Alabama Sports HOF inducts Class of 2023 [PHOTOS]

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Alabama Sport Hall of Fame 2023 inductee, award winners and ASHOF staff (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

The Alabama Sports Hall of Fame (ASHOF) inducted the Class of 2023 last night at the Sheraton Hotel in Birmingham.

The eight inductees bring the total number of inductees to 393.

Along with the new inductees, ASHOF honored two distinguished sportsmen, a member of the media and an individual’s service to Alabama sports.

The Bama Buzz was on hand for the Media Day, a day before the ceremony. Below is the list of the inductees (descriptions provided by ASHOF), honorees and photos.

Class of 2023

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Alabama Sports Hall of Fame (Pat Byington/The Bama Buzz)

Karen Mayson Bahnsen – Golf – A Mobile native, Bahnsen was the first female golfer to receive an athletic scholarship at Louisiana State University where she played from 1980-83. She was head coach of the Lady Tigers from 1985-2018. During Bahnsen’s 34 years as head coach, her teams recorded 28 team titles and 28 individual titles. She led the Tigers to an SEC Championship victory in 1992 and her teams qualified for the NCAA Championship Tournament eleven times.

Karlos Dansby – Football – From Birmingham, Dansby was an All-State linebacker and wide receiver at Woodlawn High School. He played football at Auburn University from 2000-2003. A first team All-American for the Tigers, Dansby had an illustrious 14-year career in the NFL with 1,422 tackles (average 100 tackles a season!), 43 sacks, and 20 interceptions.

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Alabama Sports Hall of Fame (Pat Byington/The Bama Buzz)

Roman Harper – Football – Harper was born in Prattville, Alabama. He started for three seasons with the Crimson Tide and was named First-Team All-SEC his senior year. He played eight years with the New Orleans Saints and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2020. In Super Bowl XLIV, Harper led the Saints with eight tackles. He finished his 11-year NFL career with 819 tackles, 18 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, and 11 interceptions.

Larry Kenon – Basketball – Another Birmingham native,. Kenon helped lead Memphis State to the NCAA Championship Game. As a member of the New York Nets, Kenon won the ABA Championship. Kenon  also played for the San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, and Cleveland Cavaliers. He was a three-time ABA All-Star, two-time NBA All-Star, and holds the NBA record for most steals in one game with 11. Kenon finished with 12,954 points and 6,701 rebounds in his 11-year ABA/NBA career.

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Alabama Sports Hall of Fame (Pat Byington/The Bama Buzz)

Theo Ratliff – Basketball – Born in Demopolis,  Ratliff attended the University of Wyoming where he led the country in blocks in 1993. He was drafted 18th overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 1995 NBA Draft. Ratliff played three seasons in Detroit before being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. After four years with the 76ers, he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks where he was named an NBA All-Star in 2001 and led the NBA in blocks in 2001, 2003, and 2004.  Ratliff finished his 17-year NBA career with 5,809 points, 4,596 rebounds, and 1,968 blocks. 

Jackie Sherrill – Football – Coach Sherill played  football at the University of Alabama and was a member of two consecutive National Championship teams. After his playing career, Sherrill was a graduate assistant at Alabama and Arkansas. He served as head football coach for Pittsburgh from 1977-1981, winning the Walter Camp Coach of Year in 1981.  In 1982, Sherrill became the head coach of Texas A&M. From 1985-87, he led the Aggies to three consecutive Southwest Conference Championships.  He was also the head coach at Mississippi State for 13 years.  He is one of only two Division I-A head football coaches to ever lead three different schools to ten wins or more in a season. His overall record was 180-120-4.

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Alabama Sports Hall of Fame (Pat Byington/The Bama Buzz)

Gerald Wallace – Basketball – A native of  Sylacauga, during his senior year at Childersburg High School, Wallace was named the Naismith Prep Player of the Year and First-Team Parade All-American. He played at the University of Alabama for one season. Selected by the Sacramento Kings with the 25th overall pick of the 2001 NBA Draft. In 2006, Wallace led the NBA in steals.  He was an NBA All-Star in 2010 and was named NBA All-Defensive First-Team. Wallace is one of three players in NBA history to average at least two steals and two blocks per game over the course of an entire season. He also played with the Portland Trail Blazers, New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets, and Boston Celtics. Wallace finished with 9,993 points, 4,838 rebounds, and 1,725 assists over his 15-year NBA career.

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Alabama Sports Hall of Fame (Pat Byington/The Bama Buzz)

Roddy White – Football – White played college football at UAB from 2001-2004 where he amassed over 3,000 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns. During his senior season, White led the nation with 1,452 receiving yards. He was selected 27th overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2005 NFL Draft. In 2010, White was named First-Team All-Pro and led the NFL in receptions. He was also selected to four consecutive Pro Bowls from 2008-2011. White spent his entire 11-year NFL career with the Falcons and leads the franchise in career receiving touchdowns. He finished his career with 808 receptions, 10,863 yards, and 63 touchdowns.

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Roddy White, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame (Pat Byington/The Bama Buzz)

Distinguished Sportsmen

The ASHOF has honored distinguished sportsman since 1988 beginning with Bob Hope, Last year’s honoree was Eventive Sports CEO Gene Hallman. Here are the 2023 honorees.

  • Bob Barrett – Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Honours Golf, recently acquired by Troon, Barrett has over 46 years of experience in developing and operating golf facilities including Shoal Creek, Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and Augusta National where he began his career. Barrett is responsible for the overall direction along with the development and operational activities of Honours Golf Company which manages a diverse portfolio of award-winning properties from daily fee golf courses to resort courses and private country clubs to athletic sports complexes. He was also instrumental in hosting the 1984 and 1990 PGA Championships and the U.S. Amateur held at Shoal Creek. 
  • Mark Womack – Born in Scottsboro, Alabama and raised in Tuscaloosa, Womack earned his bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Alabama in 1978. Womack has spent over four decades of his professional career as a member of the Southeastern Conference staff, including the last 30 years as Executive Associate Commissioner. He serves as Chief Financial Officer, a liaison to the SEC’s athletics directors, and spearheads scheduling efforts for the sport of football. He also works with the SEC’s football bowl partners and television partners to go along with his general administration duties of SEC football and the SEC office. In Womack’s time as CFO, the SEC has distributed as much as $650 million annually among its 14 universities

Mel Allen Award

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Roman Harper interviewing with Mel Allen honoree Rick Karle at Alabama Sports Hall of Fame (Pat Byington/The Bama Buzz)

The Mel Allen Media Award was created to honor media members in the State of Alabama who have made a lifetime contribution to sports through their work as a media member. The award is named after the 1974 ASHOF Inductee Mel Allen, of Birmingham, who was known as the “Voice of the New York Yankees” for two decades.

Rick Karle received this year’s Mel Allen Award. A sports anchor for more than three decades in the Birmingham area, Karle anchored the nightly sportscast on WBRC Fox 6 and the Friday night high school football program-Sideline. He joined WVTM 13 in 2019 where he currently serves as a co-host of the WVTM 13 morning news. 

Karle is a 24-time Emmy award winner with the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The most recent Emmy that Karle was awarded was in June 2018 for “Best Sports Anchor” in the southeast. Karle has received more than 50 Emmy nominations and has won over 50 Associated Press awards, including the Alabama AP “Best Sports Anchor” award in 2017 and the AP “Best Sports Program” award for “Sideline” .

Frank “Pig” House Award

The Frank “Pig” House Award is given to someone who has performed outstanding service to sports in Alabama, The award is named after the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame’s first Chairman of the Board who was instrumental in the founding of the Hall of Fame.

William Booth, aHartselle native and Hartselle High School baseball coach received this year’s Frank “Pig” House Award. At 78 years old, Booth is the winningest baseball coach in Alabama high school sports history with a 1163-508 record. Booth has won nine state championships and 21 area championships. Booth was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.

Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Museum

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Alabama Sports Hall of Fame near the BJCC in Birmingham. (Jacob Blankenship/The Bama Buzz)

One of America’s premier state sports Hall of Fame museums, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Museum honors Alabama’s rich sports history. 

Located at 2150 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N. – across from Protective Stadium, the museum is open Monday through Friday from 9AM to 5PM.

Pat Byington
Pat Byington
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