How the Utah Sports Hall of Fame honors past, present, future
Aug 25, 2020 03:33PM
By Nichole Duffy
By Nichole Duffy | [email protected]
As Utahns from across the valley search for ways to fill the void of sports, one organization has long been honoring sports past, present and future.
The Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation and museum has worked tirelessly to bring the best of Utah sports to the community.
Started in 1967 as the “Old Timer Athletic Association,” their goal was to highlight “hall of famers” which included athletes and administrators, but as time has progressed, so too has the organization. Now a nonprofit that prides itself on “preserving and honoring Utah’s sports heritage,” says Doug Toole, president-elect of the organization.
According to Norma Carr, the current president of the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, their mission is to “Honor the past, lead the present, and award the future”.
The way they honor their mission is multifaceted, Toole explains, “The foundation honors the past by recognizing individuals in different categories; The Utah Sports Hall of Fame, the Distinguished High School Coaches Hall of Honor, Coaches of Merit Hall of Honor, Distinguished Service Award, and the Game Officials Hall of Honor.”
To date there has been 238 honorees inducted, from a diversity of sports and competition levels. From Jazz great Karl Malone to sports writer Hack Miller, you can see and learn about them all.
“The foundation leads the present by hosting a leadership symposium for coaches in January of odd number years,” Toole said.
“For the symposium we choose to use some of our people who are in the hall of fame and planned a leadership event. People can come and attend different sessions and learn different things from people who have been honored,” explained Carr. “Depending on who we pick each year people have a grass roots, small event where they can listen, learn and ask questions of hall of famers concerning leadership skills.”
Another exciting part of the foundation, and the third prong to its mission, is the Reams Scholarship. “The foundation awards the future by providing six to eight $2,000 scholarships through donations from the Ream’s food store to high school seniors,” Toole said.
Carr expands on the program, “Started in 1990 and year to date have given out 228 scholarships, which translates to approximately $400,000 given to Utah high school students who attend a Utah school.”
These scholarships are available to any Utah student, and you don’t have to be an athlete to apply.
“The chair of the selection committee prepares a letter and sends it to all the high school counselors in Utah each year detailing the qualifications for the students to apply,” Carr said.
While the Reams scholarship uses money left by Paul Ream to help fund these scholarships, it is also funded by donations to the foundation.
The foundation does more than just honor the heroes of the past and the leaders of the future, but they put it all up for display for people to admire. The museum, which is located at City Creek mall (99 West South Temple suite 102), has welcomed more than 1,332 Utahns, 991 people from 51 different states, and 343 international visitors.
You can read biographies of the more than 200 inductees on its website at utahsportshalloffame.org.
You can read about Jim Shea, who in the 2002 Olympics, “became a third-generation Olympian.” Or if basketball is more your speed you could read about Natalie Williams, a graduate of Taylorsville high school, who went on to be named the “PAC-10’s athlete of the decade and became a four-time WNBA all-star.”
It doesn’t matter what sport you are into, they have it.
Even president elect Doug Toole was surprised by the two honorees of 2019, brothers David and Richard Barnes, who both swam at Skyline high school and later went on to swim the English Channel. They were the first people from Utah to complete it.
A statement from the organization puts it best, “The Utah Sports Hall of Fame Museum has brought the state’s sports history to life, while preserving and honoring the legacies of heroes and role models of Utah. These athletes and figures from across a broad spectrum of individual and team sports deserve to be showcased and celebrated, and their stories will provide inspiration to all who learn more about their accomplishments.”
Anyone who wishes to donate to the Utah Sports Hall of Fame can do so at: utahsportshalloffame.org.