Evansville welcomes Indiana sports icons for Hall of Fame induction weekend
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Indiana Sports Hall of Fame is hosting its inaugural induction banquet weekend in Evansville.
To kick off the festivities, WFIE’s Mike Blake was the MC for a fundraising banquet on Friday night.
This weekend marks the first event held in person to dedicate the inaugural Class of 2020, giving Indiana sports icons the opportunity to be celebrated at home in the Hoosier State.
“To be considered an inductee in this great event – just so honored and blessed and humbled,” said Kent Benson, a member of the IU men’s basketball team that won the 1976 NCAA championship. “Just so excited to be here in Evansville, a great basketball town.”
“People from all over the sport that have a connection with Indiana, so you get a chance to hear their stories,” said Keith Smart, who hit the game-winning shot for the Hoosiers in the 1987 NCAA title game. “Of course, they all want to know about that memorable moment that we had in 1987, but also when you come back to the state, you have so many people that followed IU basketball, so it’s always a pleasure.”
“I was looking through the brochure, and I didn’t realize a lot of these people went to high school or grew up in Indiana,” said Andy Benes, a former baseball pitcher who played in the MLB from 1989 to 2002. “So it’s just super cool and it’s humbling.”
Along with the 2020 class, the Hall of Fame is set to honor members of the 2021 and 2022 classes on Saturday.
The induction ceremony will be held at the Old National Events Plaza on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Click here for more details on this weekend’s events.
The guest speakers from Friday night’s banquet are listed below:
- Mark Clayton – Former Miami Dolphin
- Eva D. Jones-Young – Former 3-time world boxing champion, 12-time world karate champ
- Tommy John – Former MLB pitcher (Dodgers, Yankees), future Cooperstown Hall of Famer
- Bobby Plump – Indiana basketball legend, played for 1954 Milan Indians (movie “Hoosiers” based off this team’s state championship run)
- Keith Smart – Former IU and NBA player, hit game-winning shot in 1987 NCAA championship game
- Carl Nicks – Former Indiana State player and NBA first-round pick, member of Sycamores team that appeared 1979 NCAA title game
- Angelo Pizzo – writer and producer of “Hoosiers” and “Rudy”
- Andy Benes – Former MLB Pitcher (Cardinals, Padres, Mariners)
- Del Harris – Former NBA Coach (Lakers, Bucks), coached Kobe Bryant during his rookie year
- Kent Benson – IU basketball legend, member of 1976 NCAA championship team, number one pick in 1977 NBA Draft
- Kyle Macy – Former UK and NBA player, 1975 Indiana Mr. Basketball
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