The Arizona Sports Hall of Fame (HOF) was founded in 1957 by the Phoenix Press Box Association. The Association held 36 induction ceremonies before ceasing operations in 1991. In the years that followed, the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission assumed custodianship of the Hall of Fame, including developing a plan in the mid-90s to find the Hall a permanent home.
The Sports Commission partnered with the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce to launch an Arizona Sports Awards luncheon in December 1999 at the Civic Center. The Hall of Fame was a key piece to that event. In January 2001 another luncheon event was held, and in 2002 a cocktail function took place at the Herberger Theater where Jerry Colangelo and Curly Culp were inducted. The Hall of Fame was 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 stands as the sole annual fundraiser for the Sports Commission each year. Funds raised will support the Sports Commission’s mission to “enhance our community through sports.” This includes attracting sporting events to the Valley of the Sun, promoting the existing events and sports teams in Greater Phoenix, and to support youth sports programs in the region.