The Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission recently announced its 2019 class for the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.
The list includes late University of Arizona football coach Dick Tomey, Olympic champion swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall, former boxing world champion Michael Carbajal, former Phoenix Suns star Tom Chambers and former Northern Arizona University Athletic Trainer Michael Nesbitt.
Diane Doerschel has been named Grand Canyon State Games Contributor of the Year and also will be honored at the Induction Ceremony. Ms. Doerschel was selected from the thousands of people who have competed and/or contributed annually in the games.
The Arizona Sports Hall of Fame honors athletes, coaches, administrators and others who have made significant contributions to Arizona sports. The 2019 class was selected by a vote of trustees and the public, which elected Nesbitt in online public balloting, according to a press release.
The new members will be honored during the Crest Insurance Group Arizona Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Friday, Nov. 1 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort.
“This Arizona Sports Hall of Fame class embodies the rich, diverse history of Arizona sports,” ASEC Executive Director Nikki Balich-Cammarata said in a prepared statement. “Each of these honorees has played an important role in shaping that history.”
Crest Insurance Group President Cody Ritchie offered his congratulations to the honorees.
“We are proud to honor these worthy individuals who have made so many important contributions to Arizona sports, both on and off the field,” he said in a prepared statement.
To be eligible for the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, an individual must be either an Arizona native; immediately recognized as an Arizonan; or have made at least two significant contributions to the Arizona athletics community.
Ms. Van Dyken-Rouen turned to swimming to overcome severe childhood asthma. She became a six-time Olympic swimming champion and has the distinction of being one of the few Olympians whose medals are all gold.
She won four gold medals in Atlanta in 1996 and two more in Sydney in 2000. Ms. Van Dyken-Rouen attended the University of Arizona for two years. In June 2014, she severed her spinal cord and was paralyzed from the waist down in an ATV accident.
Now residing in Arizona with her husband, former NFL punter Tom Rouen, Ms. Van Dyken-Rouen has founded “Amy’s Army,” a Scottsdale-based non-profit foundation, and become a motivational speaker.
As D-backs president and CEO, Mr. Hall has turned the Diamondbacks organization into a model franchise in both the sports industry and the business world during his 13 years at the helm. He is the fourth-longest tenured CEO in Major League Baseball.
Mr. Hall focuses the organization’s efforts in five areas he terms the “Circle of Success” --- fan experience, performance, community, culture and financial efficiency --- and each has seen tremendous growth during his tenure.
His leadership has helped guide the D-backs to three postseason appearances, including two National League West Division championships and one National League Championship Series.
The winningest football coach in University of Arizona history, Mr. Tomey spent 14 seasons leading the Wildcats. Tomey went 95-64-4 at Arizona, directing the Wildcats to nine winning seasons, seven bowl games and four bowl victories, a release states.
He earned Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors in 1992. He led the Wildcats to a 10-2 mark in 1993, including a 29-0 Fiesta Bowl win over Miami (Florida) that vaulted Arizona to No. 10 in the final AP Top 25.
In 1998, Mr. Tomey and the Wildcats went 12-1, establishing a school record for wins in a season. Arizona finished No. 4 in the final AP poll. He died at age 80 on May 10 in Tucson.
A native of Phoenix, Mr. Carbajal won a silver medal as a light flyweight at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Seven months later, he won his first pro bout in 1989.
Mr. Carbajal was nicknamed “Little Hands of Stone” after his favorite fighter, Roberto Duran. He went on to win five world titles and finished his career with 49 wins (33 by knockout) and four losses, retiring as a champion in 1999.
Mr. Carbajal runs Michael Carbajal’s Ninth Street Gym in Phoenix, across the street from the house in which he grew up, and works to empower his community.
A member of the Suns Ring of Honor, Mr. Chambers has spent 16 seasons as host of the Suns’ pregame, halftime and postgame shows on Fox Sports Arizona. He played five seasons (1988-93) with the Suns, averaging 20.6 points.
After signing with the club as the first unrestricted free agent in NBA history on July 8, 1988, he made three-straight All-Star appearances from 1989-91.
Mr. Chambers poured in a franchise-record 2,201 points (27.2 average) during the 1989-90 campaign. On March 24, 1990, He erupted for a then franchise-record 60 points in a win against Seattle, a mark that stood for 27 years.
Mr. Nesbitt is a legendary name in national athletic training circles. He spent 36 years as head athletic trainer and associate professor at Northern Arizona University, retiring in 2006.
During his NAU tenure, he mentored more than 40 future athletic trainers. The NAU Alumni Association presented him with the Distinguished Faculty Award in 1985. NAU also inducted Mr. Nesbitt into its athletics Hall of Fame and named its athletic training center after him.