Service on the Sideline

Tulane University and the New Orleans community lost an institution of a man with the passing of Gayle Letulle in January 2022.

Illustration depicting Gayle Letulle with historic statistics for Tulane athletics.
While never in the limelight, for over five decades, Gayle Letulle (A&S ’69, L ’72) served essential roles on the sidelines — as a statistician and historian — for Tulane athletics and New Orleans professional sports teams.

Tulane University and the New Orleans community lost an institution of a man with the passing of Gayle Letulle in January 2022. He was 74.

Gayle epitomized Tulane’s motto: Non sibi, sed suis, or “not for one’s self, but for one’s own.” As an undergraduate in the mid-1960s, he answered an advertisement in the student newspaper, the Tulane Hullabaloo, looking for student workers in the Green Wave’s sports information office under the late, great Bill Curl.

“I offered to work for nothing,” Letulle said in a 2002 interview. “(Curl) couldn’t refuse that offer, I guess.”

From that day until his passing, Gayle began a love affair and unmatched tenure of service to his alma mater as a statistician and the unofficial and sometimes official, historian of Tulane football for over five decades. He was an extremely dedicated and proud Tulane alum who witnessed some of the greatest moments of Tulane athletics and New Orleans sporting events from his sideline seat. He never played a down, half, quarter or inning for Tulane, but he recorded every one of them for over half a century.

A New Orleans native, Gayle graduated from Francis T. Nicholls High School and then earned two degrees from Tulane, a bachelor of arts in 1969 and a law degree in 1972.

A tax attorney by trade, Gayle not only worked for Tulane football, baseball and men’s and women’s basketball games in an official capacity, but he also served his community. He worked with the Saints since their founding in 1967 (missing only four games), the NBA’s New Orleans Jazz/Hornets/Pelicans, the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the New Orleans Bowl, every men’s and women’s NCAA Final Four played in the city, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Prep Classic and all 10 of the Super Bowls hosted in New Orleans.

In 2010, Gayle’s legacy was cemented at Tulane when he received the Billy Slatten Award, an honor presented annually to someone who has given extraordinary service, commitment and support to Tulane University and its student-athletes, and was inducted into the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame.

Gayle cared about two things: his family and his community. When he wasn’t talking about one, he was chatting about the other. He was a kind man who lacked ego. Gayle just wanted to do his job.

Gayle came to Tulane for an education. He ended up giving a lifetime’s worth of service back to his alma mater and enjoyed every minute.

Most sports fans may not have heard of Gayle or have known of his significant contributions to the New Orleans sports landscape, which he probably didn’t mind, but he will be greatly missed by those who worked behind the scenes and did know him