Around 1,000 guests attended Wednesday night’s 53rd annual induction ceremony sponsored by Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Companies to witness history as 10 new members were inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
As each inductee stood up to accept enshrinement, there was a reccuring theme of humbleness and gratitude for the support each inductee received throughout their career.
Dallas Cowboys announcer and MC of the night Brad Sham described sports as a labor of love, and it was evident each inductee agreed. Shawn Andaya, Gary Blair, Mack Brown, Fred Couples, G.A. Moore Jr., Tobin Rote, Bubba Smith, Lovie Smith and Andre Ware each described their career in sports as a job they love.
The evening began with a private reception in the Great Hall of the museum where guests saw brand new exhibits honoring the newest class of inductees. Guests were able to get autographs and pictures with the new class as well as Hall of Fame alumni such as Clyde Drexler and Donny Anderson, who were among 40 returning alumni that traveled to Waco to watch the induction ceremony.
Museum Curator Jay Black was excited about the number of returning alumni. “This is the most alumni we’ve had return for the banquet,” he said. “Being in the Hall of Fame is like a fraternity of sorts. They want to come back and welcome their new family”
Once guests migrated to the Ferrell center and a special presentation of each inductee began, jokes began flowing from everyone on the mic. However, no one had the audience laughing more than Coach G.A. Moore Jr., who told the audience stories of growing up on the farm.
He first thanked his sister for fostering his love of football overy the years, telling a story of her taking his place to plow one Saturday so he could play football with friends.
He said love of football began at an early age. “I went to school to play ball,” not to get an education. Moore claimed he was a fish out of water on stage that night, saying “I’m the most undeserving one up here, but by far the most grateful.”
Golfer Fred Couples also talked about his family’s support of his love for sports. He said he didn’t care about college or coaches trying to recruit him, but his mother did. She had multiple conversations with the University of Houston’s head coach. “My mom came into my room [one day] and said, ‘Son, you’re going to Houston.’” Couples said that his mother’s decision was obviously a good one, as Houston was where his career as a golfer truly began.
Football player Andre Ware wrapped up the night with an inspiring acceptance speech. He challenged young players to continue working hard. “Miracles happen becuase you don’t quit, you fight the fight and you don’t give up,” he said.
The annual selection committee to set the ballot for next year’s class of inductee is on June 5. Nominations for the ballot are open to the public until then.