Throughout Las Vegas’ sporting history, basketball, boxing and golf have been at the core.
Between the success of UNLV basketball, the hundreds of big fights, the numerous pro golf events and the many courses that help make the city a golfing destination, all have helped Las Vegas grow its image worldwide.
Tonight, all three sports, along with soccer and high school athletics, two other critical modern components of the local sports scene, will be in the spotlight at the induction ceremonies for the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame.
UNLV basketball legend Stacey Augmon, former boxing promoter and Nevada Athletic Commission member and chairman Duke Durden, the Las Vegas Founders Club, which helped bring the PGA Tour back to town and promoted golf, along with former UNLV soccer star Simon Keith and high school coach and administrator Frank Nails will be honored at 6 p.m. at Orleans Arena.
“It’s not a coincidence,” said Dale Eeles, the Hall’s executive director. “We always are looking for diversity in our induction classes, and we also want a little pizazz.”
Associating pizazz with the low-key Augmon is a stretch. But he is the marquee name for this year’s class. The fact his close friend and former UNLV teammate Larry Johnson, a SNSHOF inductee in 2008, will be introducing him makes it extra special.
So will having David Humm introduce Nails, his coach when he was a Bishop Gorman High School quarterback. Humm was the Hall’s first inductee, in 1997.
Charlie Baron, who for years helped run the PGA Tour stop in town, will present the Founders, whose president, Chris Byrd, will accept on behalf of the organization. Durden’s son-in-law, Tony Burrell, will accept for Durden, who died in 2000.
“The big thing is our presenters this year are also big,” Eeles said. “We’re also excited about Simon being our first soccer inductee. Soccer has grown so much in our city, and we’ve had him on our list for a while.”
Eeles, in his ninth year as executive director, said the dream of the Hall having a permanent home is still alive. But any future move from the Findlay Automotive Store at the Galleria Mall in Henderson will be tied to striking a deal with whoever develops and builds a new sports arena.
“That remains the plan,” Eeles said. “We still have room at the mall, so we’re OK for now. But obviously we’d like to be tied to an arena where more people can visit and see us.”
Tickets for the event, priced at $200 per person, are available at the door.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.