The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, which inducted its first class in 1963, celebrates excellence and extraordinary achievement in athletics. The Hall of Fame also commemorates and memorializes exceptional accomplishments in sports for the inspiration and enjoyment of all North Carolinians, especially the youth, through popular exhibits and educational displays.
Artifacts of many of the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame members, along with a recognition of notable accomplishment, are showcased in a 3,000-square foot museum on the third floor of the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. The museum’s address is 5 East Edenton Street, and it is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free.
How to Nominate
Nominations close each year on Aug. 1. The Board of Directors reviews the nominations to determine who will be considered for nomination. Final selections are made in December. To submit a nomination, please complete the official nomination form. Also, please email an approximate 125-word bio on the nominee to Don Fish at email@example.com. Policy requires that an inductee attend the induction banquet and other activities in person, unless deceased, to be enshrined into the Hall.
Guidelines for Nominees:
(a) All North Carolina natives shall be eligible unless, in the judgment of the Board, they moved from the state (and never returned to live) at too early an age to be reasonably considered.
(b) Any non-native who has come to the state and maintained an official residence for ten (10) consecutive years shall be eligible. Also, a non-native whose entire athletic career has been during the time of his/her residence in the state shall be eligible.
(c) Any athlete in a lifetime sport such as golf, tennis, etc., preferably shall have reached the peak of his/her performance prior to selection, or shall have retired from active participation.
(d) Any administrator, coach or member of the media shall have reached age 62 or shall have retired from the field prior to selection. An exception may be one who has worked or coached in the state for 20 years.
History of the Hall
The Hall’s beginnings date to 1962. While formation of a N.C. Sports Hall of Fame had been talked about for several years, it wasn’t until the Sports Award Committee of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce did something about it that the idea took hold. A Queen City businessman, Jack Wood, and an attorney, Lloyd Caudle, are credited with leading the effort to establish the Hall. The first recorded meeting was Feb. 8, 1963, when a constitution was adopted and the inaugural class of inductees – Jim Beatty, Wes Ferrell, Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice, Ace Parker and Estelle Lawson Page – was elected. That December, the first induction banquet was held in Charlotte.
From the beginning there was a desire to someday house a permanent home for the Hall and the remarkable memorabilia that would be acquired through the years. In 1969, the original Charlotte Coliseum, located on Independence Boulevard and at the time one of the showplace arenas in the Southeast, agreed to display the mementos in trophy cases in the corridor of the building, with the hope that expansion of the building would include a Hall of Fame Room. Unfortunately, support for the expansion waned, and the memorabilia was transferred to the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, which already was overcrowded and could offer only a limited exhibition.
In February of 1982, a two-year Hall of Fame exhibit was opened at the museum. Increased attendance at the museum proved the effort to be successful. The Hall decided it would await the outcome of hoped-for-expansion of the museum before locating elsewhere. The N.C. General Assembly responded, approving the construction of a new museum and allotting approximately 4,000 square feet of space for a permanent Hall exhibit, which opened in 1992.
Recent years have seen the Hall expand its presence and profile. A highly successful reception, during which the current year’s inductees are recognized along with the Great Moments series honorees, is held the night prior to the annual induction banquet. In 2011, the Hall proudly hosted an once-in-a-lifetime event at Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh when Naismith Awards were presented to legendary college basketball coaches Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), Dean Smith (North Carolina) and the late Kay Yow (N.C. State). Each September the Hall hosts, with the support of Hall of Fame member Peggy Kirk Bell, the Bell Cup golf tournament at Pine Needles and Golf Club in Southern Pines.
Don Fish is the Executive Director of the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame and can be reached at 919-845-3455 or firstname.lastname@example.org.