2011 List of Inductees
Muhammad Ali (Boxing) – Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. in Louisville, is arguably the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time. Nicknamed “The Greatest”, Ali was involved in several historic boxing matches. Notable among these are three with rival Joe Frazier and one with George Foreman, whom he beat by knockout to win the world heavyweight title for the second time. He suffered only five losses (four decisions and one TKO by retirement from the bout) with no draws in his career, while amassing 56 wins (37 knockouts and 19 decisions.
Bruce Branch (Sports Journalism) – Was the first African-American sportswriter at the Louisville Courier Journal-Times in Kentucky. He also hosted the first syndicated sports radio show for African Americans in the State of Kentucky, Strictly Sports on WLOU Radio. Branch was an award winning journalist during his tenure at the Louisville Courier Journal and Times from 1980-1986.
Jim Green (Track) – From Eminence, KY, Green was the first African American athlete to graduate from the University of Kentucky and first African-American Captain of Track Team. A state high school track champion in the 100, 220 and 440, he attended the university on a track scholarship. In the AAU Championship in Oregon, ran a 9.0 100 yard dash with Olympian Don Quarrie and Dr. Delano Merriweather, which at the time was the fastest time ever. Ran 9.1 at the USTFF in Wichita later defeating Ivory Crockett and Herb Washington. Beat O.J. Simpson national championship on ABC Wide World of Sports.
Wilbur Hackett (Football) – Was one of first African-American football players in the SEC after stellar career at Louisville Manual where he became first African-American Captain and top prep player in the city. Experience in breaking the color line was subject of HBO Documentary. Recently retired as one of the top football officials in SEC.
Joe Hocker (Horse Racing) – Was top blacksmith for over 35 years (1960’s – 2000) in the thoroughbred horse racing industry. He took care of many championship horses, including Exciteable Lady and Nashua. Worked at most of top tracks, including Keeneland, Churchill Downs and Turfway. Also worked at top horse farms like Spendthrift and Tom Gentry.
Wade Houston (Basketball) – Was the first African-American coach at the University of Tennessee and one of the first African-American players at the University of Louisville where he was an assistant coach to legendary Denny Crum for 17 years. Also coached State Championship team at Male High where he coached NBA standout Darrell Griffith.
Troy Jackson (Basketball) – Troy Jackson who passed away unexpectedly February 20, 2011 is the younger brother of former NBA player Mark Jackson, University of Louisville and Streetball Legend. He was a member of the AND1 Mixtape Tour, known by his streetball nickname “Escalade”. Jackson was listed by AND1 at 6’10” and 375 pounds. Troy Jackson weighed close to 500 pounds (227 kg) as a senior at Hills East High School in Long Island, New York, but his performances at Rucker Park caught the attention of Bill Hughley, coach of Wallace Community College in Selma, Alabama.
Frank Minnifield (Football) – A Lexington native, played for Cleveland Browns defensive back from 1984-1992 where he earned NFL Pro Bowl honors four straight years from 1986-1989. He was named to the NFL 1980’s All Decade Team. He attended Henry Clay High School in Lexington and walked on to team at the University of Louisville where he led the nation in kickoff returns.
Sammie Moore (Basketball) – One of legendary players and coaches from Louisville. Played in segregated league at Central for coach Keane. Was member of two black state championship teams and one national black championship team. Played for legendary Harlem Globetrotters and Harlem Magicians. As Middle School and Recreation coach, helped developed some of greatest players in city history, including Darrell Griffith, Bobby Turner and Wesley Cox.