helping young women maximize their abilities, increase physical endurance and reduce the occurrence of preventable injuries.
Sister Ursula was a Sister of St. Joseph for 71 years. Born in Baton Rouge, she graduated from St. Joseph’s Academy in 1945 and entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in New Orleans later that year. She attended Loyola University and earned a bachelor of science in education in 1960 with minors in math and chemistry. She attended Union College in New York and earned a master’s in mathematics in 1973. Sister Ursula passed away in Wichita, Kansas, on December 13, 2016, at the age of 88.
Sister Ursula began teaching primary grades at Our Lady of the Rosary School in New Orleans in 1947 and would teach for 60 years. Her last teaching assignment was at SJA from 1976 to 2007. During her six decades in the classroom, Sister Ursula quite literally touched the lives of thousands of students.
Sister Ursula’s love of her students extended beyond the classroom. She was a fixture at SJA sporting events, lending her support and encouragement to her beloved Redstickers. Each year, the SJA Athletic Department honors Sister Ursula’s memory by bestowing the Sister Ursula Harelson Award upon an outstanding senior student-athlete who is hard-working, selfless, competitive yet humble.
Neumann was an outstanding four-sport athlete at St. Joseph’s Academy. She played volleyball, soccer and softball and was a member of the swim team. After a decorated senior season on the soccer team – including being named to First-Team All-State – Neumann was offered an athletic scholarship to Louisiana State University. She would earn four varsity letters and was named the winner of the 2006 Wally Pontiff Jr. Academic Excellence Award.
After graduating from LSU with a degree in biology, Neumann turned her attention to achieving her professional goal of becoming a doctor. She graduated with Upper Division Honors Distinction from the LSU Honors College and was selected for Leadership LSU. She earned her medical degree at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and completed her residency at Duke University Medical Center, where she received the 2016 Award for Excellence in Orthopaedic Research. At Duke, she was a member of the medical team for the 2015 men’s basketball team which won the national championship.
Neumann completed her first fellowship in sports medicine at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, where she helped care for the Rams, Kings, Dodgers and Sparks. She completed an additional yearlong fellowship in foot and ankle at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Today, she is back home in Baton Rouge, practicing at the Bone & Joint Clinic. Her areas of expertise include shoulder, elbow, knee, ankle and foot.
Tickets to the SJA Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony are $35 and can be purchased online at www.sjahalloffame.org
or by sending a check, payable to the St. Joseph’s Academy Athletic Hall of Fame, to 3015 Broussard Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70808.
Reservation deadline is Wednesday, January 30. For additional information, please contact Wendy Coniglio at firstname.lastname@example.org or (225) 388-2336.