The Pima County Sports Hall of Fame was established in April 1989 to publicly honor and recognize men and women who are and have been exceptional athletes and or contributors to sports and athletics in Pima County. The Pima County Sports Hall of Fame holds a banquet to honor these athletes and sports contributors each year and they are a non-profit 501C (3)
Their Mission is to promote, recognize and preserve the history of athletic achievements and to inspire individuals of all ages to reach their full potential in sports and the career of their choice. We have established and maintained a permanent public display and exhibit of the records and memorabilia of our honorees.
1. Joe Batiste
2. Lafayette Lever
3. Ernie McCray
4. Paul Robinson Sr.
5. Edward Brown
6. Billie Harris
7. Sean Elliott
8. Robert Elliott
9. Bobby DeBerry
10. Mike Odum
11. Fred Snowden
12. Tairia Mims Flowers
13. E. Delano Price
14. Rashida Jeffery
15. Joseph Robinson
16. Randall Moore
17. David Adams
18. Michael Bates
19. Anthony Sanders
20. Dannie Jackson
21. Cleo Robinson
22. Vance Johnson
23. Lewis Cook
24. Rodney Peete
25. Sybil Dosty
26. Whitney Dosty
27. Abdi Abdirahman
28. Herman House
29. Arthur “Sonny” Campbell
Many consider Joe Batiste the greatest all-around athlete in Tucson history. He set records in track, football, and basketball at Tucson High School. World War II destroyed his chances of being an internationally famous Olympic star (games were cancelled due to the war).
In 1939, with his coach J.D. (Doc) Van Horne watching in the national AAU meet Lincoln, Nebraska, on a hot-and humid Fourth of July, he ran against favored Fred Wolcott, who had been clocked at: 14.3, just one-tenth of a second off the national high hurdle record. Batiste and Wolcott were neck-and-neck until the eighth hurdle, when Wolcott barely tipped the hurdle and Batiste passed him and established a national record of: 14.1 in the 120-yard high hurdles. He later bettered that mark in: 14 flat that stood 18 years. He set a state high jump record as a late entry in an event he normally did not compete in. Batiste died in 1948.
All-State at Pueblo High school and All-American at Arizona State University in basketball, Lever began his professional career first with the Portland Trailblazers and later with the Denver Nuggets. He led Pueblo to back-to-back state championships with teams called by many as possibly the best in Tucson history.
Pueblo won 28 games in 1977-78 by a margin of 28.6 points per game. Lever was named to the ASU Hall of Fame and Pueblo High School named its gym in his honor in 1988. Lever was a four-year starter at ASU where he led the Sun Devils in assists and steals each season and led the team in scoring with a 16.3 average as a senior. His nickname “Fat” came from a younger brother who found the abbreviated version of Lafayette easier to say. During his time with the Denver Nuggets, he finished second on the team’s career assists and steals list as one of the premier guards in the NBA.
Ernie was both an All-City and All-State basketball player while attending Tucson High School (1953-56). He was team captain and second in the city in scoring; played on the winning all-star team in Flagstaff; and was the second recipient of the annual Bud Doolen Award (1956). Ernie attended the University of Arizona where he received degrees in physical education and elementary education.
While a member of the UA basketball team, he led the Wildcats in all categories (1956-57); was named Border Conference Most Valuable Player during his junior-senior year (1960); and was team co-captain his senior. The first Afro-American basketball player to graduate from the UA, Ernie was drafted by the Cincinnati Royals of the NBA. Later relocating to San Diego, Ernie was active in city league basketball until 1983, playing on numerous all-star teams and usually leading the league in scoring and rebounding.
Paul, who was born in the Old Pueblo and grew up in Marana, attended Marana High School where he played football and basketball and set several school records in track and field. During his senior year (1963) he was a member of the Marana basketball team that took second in the state.
Paul continued to excel in basketball and track at Eastern Arizona University, graduating in 1968. He played football during his senior year and was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals of the American Football League, where he played for four years. He also played two years for the Houston Oilers and spent a year in the World Football League. While with Cincinnati, Paul was named Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player (1968), the first Bengal to win such an honor. He set a team record for the longest run from scrimmage, 87 yards.
Edward “Ed” Howard Brown graduated from Colorado Springs High School, where he was active in football, wrestling and track. While serving in the Marine Corps Depot in San Diego, he again found the opportunity to play football. Perhaps a twist of fate placed two particular football coaches in Ed’s path.
Former coaches at Hardin Simmons University recognized his football abilities and alerted Coach Warren Woodson, who had become Head Coach at Arizona. Ed became a “Wildcat.” To Ed’s delight, Coach Woodson preferred “Two Way” football players, and Ed became a guard on offense and a linebacker on defense… life in the trenches, for sure.
When Ed retired in 1988 after 19 seasons of football and 20 seasons in track, he left a record that still lives in the hearts and minds of the young men who played for him.
Billie was a professional softball player from Tucson who started her career in 1948 with the Tucson Sunshine Girls, a team that won several state championships. At the state softball tournament in 1950, Billie was seen by the PBSW Ramblers and was asked to try out for the team. She played with the Ramblers until 1965, when the team disbanded, and Billie was chosen an All-American several times.
From there, she went on to play with the Yakima Washington Webb Cats. She captured All-Star, MVP, and All-American honors in 1969. Billie returned to Phoenix and played with the Sun City Saints for five years and was an All-Star several times. One season Billie batted .400 and won four of five games as a pitcher. In the Pacific Coast Women’s League from 1953 to 1975, Billie had 264 hits and played 370 games. She scored 123 runs and had 59 RBIs. As a pitcher, Billie had control and speed and also had speed as a runner. She was well known as the “bunt and run.”
Sean Elliott, NBA forward for the San Antonio Spurs since 1990, played four seasons at Arizona, where he finished as the all-time scoring leader in PAC 10 history with 2,555 career points; breaking the previous mark set by Lew Alcindor at UCLA. As a senior at the U and A, Sean was named College player of the Year by Associated Press, CBS-TV, Basketball Weekly, Basketball Times, Kodak, Hoop Scoop, All-Star Sports Report and more. He was the Wooden Award winner; a consensus All American; was named MVP all four seasons leading Arizona to three PAC-10 titles; led the U of A to a Final Four appearance during his junior year; and was a member of the U.S. Squad which won the 1986 World Championships. During his pro career, Sean was the third overall pick in the 1989 NBA Draft by the Spurs. (In his rookie season, Sean had a season high 24 points against Denver in 1990.)
Bob Elliott received a basketball scholarship and came to Tucson from Michigan to play basketball for the University of Arizona coached by Freddie “The Fox” Snowden in 1973. He was a standout on the basketball court. He would average 18.7 points per game. He scored over 2,000 points while hauling down over 1,000 rebounds in his college career. He was named to several All-American teams in his career but he was also a two-time Academic All-American at the same time.
Bob was inducted into the GTE Academic All-American Hall of Fame in 1995. He would become a very successful businessman after getting his MBA degree from the U of A. He has teamed with Dave Sitton for many years to do the T.V. commentary for the University of Arizona basketball games.
When Bobby became the Head Coach for the wrestling program at Sunnyside High School in 1992, he came into one that was very successful and well known. The new coach continued that winning program and made it even more remarkable. Because Sunnyside High School has established itself as one of the best run programs in the entire United States the school is listed as a “NATIONAL DYNASTY” by Wresting USA Magazine. Sunnyside’s records speak for themselves. The school has recorded 506-wins to 6-losses since 1976; piled up 24-Team State Championships; 4-Team State Runner-ups and 107 Individual State Champions. Since Bobby has been there, he has won 7-straight Team State Titles; had 46-All Americans; 44-Individual State Champions; and over 200 State Place Winners. The success of the team is due to dedication and support from the families of Sunnyside where entire families will play for coach Deberry and then come back to help support and train the team.
Mike Odum was one of Arizona’s best high school baseball players in the early 1970s at perennial power Tucson High School, Mike earned three varsity letters, was All-City in 1971-72, All-State in 1972 and All-Southwest in 1972 as Player of the Year. He was an All-City and All-State football player in 1972.
Mike was drafted in the seventh round of the pro baseball draft by the Houston Astros but went to college instead. At Azusa Pacific University, Mike was on the All-Conference NAIA team in 1976.
Mike played pro baseball for the Cincinnati Reds and Texas Rangers minor league organizations from 1976 to 1978. Before high school, Mike played Little League, Colt League, American Legion and Pony League and made all-star and all-tournament teams each season.
Fred Snowden was not only the University of Arizona head basketball coach from 1972-82, he was one of the most significant sports figures in American. Known as “The Fox,” Snowden was the first African-American to be a head coach in NCAA Division 1 basketball. Snowden came to Tucson after being a high school basketball and baseball coach in Detroit and later assistant basketball coach at the University of Michigan.
At Arizona, Coach Snowden and his “Kiddie Korp” enjoyed immediate success by having winning records in his first seven seasons and leading the Wildcats to the post-season three times, including the Elite Eight in 1976 and a Western Athletic Conference championship. His coaching record was 167-108 and he helped five UA players reach the NBA.
Tairia enrolled at UCLA and hit a three-run home run in her first collegiate at-bat as a freshman. She started every game as a freshman, and had the second highest batting average in the women’s College World Series for the runner-up Bruins. As a sophomore, Flowers was a second-team All-America selection and first-team All-Pac-10. The Bruins finished second in the World Series. In her senior season, Flowers was first-team All-Pac-10, All-American, and played on the All-College World Series team. UCLA won the national championship. Flowers finished second in career home runs (61) at UCLA, second in career runs batted in and first in career doubles.
A 1969 graduate of Tucson High, Delano started in basketball for three years, and captained the 1969 team that won the 5A state championship and was an all-city selection, averaging 21.5 points per game. The team set a state single-game scoring record of 128 points, a mark that still stands.He became assistant principal at Sabino High and worked with baseball coach Mike Bejarno to install dugouts, one of the first high schools in the city to do so. In 1990, he became the first African-American administrator (assistant principal) at Sunnyside High, with responsibilities of activities/athletics, operations, and discipline.
In 2001, he was an honorary lifetime pass recipient from the Arizona Interscholastic Association in recognition of exemplary service to the interscholastic programs for the youth of Arizona. In 2007, he was inducted into the Tucson High Badger “T” Club Hall of Fame.
Rashida Jeffery attended Tucson High School from 1988 to 1992 and lettered in volleyball, basketball and track and field all four years. She was captain of the girls’ basketball team her junior and senior seasons. She received a full basketball scholarship from the University of Southern California, where she was part of the Pac-10 championship team during the 1993-94 season.
Jeffery played volleyball with the Southwest Volleyball Adult Club Team that won winter league championships in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
In high school, Jeffery earned recognition as she was named several times to state and city All-Star teams by the Arizona Daily Star and Tucson Citizen. She won a state championship in the 300-meter hurdles and was runner-up in the 100-meter hurdles. She was inducted into the Tucson High School Badger “T” Club Hall of Fame in 1999.
Joseph Robinson has been officiating softball, football, basketball and baseball since 1954, including calling games throughout the world while serving 26 years in the U.S. Air Force.
Robinson got his start at 17 years old in Wilmington, North Carolina, when an umpire failed to show for a baseball game. He started working high school football games in 1970 and continued until 2006. In addition, Robinson called men’s fast-pitch softball, NCAA women’s softball, and high school softball, starting in 1975.
Robinson was appointed Arizona ASA umpire-in-chief in 1981 and to the ASA National umpiring staff in 2007. He served on the National Federation High School Rules Committee for Softball for four years.
A graduate of Pueblo High School in 1976, Moore was a first-team all-city basketball player as a junior and senior and was named all-city captain and first team all-state as a senior, averaging 26.7 points a game. At Abilene Christian University, Moore earned first-team Lone Star Conference all-star honors and was a third-team NAIA All-American selection.
Moore started his coaching career at the junior high level. In 1988 he became the head basketball coach at Pima Community College. His 1990 team went 24-7, setting a school record for most wins. In 2000 he was named the Arizona Community College Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year.
David Adams was born in Tucson, Arizona on the Davis Monthan Air Force Base where he was the first baby born in the new hospital.
Adams was a student athlete at Sunnyside High School. He excelled at running back at Sunnyside under head coaches Paul Petty and Terry Seward. He was All City and All State in 1980-81 as running back and returner. He led the state in yards per carry–12.6; punt return–8.7 and kickoff returns 38 per return in 1980. In 1981 KVOA Channel 4 and the Tucson Citizen named him player of the year. He also led the city in rushing in 1981. He was Honorable Mention All American and played in the North/South All Star Game. During his high school career the Blue Devils were 22-3.
With all of the honors and records Michael Bates compiled during his athletic career, perhaps the best came when he was named the “Top Athlete in Tucson History” in 2012 by the Arizona Daily Star.
Bates attended the University of Arizona and in 1990 returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown against Washington State. He averaged 23.7 yards on 45 kickoff returns during his UA football career.
Bates used that speed that made him such a dangerous kick return specialist to win both the 100 and 200-meter dashes in both the 1989 and 1990 Pacific-10 Conference championships, earning Outstanding Male Performer both years. Bates anchored UA’s 400-meter relay team to a second place finish in the NCAA Championships. His best collegiate time for the 100 meters was 10.17 seconds.
Anthony Sanders was a student athlete in three sports at Santa Rita High School from 1988 to 1992. He excelled in football, baseball and basketball; he was a member of the student council and honor society.
In football, Sanders was first team All-State/City as a junior and senior. He was a Parade All-American and ranked as the third best high school QB in the country in 1992. He had his pick of scholarship offers to choose from to play two sports ad division 1 colleges. He committed to the University of Arizona.
In basketball, Sanders took his varsity team to the state championship game while receiving All-City honors. Santa Rita High School retired his number ten jersey.
In baseball, Sanders was first team All-State/City as a junior and senior. The Toronto Blue Jays in the 7th round in the 1992 MLB Draft drafted him.
At Santa Rita High School in 1975-76 Dannie Jackson was a 2-time All-American long jumper setting a city record 75’, ranking #1 nationally, and named Tucson Athlete of the year in 1975.
In 1976 Jackson was named All-Southwest Athlete of the Year and set the city record in the high jump.
In 1975-76, he was state champion in the long jump and high jump and in 1976 placed 1st in the 120 high hurdles. He won the State Decathlon Championship, also setting a school record long jump.
Cleo Robinson graduated from Marana High School in 1965. He participated in football, basketball and track. His senior year, he received athletic honors: 1st Team All State Linebacker, 2nd Team All-Conference (Basketball), 2nd in the State/High and Low Hurdles and 1st in the 880 relay. In 1998, he was inducted to the Marana Hall of Fame.
Robinson attended Northern Arizona University on a track scholarship where he was part of the 1967 Hall of Fame track team, setting an indoor low hurdle record, ran 100 and 200 yard dash, high hurdles and relay. He qualified and competed in the NAIA Regional Championship in the 120 high hurdles.
Vance Johnson ran track and played football at Cholla High School in Tucson. He was actively recruited by the University of Arizona where he continued the two sports of his passion.
Johnson competed in the 1982 Olympic trials in the long jump. His college career bests as a track star were 10.45 in the 100 meters and 26’ 11 1/2” in the long jump. He won the NCAA long jump in 1982 but failed to make the cut for the Olympics.
With full focus on football Johnson played all purpose back (runner-receiver-returner) but often started at tailback and let the Wildcats in rushing as a freshman.
Lewis Cook played football for 4 years for Tucson High School. He was a varsity starter for 2 years for both offense and defense. During his senior year, he was 1st team All City (captain), 1st team All State (Arizona Daily Star, Tucson Citizen, Arizona Republic) (Captain). He was also 2nd team All American, leading rusher in the state and Player of the Year. He was Co-Captain of the 1965 State Championship Football Team and was chosen as one of the top ten football players in the 100 year history of Tucson High School in 2015 by the Arizona Daily Star.
In Basketball he was a starter for 3 years. He also played baseball as a sophomore at Tucson High. He was chosen by the San Francisco Giants to be honored on the field for hitting 2 grand slams in one inning—a feat that had never been accomplished (Hi Corbett Field). At this event he met the great Willie Mays.
NFL veteran quarterback Rodney Peete, best known for his leadership and a winning attitude. Born in Mesa, Arizona, Peete excelled in all sports and activities. At Sahuaro High in Tucson, Arizona, Peete led his teams to state championships in basketball and baseball and he was named Arizona High School Athlete of the Year as well as an Academic All-American.
Peete holds a B.A. in Communications from University of Southern California where he was a First Team All-American, Winner of the 1988 “Johnny Unitas Award” for Best Senior Quarterback, and the 1988 Pac-10 Player of the Year.
Sybil Dosty is a native of Tucson, AZ and graduated from Salpointe Catholic High School in 2004. She holds the record in Arizona for blocks (525) over the span of her high school career. She was a four-year starter for the Lancers despite enduring ACL tears in each knee during the first two years of her high school career. Sybil averaged 27 points and 11 rebounds in 109 games at the high school level.
Dosty was a Street and Smith Freshman All-American and was invited to the Nike All-American Camp following her freshmen year. Sybil was First Team All-State 2001-2004 and earned All- Conference Player of the Year honors in 2003 and 2004. She was dubbed the Gatorade Arizona Women’s Basketball Player of the Year in 2004 along with being selected to play in the Adidas All- American game the same year. She was named the Player of the Year by The Tucson Citizen, Arizona Preps, and The Arizona Informant in her senior year.
During her junior year at Salpointe Catholic High School she joined the volleyball team. Whitney went on to become a two-time letter winner in volleyball and was ranked as the fourth-best recruit in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com. In 2005 the Arizona Republic selected Whitney to first team all-state. Whitney was named 2005 Southern Arizona Player of the Year by the Arizona Daily Star and the Tucson Citizen, as well as the 2005 Southern Region Player of the Year. Whitney was a two-time all-conference pick, team MVP and co-captain as a senior.
In Whitney’s senior year of high prepvolleyball.com named her a High School All-American. Later that year Whitney went on to become a member of the 2005 USA Youth National Team. During her senior year she joined the track team and became the Arizona state high jump champion, she also placed third in the triple jump and ranked in the Top 10 nationally in the high jump. The team was 2006 region champions.
By the time Abdi Abdirahman was a graduating senior at Tucson High School, in 1995, he had not competed in athletics. Twenty years later he was a four-time Olympic distance runner, and an All- American at both Pima College and the University of Arizona.
While watching a track meet at Arizona’s Drachman Stadium, his interest was piqued while watching the distance runners, who were among the best in college sports. “I can do that,’’ Abdirahman said. And so he did. It wasn’t long after Abdirahman watched the UA runners that he met with Pima College coach Jim Mielke and the two agreed that Abdi would suit up for the Aztecs. Remarkably, he won his first-ever cross country race. By the time he left PCC he won two NJCAA championships and was the top runner in the very competitive ACCAC.
In more than a decade as the director of athletics for the Tucson Unified School District, Herman House has been charged with the scheduling, eligibility, compliance and officiating of 25 TUSD middle & K-8 schools and 10 high schools. It is a big job but House has been a big man, equal to the challenges.
The 6-foot 5-inch former college basketball player from Chicago, the son of Mississippi sharecroppers, has made an impact in Tucson sports since he arrived as an assistant junior varsity basketball coach at Catalina High School in 2015. He ultimately became Tucson High’s athletic director and, 11 years ago, the director of TUSD’s athletic programs, a job that has been held by just three people the last 40 years.
In early July 1970, Arthur “Sonny’’ Campbell signed a contract to play football for the Atlanta Falcons. It was one of the most encouraging sports stories in Tucson history, a story of a young Black man growing up in poverty and facing racism overcoming adversity. By the time Campbell became a receiver and kick returner for the NFL’s Falcons — he rushed for 195 yards, caught passes for 132 yards and returned punts and kickoffs for 325 yards in his two year NFL career — he had beaten the odds.
“We had 96 people in my graduating class at Marana High School (1966),’’ Campbell said in 2006. “Most of them came from mining families and agriculture families. Most of them grew up in Rillito, without running water in our homes and some without electricity. We had to make the most of what we had.’’ Did he ever.
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