Established February 4, 1955 - the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame carries out its' mission of honoring El Paso's most accomplished individuals in field of athletics.
The Hall's inception began as an idea from the mind of Mr. H.V. Cruea in 1953 and later realized in 1955 with the support of The El Paso Press Club. John Phelan, the Press Club President, was named the very first Chairman of the Hall of Fame and a selection committee of 18 members was formed. The committee was tasked with choosing two inductees from a pool of over 100 nominations; one for living athlete category and one for the posthumous category.
Those in the selection committee were A. L. Holm, Carl A. Beers, Seth Chauvet, Vernus Carey, Cleofas Calleros, Harry Phillips, Lawrence (Sag) Shea, Ted Hunt, Bob Carson, H.V. Cruea, Eric Munro, Jack C. Vowell, C. W. Swan, E.B. Elfers, John Phelan, Chuck Whitlock, Ray Sanchez and Bob Ingram along with Chris P. Fox of State National Bank serving as chairman of the committee.
With the inductees selected the first annual "El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet" was held in conjunction with the Press Clubs' "Gridirion Dinner". The event was a combination of roasting El Paso officials and personalities and the presentation of the Hall of Fame awards. The first awards were presented to none other than Andy Cohen of baseball fame (Living Athlete Category) and Norman A. Ferguson Sr. "father" of El Paso Tennis (Posthumous Category).
Today the tradition continues and the Hall of Fame grows close to 400 members, of which whose plaques are proudly on display at the Don Haskins Center at the University of Texas at El Paso.
To further recognize outstanding althetic achievement, each year the Hall of Fame honors the High School Student Athletes and Teams of the Year and two scholarships at the University of Texas at El Paso are endowed in the names of the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame, John Birkhead and Dick Shinaut.