Georgia Sports Hall of Fame
The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame is the largest state sports hall of fame in America. With everything from over 3,000 artifacts in its collection to several interactive exhibits designed for both kids and adults, the Hall of Fame aims to “celebrate outstanding athletic accomplishments of Georgians and to inspire the youth of our state to excellence.” Inside of the 43,000-square-foot facility that resembles a turn-of-the-century ballpark, the museum invites visitors to explore through its 14,000 square feet of exhibition space, and to experience the history of sports in Georgia. The Hall of Fame Corridor celebrates over 400 inductees, and throughout the year, the museum hosts several education events, ranging from summer camps to sports clinics to ballroom dancing.
Backstory and Context
History of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame
The museum dates back to 1956 and it was originally known as the Georgia Prep Sports Hall of Fame. Even from its humble beginnings, the museum’s mission was to “promote and improve athletics in the state; to foster a high standard of ethics and sportsmanship; to encourage closer cooperation and better understanding among coaches, administrators, and the public; and to foster the professional development of coaches.” Originally, the museum only honored school administrators, coaches, and athletes at the high school level, but then in 1963, it changed its name to the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and inducted collegiate and professional athletes as well.
The first three inductees included baseball player Ty Cobb, Georgia Institute of Technology football coach William Alexander, and golfer Bobby Jones. The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame then became an official state entity in 1978, and in 1994, Chairman Harley Bowers successfully organized an effort to move the museum to Macon. Groundbreaking began in Macon in 1997, and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame opened its doors in 1999.
The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame is best-known for its vast collection of Georgia sports artifacts, interactive exhibits, and the Hall of Fame Corridor, which honors over 400 inductees. All sports are celebrated in this museum, from baseball and boxing to cycling and dancing. And throughout the year, the Hall of Fame hosts basketball clinics, dancing lessons, summer camps, and the Peach State Pigskin Preview, the annual college football event where collegiate coaches from across the state talk football exclusively with the media.1