The Board of Directors of the State of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the Class of 2021 to be inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame on May 8, 2021. The Class was selected by ballot through a statewide selection committee; votes were tabulated by the accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The newly elected inductees for the Class of 2021 are as follows:
Starting with the first class in 1969, this will be the 53rd Class inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. The eight newly elected inductees will bring the total number of inductees to 377.
The 53rd Annual Induction Banquet and Ceremony will be held in the Birmingham Ballroom, at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, on May 8, 2021. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Museum at (205) 323-6665.
CLASS OF 2021 BIOGRAPHIES:
WILLIE ANDERSON – FOOTBALL | Born July 11, 1975 in Mobile, AL. Anderson played offensive tackle at Auburn University from 1993-95 where he was named All-American and twice-named All-SEC. He was selected 10th overall in the 1996 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. A four-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro selection, Anderson played his first 12 seasons with the Bengals before playing his final season with the Ravens in 2008. During his NFL career he played in 195 games, starting 184. Anderson only surrendered 16 sacks in his 13-year career and did not give up a sack between 1999 and 2001.
HAL BAIRD – BASEBALL – COACHING | Born August 23, 1949 in Fayette, AL. Baird pitched at Eastern Carolina where he recorded 105 strikeouts in the 1970-71 season. He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians and also played for the Kansas City Royals organization. In 1977, he returned to ECU as an assistant and was named head coach in 1980. He accumulated a 145-66-1 record, three NCAA Tournament appearances, and two ECAC-South championships. In 1985, he was hired as the head baseball coach at Auburn University where he would coach until 2000. Under his tenure, Auburn had a 634-328-0 record; the most wins by a baseball coach in Auburn history. Baird also earned three NCAA Regional titles, an SEC Western Division Championship, an SEC Tournament Championship, and two College World Series appearances in 1994 and 1997. Ten of his players earned All-American honors and 51 were drafted (including Bo Jackson, Tim Hudson, and Frank Thomas).
CLIFF ELLIS – BASKETBALL – COACHING | Born December 5, 1945, in Marianna, FL. After starting his college coaching career at Cumberland University, Ellis was hired as the head coach at South Alabama in 1975. Four years later, he had the Jaguars in the NCAA Tournament and six seasons later, they were ranked in the nation’s top 10. From 1975 to 1984, he led the Jaguars to three Sun Belt titles, two NCAA Tournament appearances, and two NIT appearances. After the 1984 season, he was named the head basketball coach at Clemson University. In 10 years at Clemson, Ellis led the Tigers to postseason play eight times, including three NCAA Tournaments. During the 1989-90 season, Ellis led Clemson to its only ACC season title in school history and made it all the way to the Sweet 16. He was a two-time ACC Coach of the Year (1987 and 1990) while at Clemson and is currently the winningest coach in Clemson history. From 1994-2004 Ellis was the head coach at Auburn University, where he won 186 games, second only to Joel Eaves. Ellis led the 1998-99 Tigers to the SEC Championship with a 29–4 record and the Sweet 16. The Tigers also reached the Sweet 16 during the 2002-03 season. Since 2007, Ellis has coached at Coastal Carolina where he is second all-time in school wins. Going into the 2020–21 season, Ellis’s 780 NCAA Division I wins rank him 15th all-time and third amongst active coaches.
STEVE HUDSON – GOLF | Born December 2, 1958 in Jasper, AL. Hudson played collegiately at the University of Alabama where he was a member of their first SEC Championship-winning team in 1979. He also played in the U.S. Amateur Championship at Canterbury Country Club (Ohio) in 1979. He was twice named co-captain of the UA golf team. From 1981-87 he played professionally. Three times he was named Alabama Golf Association (AGA) Player of the Year and twice he was named AGA Senior Player of the Year. He has won the AGA State Mid-Amateur Championship twice and the AGA State Senior Championship twice. In 2014, 2016, and 2017 he won the Senior Amateur Masters Championship. He has reached the top ten in the Golf Week National Rankings four different years and in 2017 he was named the Society of Seniors Player of the Year.
LILLIE LEATHERWOOD – TRACK & FIELD | Born July 6, 1964 in Tuscaloosa, AL. Leatherwood was a three-time NCAA champion in the 400 meters during her time at the University of Alabama, and a 10-time All-American from 1984-87. She was also an eight-time SEC event champion, including three event wins at the 1987 SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships (200 meters, 400 meters, 4×100-meter relay). In 1984, she became the University of Alabama’s first female Olympic gold medalist as a member of the United States’ 4×400-meter relay team at the Los Angeles Games. In 1987, she was named SEC Female Athlete of the Year, won silver in the 400 meters at the World Indoor Championships, and won bronze in the 4×400-meter relay at the World Outdoor Championships. Her UA school records in the 200 meters and 400 meters have stood since 1987. In 1988, she won an Olympic silver medal as a member of the 4×400-meter relay team at the Summer Olympics in Seoul. In 1991, she won silver at the World Outdoor Championships with the 4×400-meter relay team and bronze at the World Indoor Championships with the 4×400-meter relay team.
GEORGE TEAGUE – FOOTBALL | Born February 17, 1971 in Oscoda, MI. Teague played safety at the University of Alabama where he recorded 14 career interceptions over four years. In 1992, he was named first-team All-SEC and second-team All-American. He was a key member of the 1992 National Championship team. During the Sugar Bowl versus the No.1 ranked University of Miami, he stripped the ball away from a Miami receiver who was sprinting for the endzone. This iconic play gave Alabama the momentum, and the Crimson Tide went on to win 34-13 and claim the National Title. Teague was selected 29th overall by the Green Bay Packers in the 1993 NFL Draft. He was a member of the 1993 All-Rookie Team. Over a nine-year career he played with the Packers, Cowboys and Dolphins.
BEN WALLACE – BASKETBALL | Born September 10, 1974 in White Hall, AL. He attended Cuyahoga Community College and Virginia Union University and signed with the Washington Bullets as an undrafted free agent in 1996. In his NBA career he played with the Washington Bullets/Wizards, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, and Cleveland Cavaliers. Some of his honors include: NBA Champion (2004), four-time NBA All-Star (2003, 2006), three-time All-NBA second-team (2003, 2004, 2006). He was five-time NBA All-Defensive first-team (2002-2006) and NBA All-Defensive second-team (2007). He was the NBA rebounding leader two consecutive years (2002, 2003), NBA blocks leader (2002), and the Detroit Pistons all-time leader in blocks. His jersey No. 3 is retired by the Detroit Pistons.
DEMARCUS WARE – FOOTBALL | Born July 31, 1982 in Auburn, AL. Ware played defensive end at Troy University where he was instrumental in the program’s transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2001. He finished his Trojan career as the school’s all-time leader in tackles for loss with 55.5. He is second all-time in sacks with 27 sacks for a loss of 198 yards. A two-time All-Sun Belt Conference selection, he was also named Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year in 2003. The Dallas Cowboys selected Ware as the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. During his NFL career, he played 12 seasons; nine with the Cowboys and three with the Denver Broncos. While playing for the Broncos, he was a member of their Super Bowl 50 championship team. His career stats include 654 tackles, 138.5 sacks, and 35 forced fumbles. During his career he was named to nine Pro Bowls, four All-Pro first-teams, and three All-Pro second-teams. Ware is a two-time NFL season sacks leader (tied for NFL record) and two-time winner of the Butkus Award. He was named to the Sun Belt Conference 2000s All-Decade Team. In 2012, he was inducted into the Troy University Sports Hall of Fame and in 2014, he was inducted into the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame.