Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission Announces 2015 Class - Tucson News Now

Popular on-line voting selects Charles Barkley, Luis Gonzalez, Danielle Ammaccapane, Cotton Fitzsimmons and Joe Gilmartin for induction

Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission Announces 2015 Class into Arizona Sports Hall of Fame

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -  PHOENIX, Ariz. (February 5, 2015)—The Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission (ASEC) announced today the 2015 class to the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, which will include NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, 2001 World Series hero Luis Gonzalez, ASU and LPGA golfing great Danielle Ammaccapane, legendary NBA coach, the late Cotton Fitzsimmons, and longtime local sports writer, Joe Gilmartin. The Arizona Sports Hall of Fame honors athletes, coaches, administrators and others who have made significant contributions to Arizona sports. 

This year's class will be recognized during the 45th Arizona Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on April 8 at the Scottsdale Hilton Hotel.  The induction ceremony will be preceded by a silent auction and cocktail reception with hors d' oeuvres.

“We are thrilled about this year's class as it represents some of the most colorful sports personalities of our modern era and it crosses over the player, coaching and journalism sectors,” said Wally Kelly, CEO of the commission. “As with every class that has been enshrined, these incredible individuals serve as inspiration for us all.”

Named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, Charles Barkley has followed up his Hall of Fame career with an Emmy Award-winning television run and in the process, has evolved into a pop culture icon. After his trade to the Phoenix Suns in 1992, he led the franchise to their best-ever regular season record and a trip to the NBA Finals that same year. In 2002, Sports Illustrated named Barkley the Personality of the Year.

Barkley's coach while in Phoenix, Lowell “Cotton” Fitzsimmons, is receiving the award posthumously after dying of cancer in 2004. During his storied 21-year, he compiled a record of 832-775, finishing sixth on the NBA all-victory list. Cotton began his coaching career with the Suns in 1970 and returned to the Suns bench a second time in 1988.  A two-time NBA Coach of the Year, Fitzsimmons also served as the Suns senior executive vice-president.

Major League Baseball player's numbers are sparingly retired by their teams and for good reason. Luis Gonzalez gave the Arizona Diamondbacks the perfect reason to retire his number

“20” after he hit a game-winning bloop single to win the franchise's first World Series title. A five-time All-Star selection, “Gonzo,” as he is affectionately known, played 18 seasons for seven different teams.  Today he serves the Diamondbacks as special assistant to the President.

Danielle Ammaccapane played collegiate golf at Arizona State University, earning All-American first team honors and becoming NCAA National Champion in 1985. Appropriately, she was inducted into ASU's Hall of Fame in 1997. Ammaccapane's professional career began in 1988 and she ultimately earned seven LPGA tournament victories, her first at the Standard Register PING in 1991. She also represented the United States on the 1986 Curtis Cup team.

Joe Gilmartin is a well-known name to any sports fan living in the Valley in the 70's, 80's and 90's. An award-winning sports writer and columnist with the then-afternoon newspaper, the Phoenix Gazette.  Gilmartin covered virtually every high school, college and professional sports team throughout the Valley.  In 2014, he was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as the winner of the Curt Gowdy Media Award.

For more information on the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, or to purchase tickets to the induction ceremony, please visitwww.azsportsent.com.

About the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission

The Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission is a non-profit organization created in 1988.  The Commission currently collaborates with hundreds of partners to help fulfill this mission, bringing national and international sporting events to the state, assisting in the promotion of existing events and Arizona sports teams, and developing youth sports programs throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area. In 1999, it assumed oversight of the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2012, the Grand Canyon State Games. For more information about the Commission call (602) 258-6272 or visit www.azsportsent.com.

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