The St. Joseph’s Academy Athletic Hall of Fame will induct its 2020 class during a special celebration on Saturday, February 8, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Academy Student Center. Linda McCall McCann ’61, Kathy Saichuk and Stephanie Dellocono Osorno ’06 will be honored.
Linda McCall McCann was born on her dad’s birthday, so it was only natural that he put a ball in her hands at a very young age. Robert McCall dreamed that his daughter would become “a world-famous athlete.”
As Linda grew older, Robert saw signs of natural athletic skill. When Linda was 10, Robert decided to let her pitch batting practice to his Little League baseball team. To his delight, none of the boys could hit her pitches. To his dismay, his request that she be allowed to play on his team was met with a resounding no.
Undeterred, Robert took up coaching girls’ basketball, and Linda was his star player. So impressive were her skills that as an eighth grader, when her BREC team played a practice game against SJA, she caught the eye of Redstickers’ coach Sister Alice Marie McMurdo. Sister Alice Marie approached Robert and asked him to enroll Linda for the following year. Thus began a four-year career that put Redsticker basketball – the only organized sport of that era – on the map.
As a forward playing “3 and 3 rules,” Linda led the team in scoring in 1958, ’59, ’60 and ’61. She was named the Outstanding Offensive Player and to the All-Star team in every tournament played.
In her senior season, Linda averaged 38 points per game. She set a Baton Rouge-area record for most points scored in a game, 52, which stood until broken by Seimone Augustus of Capitol High School. Seimone would go on to star for the LSU Lady Tigers basketball team and was the first overall pick in the 2006 WNBA draft by the Minnesota Lynx.
Linda also played intramural softball and volleyball at SJA, as well as on CYO and independent softball and basketball teams in the Baton Rouge area.
Away from sports, Linda enjoyed music. She sang in SJA’s choir all four years, and she and her brother, Bobby, formed a rock band and won numerous awards, including top prize in the Battle of the Bands three years running. Today, a spare bedroom in Linda’s house contains a full set of drums and a piano keyboard synthesizer.
After graduating from SJA in 1961, Linda went to beauty school and earned an instructor’s certification. She enjoyed teaching and began to consider a career in education. She enrolled at LSU, earning degrees in English and health and physical education. She also joined the Golden Band from Tiger Land and played intramural softball, volleyball and basketball.
Linda began her education career at Woodlawn High School and would teach and coach in East Baton Rouge Parish for 21 years. She also helped establish an interscholastic athletic league for junior high and middle school students.
During her teaching and coaching career, Linda discovered that her students were comfortable talking with her about their problems. She decided to return to school and earned a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Southeastern Louisiana University. She worked in the SLU Counseling Center and as a guidance counselor in East Baton Rouge Parish schools from 1993 until she retired in 2017. Since then, she has worked for Baton Rouge diocesan schools in various capacities.
Linda and her late husband, John, have two children, Chad and Nicki, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Linda’s oldest granddaughter, Taylor, is following in her grandmother’s footsteps. Taylor is a standout softball player at Mandeville High School and recently signed a national letter of intent to play for the University of Memphis. To honor her grandmother, Taylor wears her number 14.
Linda is a longtime parishioner of Our Lady of Mercy, where she is a Eucharistic minister.
Kathryn “Kathy” Saichuk was raised on the family farm in Lewisburg, near Opelousas, with her four siblings. She loved being outdoors, competing with her brothers and, most of all, winning.
Kathy learned at an early age that being tough and smart were keys to surviving raucous games of Kick the Can with the boys from nearby farms, having hay bales dropped on her head and shenanigans such as being put onto the back of a “tame pony” only to be lofted into the air and landing unceremoniously amidst great laughter.
Her grandparents provided gentle guidance and instilled in her a deep commitment to her Catholic faith. Every night before bedtime, the family prayed the rosary on their knees. Kathy’s mother provided a stern hand and taught her that once she committed to something, quitting wasn’t an option.
In fifth grade, Kathy enjoyed her first taste of organized athletics, beginning a lifelong love affair with sports. She was an outstanding athlete at Hanson Memorial High School in Franklin and was a standout basketball player at what’s now known as the University of Louisiana Lafayette, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in health, physical education, recreation and safety in 1974. She earned a master’s degree in administration and supervision with an emphasis in exercise physiology in 1976 and continued her education at Nicholls State University and Louisiana State University with coursework in the field of health and wellness.
Kathy spent the first 22 years of her career as a health, physical education and/or English teacher at the high school and collegiate levels. She also coached basketball, volleyball and tennis. In 1987, her journey brought her to Baton Rouge and St. Joseph’s Academy.
Her love of running and experience in 5K races and marathons allowed her to take the SJA cross country team to the next level. Her teams dominated parish meets and consistently finished as champion or runner-up in the state meet. The SJA Invitational became one of the largest cross country meets in Louisiana, with nearly 100 teams and thousands of runners each year.
Kathy also coached SJA’s track and field team, leading the Redstickers to numerous district and regional championships and consistently sending a contingency of athletes to participate in the Louisiana State High School Track and Field Championships. Several athletes would bring home state titles. Many of Kathy’s cross country and track and field athletes would compete at the collegiate level.
During the first several years of her time at SJA, Kathy also served as assistant basketball coach, working with Janie Sarradet. But when she was named SJA’s athletic director in 1988, she stepped away from the basketball program to concentrate on her new administrative role. She continued to coach cross country and track and field.
During Kathy’s tenure as athletic director, the program enjoyed great expansion in a variety of areas. New athletic teams and programs were added, new events were established by each sport, top-tier coaches were hired and the Seafood Supper fundraiser was launched to enable the department to purchase first-class equipment, uniforms and travel attire. Additionally, the SJA cheerleading program became a nationally competitive squad.
Today, Kathy is the assistant director of Wellness & Health Promotion at the LSU Student Health Center. She works to educate students on a variety of health-related topics, including alcohol and substance abuse, sexual assault prevention, nutrition and fitness, personal safety, stress reduction and time management.
Away from work, Kathy remains an avid sports fan and admits that her competitive fire occasionally results in “over the top” reactions when watching sporting events. Her dogs have been known to go into hiding. Kathy also loves the outdoors and being active. A lifelong learner, Kathy enjoys reading and spends her downtime researching health and science issues.
The daughter of a professional football player, Stephanie Dellocono Osorno grew up playing sports. From swimming and softball to tennis and track and field, this 2006 St. Joseph’s Academy graduate loved to compete and win.
When she was 9 years old, Stephanie’s mother, who played in a tennis league, enrolled Stephanie and younger sister Holly in tennis lessons. By the age of 11, Stephanie was playing in tournaments around the city, making a name for herself as a talented young athlete with a big backhand.
When it came time to choose a high school, Stephanie followed in the footsteps of her grandmother, Saundra Samaha Dellocono, a 1956 graduate who played sports at SJA. As a freshman at SJA, Stephanie captured the LHSAA Division I Region II singles championship and qualified for the state tournament, where she finished as the Class 5A runner up. She was named to the All-Metro and All-District teams.
As a sophomore, Stephanie was the regional singles champion for the second consecutive year and finished second in the state tournament. She ended the 2004 season with a 13-2 record and was again named to the All-Metro and All-District teams. She was also honored as the Star of Stars for Tennis by the Baton Rouge Advocate.
Heading into her junior year, Stephanie was among the local athletes featured in WVLA-TV 33’s two-week series entitled Rising Stars. Talented high school students from the Baton Rouge area were interviewed about their accomplishments and future goals. Unfortunately, the pre-season publicity couldn’t predict that Stephanie would be sidelined for the year by injury.
Stephanie prepared for her senior season with resolve, determined to regain the form she displayed her first two years as a Redsticker. She would capture her third regional singles championship and led SJA to the 2006 LHSAA Division I Class 5A championship. She won her first state title with a straight-set victory in the finals. Battling the toughest draw in the tournament and food poisoning to boot, Stephanie’s grit and determination would earn her Star of Stars recognition for the second time. She was also named to the All-Metro and All-District teams for the third time.
Stephanie would post a perfect 14-0 record as a senior. She caught the eye of college recruiters from throughout the region and accepted a scholarship offer from the University of Southern Mississippi.
As a freshman in 2006-2007, Stephanie finished with a record of 28-5 (a .848 winning percentage), including a 17-match winning streak. She concluded fall play with an 11-3 singles record and a 10-4 doubles record with teammate Lauren Gutterman and was named to the Conference USA Third Team.
In her sophomore season, Stephanie had an overall record of 14-6, including a dual match record of 9-3. She recorded a 15-7 doubles record for the season, winning 12 of her first 15 matches. She was named to the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the AD Honor Roll.
Again facing injury, Stephanie was redshirted for the 2008-2009 school year. She was again named to the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the Dean’s List.
As a redshirt junior in 2009-2010, Stephanie posted a 13-15 overall record and finished the spring season with an 11-11 record that included a 11-10 record at No. 2 singles. She and Gutterman finished with a 16-7 record in doubles competition, including a perfect 4-0 conference record. She was named to the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll, President’s List and AD Honor Roll.
Stephanie concluded her USM career tied for third all-time with the most singles win at 65. She and Gutterman would record the most doubles wins in USM history with 66. She was once again named to the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the Dean’s List.
Today, Stephanie is a national recruiter for TEKsystems, an IT staffing and services company. She finds highly specialized, niche IT consultants who help clients with new implementations, migrations, upgrades and production support.
Stephanie and her husband, Chase, have two children, Harper, age 2, and Crew, 8 months. She enjoys Pilates, running and going to Saints and LSU football games.
Tickets to the St. Joseph’s Academy 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 Thursday, January 31. For additional information, please contact Wendy Coniglio at email@example.com or (225) 388-2336.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt