The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame will hold its 51st Anniversary Induction Banquet on Saturday, June 3 at the Omni Nashville Hotel. The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame enshrines and honors athletes, teams, coaches, sports writers and sports administrators who have made an impact on the history of sports in Tennessee. The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Museum, housed in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, pays tribute to those who have made an impact through sports in Tennessee. The Hall holds that sports serve society’s highest ideals by educating youth through sports, and promote the virtues of competition, fair play, friendship, solidarity, mutual understanding and respect for human dignity; and that the best way to honor sports legends is to pass their legacy down to future generations. The lessons learned through sports can be carried throughout one’s life and enable them to not only accomplish their goals but also excel in them.
The 2017 Hall of Fame Class includes (alphabetically): Ashley McElhiney Ayers, Vanderbilt University Women’s Basketball player and the 1st female coach of a male professional basketball team, Nashville Rhythm; Chantelle Anderson, Vanderbilt University Women’s Basketball star and former 2nd overall pick of the 2003 WNBA Draft; Julius Chuck Meriwether, former Major League Baseball Umpire; Chad Clifton, University of Tennessee and Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame Offensive Lineman; Al Wilson, University of Tennessee All-American Linebacker and 1st Round selection of the 1999 NFL Draft. Additional inductees include Haskel Stanback, University of Tennessee and Atlanta Falcons Running Back; Candy Reynolds, Knoxville-born Professional Tennis player; Willie Gault, University of Tennessee All-American Wide Receiver and 1st Round selection of the 1983 NFL Draft. Rounding out the class are posthumous inductions for Graham Vowell, University of Tennessee’s 1st All-American, and Burnis “Wild Bill” Wright, a Negro League All-Star and Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame member.
Roy Kramer is the recipient of the 2017 Pat Summitt Lifetime Achievement Award.
The 2017 Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Honorees include the 2017 Professional Athlete of the Year, former University of Tennessee Track and Field sprinter and Olympic medalist Justin Gatlin for winning the silver medal in the 100m dash at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Amateur Team of the Year, Rhodes College Women’s Golf Team for claiming their second National Championship in the last three years. Amateur Female Athlete of the Year, King University Women’s Wrestling, Haley Augello for competing in women’s wrestling at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and winning her third WCWA national title in three years. Amateur Male Athlete of the Year two years in a row, from University of Tennessee Track & Field, Christian Coleman for winning two NCAA Indoor National Championships and being named USTFCCCA National Indoor Track Athlete of the Year along with earning a spot on the USA team at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame will also host their annual Champion Within Luncheon, also on June 3rd at the Omni Nashville Hotel. The Champion Within Luncheon is an opportunity to celebrate the success of outstanding individuals who display great character and embody the belief that Champions are made from a passion they have deep inside of them – a desire, a dream and commitment. The 2017 Champion Within Recipients are former Tennessee Titan Tim Shaw, radio personality Jeff Jacoby (posthumous), Millington Trojan football legend Mario Reed, Tennessee SC 16 champion soccer team, King University Women’s Wrestling Team and Special Olympic Champion Matthew Drumright. Doors will open at 11:00 a.m. and lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $50.00.
The Induction Banquet begins with Cocktails at 5:30 p.m.; Dinner at 6:30 p.m. in the Omni Nashville Hotel, 250 5th Ave South. Reservations are required; a premium table for eight is $1,500; a standard table for eight is $1,000; and individual tickets are $200. Tickets for both events must be purchased in advance by calling Lynn Powell Toy at 615-202-3996 or contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org