By DIANE XAVIER
The Dallas Examiner
What do legendary athletes such as Earl Campbell, George Foreman, Tony Dorsett, Charles Haley, Cynthia Cooper and Zina Garrison have in common? They are all notable African American athletes that have been inducted into the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame.
The TBSHOF, housed at the African American Museum in Fair Park, was established in 1996 by Dr. Harry Robinson. The hall of fame recognizes outstanding Black athletes and coaches who were born in Texas or played in Texas.
The TBSHOF is approaching its 25th anniversary.
The organization hosts an annual golf tournament in order to sustain and support the efforts of the group. This year, the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame Royce West Celebrity Golf Classic will take place Sept. 18 at 9 a.m. at The Golf Club of Dallas.
This will be the first year that the golf classic will be played at Dallas’ only Black-owned golf course.
“Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship purchased the Golf Club of Dallas and is one of only five Black owned golf courses in the world,” Little said. “We are excited to be going there and playing there.”
There are two additional golf courses – one within the nation’s only Black-owned country club and the other in its only Black-owned resort, according to African American Golfers Digest.
The proceeds raised from the golf classic will go directly to benefit the hall of fame, according to Carol Little, who directs the special events for the African American Museum.
“The golf classic supports the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame and it allows us to raise money to sustain the Sports Hall of Fame because it costs money to do the events,” Little said. “The Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame inducts people so it is important to recognize the contributions of the athletes in Texas and the awareness of it all. Normally this time of year in May we have a gala for the museum but this year things have changed because of COVID and we moved the gala to November. We have some very famous people in the hall of fame, and this happens every February, we get nominations from the community and from the people.”
Some of the recent inductees include former Dallas Cowboys football player Darren Woodson, and former Texas Rangers baseball player Mark McLemore.
“We recognize the contributions and all of the people that have contributed to the sports field,” Little said. “Last year we opened up a new category. Chris Arnold, a sports broadcaster, was inducted for communications.”
Abron Young, chairperson for the tournament, said they will recognize someone special this year during the classic.
“We are honoring Dr. Tony Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship because Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship just acquired the Golf Club of Dallas where we are having the tournament. We feel like it is a great thing that the African American Museum, being Black owned, and this golf tournament is now Black owned and that is a rarity having a Black owned golf course so what we are doing is we are supporting the church and the community,” Young said.
Since its inception, hundreds of Black athletes along with coaches have been recognized.
“We certainly want the community to be a part of it to come and see their favorite sports figures,” Little said. We also honor coaches, they have a category for coaches. We have a category for football, baseball and all the different sports.”
Little said people can support the golf tournament by purchasing sponsorships.
“We encourage people to come out and support us every year,” she said. “We also support young golfers and we support high school kids who want to be golfers. We also invite people to come by and look at the gallery of all the people that have been inducted over the years.”
Young said the golf tournament is expected to raise around $20,000 and notable players participating include former NFL player Tim Brown.
“Participation will allow us to honor coaches and athletes of high character and athletic achievement that are either Texas by birth or by athletic participation that’s high school collegiate, or professional,” Young said. “We have a kind of who’s who of inductees.”