The Texas Sports Hall of Fame located in Waco is home to over three hundred legends in sports from throughout the entire state of Texas. The vision for the Texas Sports Hall of Fame came from The Beaumont Enterprise's sports editor. In 1949, during the Texas High School Coaches Association All Star Games in the city of Beaumont, Thad Johnson talked about creating the Hall of Fame with the Texas Sportswriters Association.
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The members of the Sportswriters Association agreed unanimously with Johnson on the idea of establishing a Hall of Fame for Texas sports. The inaugural inductee to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame was Tris Speaker, as baseball great, in 1951. With this, Texas became the country's first state to create a hall of fame to honor its own athletes.
The Texas Sports Hall of Fame opened on May 23 in the year 1981 in Grand Prairie, Texas. Lamar Hunt, a sports entrepreneur in Texas, became responsible for the facility. In 1986, however, the Hall of Fame closed. The building remained closed until a number of prominent residents of the city of Waco created their own plan to have the Texas Sports Hall of Fame moved to the Waco community in 1990. On April 16 of 1993, this plan to move the Hall of Fame to Waco was realized when the city held its grand opening for the new Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
Within the Texas Sports Hall of Fame is also the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame and the Texas Tennis Museum. In 2010, the facility was expanded in order to add a new banquet hall, as well as the Health, Fitness and Education Center. The Southwest Conference, the preeminent college conference in Texas, was also added to the Hall of Fame.
Throughout the majority of the century, Texas' Southwest Conference a power conference of the entire country until 1996 when it was broken up. The exhibit on display at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame that focuses on the Southwest Conference showcases the expansive history in Texas of college sports. Today, the Hall of Fame is truly a representation of the history of athletics in the state of Texas, and has expanded to encompass thirty-five thousand square feet of space.
Any athlete, administrator, or coach involved in Texas sports, no matter if they are living or not, is eligible to be an inductee of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. Nominees are selected to be inducted into the Hall of Fame based on the honor and lasting fame they have brought to sports in Texas. The selection committee that selects the inductees is made up of twenty-one people at a minimum. The members of the committee consist of member of the electronic sports media and sportswriters from throughout Texas. Up to ten sports greats may be inducted to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame every year. Six of these nominees are chosen from a Primary Ballot, two from the Veterans Ballot, and the last two from a ballot of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame Board of Trustees.
1108 South University Parks Drive, Waco, Texas, Phone: 254-756-1633