Twelve athletes and one team from Chandler’s past will be inducted into the city’s new Sports Hall of Fame during a luncheon Dec. 4 at Hamilton High School.
The inaugural group of inductees represents some of the best athletes to hail from Chandler, said Dave Shapiro, Sports Hall of Fame coordinator at Chandler High School. He said a committee of seven longtime school coaches, administrators and athletes sifted through 100 nominations.
"What we did was narrow down the pool this year to what we considered was the best," he said. "There are still a lot of great athletes on that list that will remain in the pool (for future years)."
Shapiro said the committee worked hard to include a cross-section of the athletic community.
"We really wanted to encompass the whole city of Chandler," he said. "We really wanted to get someone from each era represented. People who have been in this community for the last 10 years will recognize an Adam Archuleta or Terrell Suggs," former Arizona State University football players who now play in the NFL, "but they might not recognize Dale Smith, a world champion rodeo rider in the mid-’50s."
Brenda Arbuckle, a 1983 star basketball player and graduate of Chandler High School, is one of two women who will be inducted into the hall this year.
"I was surprised, but I am happy about it," Arbuckle said. "I think it’s important because it gives the youth something to look forward to, especially the female athletes, because they are not as popularized as the male athletes. It
gives them something to strive for and makes them do their best."
Jan Dell, museum coordinator for the Chandler Museum, said the Sports Hall of Fame will continue to grow as about 10 people are added each year. She said a permanent display in the Chandler Museum will open in early 2005 with photographs, plaques and old sports paraphernalia.
Tickets for the luncheon, to be catered by Serrano’s, are available at the Chandler Museum and all Chandler Unified School District high schools.