The grand opening for the new location of the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame museum is set for 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11 at the Mall of Abilene with a ribbon cutting by the Abilene Chamber of Commerce Redcoats. The museum is now located between JC Penney and the women’s Dillards, next to Rick’s Collectibles, in the Mall. There will be prize drawings and free admission all afternoon. You will also find some past inductees to visit with.
The Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame has inducted 195 former players, coaches, officials and media since its inception in 2002. It has also contributed $89,000 in college scholarships to graduating student-athletes from the 19-county Big Country area.
An announcement of the 2021 selections to the hall of fame will also be made at the grand opening. The new inductees will be honored at the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame induction banquet on April 19 at the Abilene Convention Center. They will be recognized along with the Class of 2020. The 2020 banquet had to be postponed until next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Class of 2020 includes Lari Dee Guy, who becomes the first rodeo star to be inducted in to the Big Country Athletic of Fame. She will be honored along with former Abilene High quarterbacks and multi-sport standouts Ahmad Brooks and David Bourland, Jerry Don Logan of Graham who won a Super Bowl in a 10-year NFL career with the Baltimore Colts, and C.H. Underwood, who was the coach at O’Brien that won the UIL’s first six-man state football championship.
Honored posthumously with the Bill Hart Memorial Legends Award will be Milton Martin of Avoca and Boone Magness of Breckenridge. The Legacy Award will go to the father-son tennis coaching duo of Fred L. Scott, who coached at Sweetwater, and Fred W. (Derf) Scott, who coached at Sweetwater and Abilene High. Long-time Associated Press writer Mike Cochran from Stamford, who was a two-time nominee for a Pulitzer Prize, will receive the Lifetime Achievement for Media award, and legendary Ranger College coach and athletic director Ron Butler will be recognized as the second recipient of the Impact on Big Country Athletics award.