The Thursday night the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission held the 43rd Induction Ceremony and youth sports awards for the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.
This year the inductees included Xavier Prep, Arizona State and professional golfer Heather Farr, University of Arizona and USA Olympic diver Dr. Michele Mitchell, Pueblo High School, Arizona State and NBA All-Star Lafayette “Fat” Lever, and Arizona business leader and nationally recognized entrepreneur Karl Eller.
Heather Farr changed the game of golf in the state of Arizona especially for young girls. She was a member of the National High School Sports Hall of Fame and played in her first-ever LPGA event at age 14. Farr was a three-time All-American golfer at Arizona State University and joined the LPGA tour at the age of 20, at the time, the youngest woman ever to do so. She passed away from breast cancer in 1993 but her legacy still remains as strong as ever in the Arizona community.
Dr. Michele Mitchell grew just down the street where she was honored Thursday night in Scottsdale. A University of Arizona four-time All-American athlete and two-time U.S. Olympic diving silver medalist. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1995 and today serves as the director of operations for swimming and diving at the University of Arizona where she earned her doctorate degree in 2007.
Lafayette “Fat” Lever moved to South Tucson, Arizona as a kid and first made a name for himself as a standout basketball player at Pueblo high school. From there he attended Arizona State University and was a first round draft pick (11th) by the Portland Trailblazers. He was considered one of the NBA’s best point guards of the 80’s and ranks sixth all time in career triple doubles. Lever was a two-time NBA All-Star and is one of only three players in NBA history to record 15-plus points, rebounds and assists in a single playoff game.
Karl Eller has been a pioneer in the state of Arizona for many years. He attended the University of Arizona where he played football and basketball. In 1968, he became a founding investor of the Phoenix Suns. After hiring away an assistant coach from the Chicago Bulls, he named Jerry Colangelo as the team’s first general manager. In 1971 he helped establish the Fiesta Bowl, and in 1988 helped attract the NFL’s Cardinals from St. Louis to Arizona. He was also a member of the Phoenix Thunderbirds for over 40 years. Finally In 1999, Arizona named its business college the Eller College of Management.