Your athletic achievements might not be anything found in the local record books, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have your name inscribed alongside the sports stars elected to the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame whose feats are memorialized on the walls of the Alamodome. But, it will cost you.
Fundraisers are always looking for new ways to attract donors, and the non-profit San Antonio Sports (SAS) will help underwrite its inner city youth sports programs by inviting individuals and groups to post their names and accomplishments on a purchased brick that will be part of a planned permanent Hall of Fame Plaza at the Dome. Currently, local Sports Hall of Fame members are honored on the fourth floor club level of the Alamodome. Officials with SAS and the City have worked out a plan to give present and future Hall of Famers greater visibility outside the Dome.
Mary Ullmann Japhet, senior vice president of communications and community engagement for SAS, said the planned $43 million in Alamodome renovations will include removal of a fountain and reconstruction of the Dome’s Northern Plaza. The renovations, set to begin in mid-January 2016, will accommodate 24,000 sq. ft. of new interior space, which media can use for major events such as the NCAA Division I Men’s Final Four. San Antonio will host the Men’s Final Four basketball championships for a fourth time in 2018.
“The NCAA bringing the Final Four wouldn’t have happened without support from the City and the Alamodome,” said SAS President and CEO Russ Bookbinder, who said the addition of 24,000 sq. ft. of space was a prerequisite for San Antonio winning the tournament finals for the first time since 2008.
The 2018 San Antonio event is expected to have an economic impact of $85 million, according to local officials. By then, the Alamodome renovations will be completed, with added space, technology upgrades, and a new seating capacity of 72,000.
“The renovations will help this building be competitive for years in getting national events,” Bookbinder said.
The Dome renovations, Bookbinder said, also create an opportunity to elevate the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame, which is scheduled to be completed by the Fall 2016.
“We’re excited about the renovations,” said Nick Langella, the Alamodome’s general manager. “It will be a little challenging because we’ll lose the plaza space for about nine months, but afterwards, it’ll be very nice.”
The new Hall of Fame Plaza will feature seven square pods, each bearing the names of four years worth of Hall of Fame inductees in a black granite block embedded in the plaza surface.
The 18 members inducted between 1995 and 1998 will be in the first pod, and succeeding classes will be grouped along the same lines.
A sixth pod will bear the names of the new inductees who will be honored in a tribute gala Feb. 27, 2016, at the newly expanded Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
The class of 2016 inductees will include Shaquille O’Neal as an individual inductee, and his entire 1989 Cole High School basketball team, which he led to a state title before embarking upon a renowned collegiate career at LSU and as a professional in the NBA.
A seventh pod will simply be ready for the names of future inductees starting in 2019.
Hall of Fame members’ family, friends and fans can join them at the new plaza with their own personalized brick. Those bricks will border each granite block. Donors have three placement options. One is a “Champions for Kids” 4? x 8 ” outer ring brick priced at $150. A “Friends and Family” premium brick, similar in size but placed closer to the granite, will cost $200. A donor has his or her pod/class of choice placement. For $500, a donor may have an 8? x 8? tan-colored brick placed around the pod/class of his or her choice. Each brick will have space for a name and a short inscription, such as “Thanks for the memories #50!”
Funds generated through the Hall of Fame Plaza brick campaign, which will run through July 2016, are tax-deductible. For further information, click here or call 1-844-HOF-BRIX. The funds will help support SAS youth initiatives, including the “i play! afterschool” program, which provides daily sports training, and character and nutrition education to more than 1,000 children at 45 elementary schools in underserved neighborhoods.
“We’ll be able to recognize our Hall of Fame members, beautify the plaza and raise money for our programs,” Bookbinder said.
Two San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame members, former Spurs legend George Gervin and UTSA volleyball coach Laura Neugebauer Groff, were on hand for the Wednesday press event.
“To be able to be this creative, to have this vision to bring the Hall of Fame down to the outside from inside, for everyone to see when they first come in, is great,” said Gervin, who was among the first inductees in 1995.
Groff, inducted in 2011, said it’s an honor for local sports talent to be recognized by San Antonio Sports year to year.
“To be recognized on brick with them is a nice thing. What they’re also doing for underprivileged kids, fitness for young people, it’s a great thing,” she added.
*Top image: George Gervin holds the commemorative brick that will be laid in the Hall of Fame Plaza. Photo by Scott Ball.