The Board of Directors of the State of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame (ASHOA) has announced the Class of 2021 to be inducted on May 8, 2021. The Class was selected by ballot through a statewide selection committee; votes were tabulated by the accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The newly elected inductees for the Class of 2021 are as follows: Willie Anderson, Hal Baird, Cliff Ellis, Steve Hudson, Lillie Leatherwood, George Teague, Ben Wallace, and Demarcus Ware.
Starting with the first class in 1969, this will be the 53rd Class inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. The eight newly elected inductees will bring the total number of inductees to 377.
The 53rd Annual Induction Banquet and Ceremony will be held in the Birmingham Ballroom, at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, on May 8, 2021.
For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Museum at (205) 323-6665.
CLASS OF 2021 BIOGRAPHIES:
WILLIE ANDERSON – FOOTBALL | Born July 11, 1975 in Mobile. Anderson played offensive tackle at Auburn University from 1993-95 where he was named All-American and twice-named All-SEC. He was selected 10th overall in the 1996 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. A four-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro selection, Anderson played his first 12 seasons with the Bengals before playing his final season with the Ravens in 2008. During his NFL career he played in 195 games, starting 184. Anderson only surrendered 16 sacks in his 13-year career and did not give up a sack between 1999 and 2001.
HAL BAIRD – BASEBALL – COACHING | Born August 23, 1949 in Fayette. Baird pitched at Eastern Carolina where he recorded 105 strikeouts in the 1970-71 season. He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians and also played for the Kansas City Royals organization. In 1977, he returned to ECU as an assistant and was named head coach in 1980. He accumulated a 145-66-1 record, three NCAA Tournament appearances, and two ECAC-South championships. In 1985, he was hired as the head baseball coach at Auburn University where he would coach until 2000. Under his tenure, Auburn had a 634-328-0 record; the most wins by a baseball coach in Auburn history. Baird also earned three NCAA Regional titles, an SEC Western Division Championship, an SEC Tournament Championship, and two College World Series appearances in 1994 and 1997. Ten of his players earned All-American honors and 51 were drafted (including Bo Jackson, Tim Hudson, and Frank Thomas).
CLIFF ELLIS – BASKETBALL – COACHING | Born December 5, 1945, in Marianna, Fla. After starting his college coaching career at Cumberland University, Ellis was hired as the head coach at South Alabama in 1975. Four years later, he had the Jaguars in the NCAA Tournament and six seasons later, they were ranked in the nation’s top 10. From 1975 to 1984, he led the Jaguars to three Sun Belt titles, two NCAA Tournament appearances, and two NIT appearances. After the 1984 season, he was named the head basketball coach at Clemson University. In 10 years at Clemson, Ellis led the Tigers to postseason play eight times, including three NCAA Tournaments. During the 1989-90 season, Ellis led Clemson to its only ACC season title in school history and made it all the way to the Sweet 16. He was a two-time ACC Coach of the Year (1987 and 1990) while at Clemson and is currently the winningest coach in Clemson history. From 1994-2004 Ellis was the head coach at Auburn University, where he won 186 games, second only to Joel Eaves. Ellis led the 1998-99 Tigers to the SEC Championship with a 29–4 record and the Sweet 16. The Tigers also reached the Sweet 16 during the 2002-03 season. Since 2007, Ellis has coached at Coastal Carolina where he is second all-time in school wins. Going into the 2020–21 season, Ellis’s 780 NCAA Division I wins rank him 15th all-time and third amongst active coaches.