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Thanks Don Fish!

By Wilt Browning, 06/26/19, 7:15PM EDT


He will move into full retirement and to the golf course with the deep respect of the Board of Directors...

Don Fish 


In 2007, with the search for a new executive director barely begun, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors began thinking about a more aggressive approach to its mission. Since its beginning the board was content to select those stellar athletes who deserved to be inducted as members of the Hall of Fame. In looking to the future, the directors wondered how it might bring attention to the state’s great sports heritage beyond selecting members to the Hall of Fame.

Could the Hall be something more to sports fans than simply a repository of athletic memorabilia carefully placed permanently on display at the North Carolina Museum of History.

At the same time, Don Fish had questions of his own including what would he do with the rest of his life as a newly minted retiree from corporate America. “We want to become more than we are,” he was told in an interview. “We need an executive director who can lead us in new directions.”

“Then I’m your man,” Fish said confidently.

And was he ever. While the board continued to attend to its basic mission of selecting inductees for the Hall of Fame membership, Fish hit the ground running with more wonderful ideas than any of the directors had ever dreamed. He concentrated on making the Hall more appealing to school boys and girls such as those in attendance tonight. He made the annual induction program a two-day event by adding a reception in the lobby of the North Carolina Museum of History every May. He worked to keep the Hall afloat financially, and introduced a golf tournament that has become an annual success story. The Hall’s website ( was vastly upgraded and made more user-friendly.

In ways too many to list, Don Fish indeed became “the man” to lead the Hall of Fame as its executive director.

Tonight’s banquet is a finale for Fish, and he has set the bar very high for his successor. He will move into full retirement and to the golf course with the deep respect of the Board of Directors and an appreciation for being the man to lead us into the future all those years ago.

Note:  Above article was included in the 2019 NCSHOF Induction Banquet Program at the May 3rd Banquet at the Raleigh Convention Center.  Don is retiring June 30, 2019.  He began as NCSHOF Executive Director in 2008.