The inaugural Football and Baseball teams created in1912, marked the beginning of a great athletic tradition at Delaware State. Despite the roster of athletic legends and number of memorable athletic moments produced over the first century of its existence, Delaware State had no formalized method to honor its great athletes, until 1985, when the Delaware State Athletic Hall of Fame was organized.
The Delaware Athletic Hall of Fame was the brainchild of Ulysses S. Washington, former chairman of the Athletic Council. Washington, who had also worked in various other capacities at the University, served as a football coach, associate professor in the Department of Agriculture, Athletic Faculty Representative, and President of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
"Ulysses wanted to do something to enhance Delaware State athletics and honor its great history," stated George Robinson, Athletic Development Officer. "They'd gone through 70 years of athletic competition with little to no recognition to show for it." The Delaware State Athletic Council felt that Hornet athletes deserved more recognition, which they were getting only in team reunion format from the department at the time. The Athletic Council was appalled that they didn't have a Hall of Fame at Delaware State, because every other major university had one."
The Council proposed the idea of a Hall of Fame to Delaware State Athletic Director John Martin. After support by Martin, the council began to shape by-laws and criteria; the formation of the Athletic Hall of Fame was underway
In 1985, a committee of 30 people was formed, which included ex-Delaware State athletes, coaches, faculty, administrators, and people with strong ties to Delaware State sports. The chairman of the committee was James H. Wilson. Other members on the committee included Donald Blakey, Anita Brinkley, Elizabeth Bullard, June Emery, Frederick Franklin, James Hardcastle, William Hart, Monroe Hearn, Nathan Hill, Gilbert Jackson, Ruth Thomas Jackson, Bobby Jones, George Kent, Maxine and Richard Lewis, John Martin, George Matthews, Felmon Motley, Willis Powell, and Ulysses S. Washington.
The first class of inductees, including 98 of the greatest names in Delaware State sports history, was inducted on October 5, 1985. The class consisted of 6 coaches from 1912-1949, 39 men from 1912-1949, 18 women from 1934-1949, 33 men from 1934-1949, and 2 honorary members.
In 2003, the Hall of Fame took an 6-year hiatus. The Hall was reactivated in 2010, behind the leadership of new Athletic Director Derek Carter. A new class of Hall of Fame honorees is scheduled to be inducted on October 1, 2010.
"The Hall of Fame symbolizes the quality of athletic excellence that is a very important part of the heritage of Delaware State University," Carter said. "The entire Delaware State community can be proud that our University produces athletes and coaches of this caliber. It's great to see the Hall of Fame being given the stature it deserves, and these great athletes being given the recognition they deserve."