The Arizona Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1957 by the Phoenix Press Box Association. Thirty-six induction ceremonies were held by the Association before it ceased operations in 1991. In the years that followed, the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission assumed oversight of the Hall of Fame and developed a plan in the mid-1990s to find it a permanent home.
In December 1999 the Sports Commission partnered with the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce to launch an Arizona Sports Awards luncheon at the Civic Center. The Hall of Fame was a key piece of that event. In January 2001 another luncheon event was held, and in 2002 a cocktail function took place at the Herberger Theater during which Jerry Colangelo and Curly Culp were inducted. The Hall of Fame was then dormant from 2002 to 2009.
In early 2008, the Sports Commission began planning a re-launch of the Hall of Fame. On April 16, 2009 the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame was revitalized with an induction ceremony at The Phoenician. Over 300 people were on hand to honor four inductees including Al McCoy, Darren Woodson, Linda Vollstedt and Bob Horner.
Today, the Hall of Fame ceremony helps raise fund for the Sports Commission and its mission to “Enrich Our Community Through Sports.” To do this the Commission collaborates with hundreds of partners, bringing national and international sporting events to the state, assisting in the promotion of existing events and Arizona sports teams, and developing youth sports programs throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area. In 2012, the Sports Commission also assumed oversight of the Grand Canyon State Games.
Hall of Fame nominees are eligible under one of three criteria:
- The nominee is a native of Arizona, or
- The nominee spent a majority of their careers in Arizona and is known primarily as an Arizonan, or
- The nominee has two significant career contributions to Arizona Sports.
Note – Athletes that do not meet the above criteria and that have spent a limited amount of time in Arizona (usually at our area universities prior to turning professional, or simply residents of Arizona) are NOT eligible for induction. Examples of these circumstances include Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, Reggie Jackson, Teddy Bruschi, Jennie Finch, Charles Barkley, Lovieanne Jung, Lyn St. James, Luis Gonzales, Randy Johnson, Trevor Hoffman, Phil Mickelson, Steve Kerr, Barry Bonds, etc.
Arizona Sports Hall of Fame Inductees
(As of April 2009 – 39 induction ceremonies, 69 members)