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National Italian Sports Hall of Fame

National Italian Sports Hall of Fame

Devoted to the preservation of experiences of its inductees and the education of generations to come, the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame has become a true staple. George Randazzo originally founded the organization as the Italian American Boxing Hall of Fame in 1977, with an aim to support a struggling Catholic youth program. With a growing collection of boxing photographs and memorabilia, Randazzo arranged for a fundraising dinner to honor 23 past Italian American boxing world champions, which drew an impressive number of prominent boxers and celebrities.

With great success, Don Ponte, a local businessman and confidante, inspired Randazzo to establish a Hall of Fame in honor of every Italian American athlete across the gamut. The NIASHF was instituted just one year later, with a induction ceremony recognizing such sport greats as: Lou Ambers, Gino Marchetti, Dom DiMaggio, Joe DiMaggio, Eddie Arcaro, Charlie Trippi and the late Vince Lombardi.

As NIASHF popularity swelled, it relocated from Elmwood Park to Arlington Heights in 1988. A decade later, Randazzo requested that Jerry Colangelo, the Chairman/CEO of the Phoenix Suns and 1994 NIASHF inductee, serve as the Chairman of a new, zealous Hall of Fame to be located in Chicago’s Little Italy community. In 2000, the new amenity was dedicated as “The Jerry Colangelo Center” in recognition of Colangelo’s extreme dedication and leadership in making this a reality.

Today, this nonprofit educational consortium has immortalized over 200 inductees, and has amassed over $6 million pledged for scholarships and a variety of charitable objectives. The collection has grown immensely over the years and continues to this day.

1431 West Taylor Street • www.niashf.org

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